Earlier this month, Seth Godin made a post about discovery fatigue that makes me think that recommendations from trusted sources are going to play an ever larger role in getting people to initiate some sort of relationship with an arts organization.
Advertising, social media posts and other marketing efforts will still play a large role in informing and maintaining awareness in those who are already interested, but reading Godin’s post makes me think the initial impetus to investigate is likely to come from a trusted source.
Godin gives examples of how when new technologies first emerged, people consumed broadly, reveling in the chance to discover something new. But as time progressed, everyone felt overwhelmed by the number of opportunities afforded them and essentially retrenched and began focusing only on what they felt was manageable.
We come up with all sorts of excuses about our fatigue, most of them have to do with the fact that there’s nothing good on, nothing new happening, or we’re just too busy. I don’t think those hold water…
I think there are actually three reasons:
First, once you’re busy with what you’ve got, it diminishes the desire to get more.
Second, discovery is exhausting. Putting on a new pair of glasses, seeing the world or hearing the world or understanding the world in a new way is a lot more work than merely cruising through a typical day.
And third, infinity is daunting. A birdwatcher might be inspired to keep seeking out new birds, because she knows she’s almost got them all. But the infinity of choice that the connection economy brings with it is enough to push some people to artificially limit all that input.
In that context, I am appreciative to all those who continue to read and subscribe to this blog every week.
We have all probably heard the complaint that “there is nothing to do in this town,” and naturally thought of all our own events first and then enumerated all the other events including charity races, pancake breakfasts, antique car shows and farmers markets going on in the same weekend.
It may not be that there is nothing going on, just that there is nothing going on in the areas people have chosen to focus on. They may not be eager to look elsewhere out of fear of missing out on something that does pop up at the last minute, but it also may be a reluctance to add another area of interest to what is perceived to be too many interests.
Whatever the next big tech thing is will join crowded Netflix queues, Kindle reading lists, social media interests, family, friends and pets. If an ad or event listing manages to squeeze itself in there and pique the interest of someone who is unfamiliar with you, they may not be motivated to explore further in the absence of a recommendation of some sort.
Even then, only if it sounds like something they would enjoy enough to crowd their life up a little more. I often read comments from people visiting the U.S. from other countries that we speak in such hyperbole using terms like “awesome, fantastic, the best, amazing.” I wonder if we are essentially forced to use this level of enthusiasm as a default because anything less wouldn’t convince someone to invest their attention in something.