Changing the conversation...


Commentary: We need to change the way society values creativity

Louise K. Stevens, ArtsMarket blog, 2/28/11

There is a lot of talk, writing -- and the beginnings of policy development -- around the role of creatives in our 21st Century economy.  I've been advocating creatives as a large economic sector with a lot more clout than our current splintered arts and cultural community. [However,] we've fallen down on describing creatives, [who] are too often thought of as artists who work in the for profit sector while artists are those who create in the nonprofit sector.  President Obama was in Silicon Valley last week, calling for more innovators to fuel our economy. I think he (and we) are all using the wrong language. Instead of calling for more innovation, he should have called for more creativity. We are societally unlikely to immediately accept and praise creativity as the engine of innovation - especially when economic and political rhetoric alike are prone to pit the cause of science -- "wise investment" - against that of creativity - "we simply can't afford it."  But imagine if we marketed and lobbied so that over time - five years, say - the American public "gets" the creativity-innovation partnership. That parents who want their children to grow into careers as scientific researchers or in management realize their kids must be well trained in creativity.  Einstein was fascinated by the study of creativity. His interest was music, though in his book Greatness in Music he refers to every art discipline. When you read this book, you immediately see a mathematical-scientific homage to creativity. Einstein wanted to learn the essence of creativity so he could apply it to his own work.  So should we. Creating a lasting, sustainable economy of creativity isn't just about building a coalition of for-profit artists together with nonprofit cultural organizations. It must stem from a value system that recognizes, champions, teaches, and applies the creativity skills sets to all innovation.


Commentary: We need to change the way society values nonprofits

David Greco, Money and Mission blog, 2/25/11

To understand why nonprofits struggle to cover their cost of doing business [or] why a foundation grant can actually drain an organization's liquidity when it does not cover the full cost of a service, we need to understand the broader historical and social context of money in American society.  We are a nation with deep divisions, fears, and conflicts when it comes to money.  As Lynne Twist notes in The Soul of Money, "For most of us...our behavior with and around money is often at odds with our most deeply held values, commitments, and ideals."  Likewise, Dan Pallotta writes in Uncharitable, "Our rules and ideas about charity began their journey into formalism with Puritan constructs."  Sacrifice, denial, suffering, and criticism -- sadly these constructs are still in place for much of the nonprofit world.  They tell us that anything resembling profit or self-interest must be banned; that philanthropy is distinct from the "real world" of for-profit business; and that overhead and profits are unnecessary and unrelated to mission.  We will not achieve the impact we seek until we deal with the broader rules that govern philanthropic enterprise. One step is to change the language nonprofits use. We should never view ourselves as second-class citizens begging for scraps. Nonprofits are corporations that produce jobs, stimulate the economy, and promote more sustainable and vibrant communities. Nonprofits are businesses that exist to fill voids that cannot or should not be filled by for-profit corporations or government. 


Analysis: Social media is helping, not killing effectiveness of email, 2/28/11

The latest death knell for email was sounded by comScore's 2010 report, which noted a decline in time spent with web-based email among all US internet users under 55. Users ages 12 to 17 had the steepest decline in usage, down 59%.  But email checked at a desktop computer is only one slice of all email communications.  According to research from marketing agency Merkle, 87% of internet users checked personal email daily in 2010, a number that has changed little since 2007. Among those with a separate email account for commercial email, 60% checked daily, down just 1 percentage point since 2008.  Further, social media usage is hardly taking away from email. Rather, social media users are significantly more likely than other internet users to check their email four or more times per day, and less likely to check infrequently.  Mobile access is also encouraging email users to check more often. More than half (55%) of those surveyed who had an internet-enabled mobile phone checked their personal email using their phone, and nearly two-thirds of mobile email users checked their account at least once a day.  There is some evidence that personal communications are shifting away from email, though. Messages from friends and family are taking up a smaller share of all time spent with email, while the share spent with commercial emails is rising. But email is still a major method of communicating for the vast majority of internet users. Across all age groups, it was the top choice for receiving commercial communications.


Analysis: Facebook is an increasingly important platform for news, 2/28/11

A Facebook-only news organization?  It was only a matter of time.  The Rockville Central, a community news site in the Washington, D.C., area, will move all its operations to its Facebook Page starting on March 1. This risky move highlights Facebook's growing role as a platform for journalists to use for social storytelling and reporting.  One of the key advantages of Facebook over other social platforms is the sheer number of potential sources it presents for journalists. At National Public Radio, its 1.5+ million-member Facebook community is invaluable for finding sources, said NPR's Eyder Peralta.   Al Jazeera English said its reporters used Facebook to get a "pulse on reality."  Journalists such as Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times use [it] to post regular updates from [their] reporting.  Ian Shapira at The Washington Post used Facebook status updates to [report a recent] story through status updates, enabling him to tell the story in a way that a standard print piece would not have been able to.  News organizations are experimenting with Facebook-only news portals to take advantage of the social distribution on the platform and an existing audience.  [The Boston Globe] has built a news application called "Your Boston".  In many ways, [it] functions like a news site within the Facebook platform.  "We're only just beginning to see what's possible with social journalism, as innovative journalists are reporting, finding sources and engaging with readers through Facebook," said FB spokeswoman Malorie Lucich.


Arts writers declare 'strike' against The Huffington Post

The Los Angeles Times' Culture Monster blog, 2/28/11

Writers for the websites ArtScene and Visual Art Source said Monday they are declaring a "strike" against the Huffington Post, to which they have contributed content since the summer of 2010. In their announcement, the writers listed two primary demands: that a pay schedule be initiated for all contributing writers and bloggers, and that paid promotional material no longer be posted alongside editorial content.  Bill Lasarow, publisher and editor of the two websites, said in an interview that the move is "not a hostile act in any sense whatsoever," but added the writers felt "like they were being taken advantage of by the company to make an enormous profit."  He said the action was prompted at least in part by the HuffPo's recent sale to AOL for a reported $315 million. Representatives of HuffPo have not responded yet.


Please consider the environment before printing out this email.  Thanks.
YOU'VE COTT MAIL is a free service for professionals in the arts.  Emails are sent most weekdays. 
If you are not already on the distribution list and would like to sign up, please click here:

Join Our Mailing List      Follow me on Twitter     
Click here to view an archive of recent past editions of "You've Cott Mail."