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The Survey Says...

In response to promotional and marketing comments and suggestions made on JustDoIt, the following folks have said the following stuff:


I think that these are all excellent things to get written down in some sort of coherent structure, and in fact, was just talking to another person in email about organizing a "todo" list here in the wiki. I think that in some ways this should be more of an internal (yet publicly accessible) working document, rather than a press release. In fact, this is part of what the [Reality Sculptors Roadmap] is supposed to do. Show what needs to be done, have links to existing work and things that are pending, and how it all fits together.

I don't see a whole lot of use (especially when we don't have funds to pay people) in broadcasting a press release (in the actual press, like through Business Wire) to the entire world that "Reality Sculptors Has A Lot Of Work To Do!" :-) Yes, we most certainly do, and can use help, but "help wanted" signs are not top headline material, and I'd rather save our 15 minutes of fame for something truly newsworthy, like "Reality Sculptors donates 10,000 disaster relief domes to victims of <fill in the blank> earthquake."

--PatrickSalsbury


This is a very delicate area that we have to be careful in. There's a fine balance between "letting people know what you're up to" and "hammering people over the head with what you're up to."

One of the most pervasive problems on the net today is spam. I'm sure that everyone reading this has personal experience with unwanted mail (however well intentioned) showing up in your mailbox. Few things are more annoying or less endearing than someone barging in uninvited to tell you how great their thing is, regardless of how great it may actually be.

Using a "shotgun" approach and sending stuff out to random millions of people or making it into a chain letter are two other oft-abused tactics of spammers and mail abusers. Despite their claims to the contrary, neither method works particularly well for getting a potential customer to suddenly become a money-paying customer.

Compare and contrast this with the Slashdot community at http://slashdot.org/, where hundreds of thousands of people keep tabs on events and developments, new technology and news. On Slashdot, anyone can post anything, and the community has its own system for moderating and voting on what's useful and worthwhile, vs. what isn't. (You get points for posting using an online, logged-in ID. You get no points if you post as a non-logged-in "Anonymous Coward" [that's the default username for people who don't sign in.]) Slashdot also has a moderation system where people review what you've submitted, and give points if they think it's newsworthy, and meta-moderators that review the reviewers, to make sure they're staying honest. :-) All of these points collectively add up to "karma points" in the system, and as your reputation grows, more people pay attention to what you say.

All-in-all, it's a surprisingly effective system, and allows you to filter and rank news items according to your interests, and to sort out and ignore things easily that others in the community feel are "troll" posts or misguided/malicious/etc. Anyone interested in studying how ideas and memes and news travel through an online community would do well to read and participate in the Slashdot community for 6 months or more.

Having worked at [ClariNet] for 3 years, I dealt with newswires and news stories on a daily basis. There's a difference between what is truly newsworthy (war breaks out, new science is discovered, the World Trade Center attacks, etc.) and self-posted press releases by a company announcing that they've made a strategic partnership with another company, or the slew of spam messages in my mailbox hawking porn and Viagra and anything else you can imagine.

Don't get me wrong, I do want the world to know about the work that Reality Sculptors is going to do. (Note: future tense. We still don't have actual product, yet.) I'm sure that there are tasteful, effective ways of getting our message out to the world, but I just don't see them used that often in most internet marketing. And I'm extremely wary of rushing out to tell people about things that we haven't actually done, because that makes us look like some flash-in-the-pan organization that is hawking a bunch of vapor-ware, like so many failed dot-coms were.

I'd rather work semi-quietly for years, then just do something newsworthy, like drop 10,000 disaster relief domes into a disaster area, and let the newscasters create the news stories and media hype for us. Not only is it free publicity (meaning we aren't spending millions of dollars to put a "shotgun" ad into a magazine or on TV instead of using that money to build another 10,000 shelters) but I think people would spread the news by word of mouth if it's truly news, and not just an advertisement. I've expanded on this concept on the PopularizingTheFuture and AdsWeWouldRun pages. Check those out for more of my thoughts on the matter.

I dunno. In some ways, I'm sure my views seem quaint and old fashioned. But in others, I think we may do ourselves a grave disservice if we focus more on tooting our own horn than devoting our efforts to actually making changes in the world.

What do others think?

--PatrickSalsbury


I agree with Patrick - what's that thing Buckminster Fuller used to say? "Never show unfinished work"?

--Jmorash

I agree with both patrick and Jmorash- Buckminster also said that the first time is often ugly" Therefore waiting for a second try would be important. I also assume that it is important to open the closed loop of design to an open network of thinkers. [RodneyJohnson] Name


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