Social Objects, UStream chats, Chronic Town, and the missing half of my locket

I’ve been chronicling the development of the UStream chats we’ve recently been working on.

You gotta get on this action if you haven’t tried. Just build up your Tribe a little bit (you know: Twitter, FB, your blog) then start talking.

Think of it this way: you’re at a bar, you’re shooting the shit with someone, and you hit on a topic that makes you pause and say, “Do you have the other half of this locket?” In other words, you find that shared interest that tells you both you’re members of the same Tribe. That shared interest is a social object.

Often this is music or art of some kind; some obscure book, movie, record that you thought you and only you loved, and then you realize the person you’re talking to has the same appreciation of this…what…social object.

Get it?

It’s not the thing – the thing doesn’t matter – it’s the fact that you are connected by this thing.

I remember so well my freshman year of college, having come from a cultural vacuum of epic proportions to a place where I wasn’t the only one who had a giant poster of this on my wall:

You think that seeing this poster on someone else’s wall didn’t bind me to this person? You think it didn’t lead to the formation of a Tribe? You think it didn’t lead to countless multi-guitar renditions of “Driver 8?” You think it didn’t lead to more album/merch/ticket sales for REM?

You think Chronic Town isn’t still a social object? This came across my Twitter transom the other day:

Now, I don’t know Mr. Kaplan personally, but a Tweet like this one certainly makes me want to know him, do some work together, etc. Again, it ain’t the object, it’s how it connects people.

So, building that Tribe allows you to then use UStream to create something approximating that space you inhabit when you’re at the bar shooting the shit. The conversation is sort of the meta social object. Hopefully others emerge during the course of the conversation. If they don’t, watch out. Something’s not right.

Of course, a UStream chat is not the same as being in a bar. But, if you approach it from the standpoint of markets being a conversation, it gets pretty darn close.

With our UStream deals we’re trying to have a conversation – speak in an authentic voice.

Think of it this way (paraphrasing Doc Searls), when an artist is selling a CD after their gig at a merch table, what (ideally) is that process like? Well, it should be a conversation. The person walking up to the merch table should end up conversing with the artist. At the end of the conversation what should happen? A purchase of the CD, merch, etc. So…markets are conversations, and the purchase is simply the exclamation point at the end. The CD that is purchased? The social object, of course. The punctuation at the end of our UStream conversations is when people go to the Artists House site and watch videos, etc. Oh, and there will be more ways to punctuate coming up soon.

I’m getting ready to dive into a new project for Wolfgang’s Vault where I’ll be putting my ass on the line to try and make this work for some of the most important music ever created. First steps: Identify some social objects and start conversations. More on this soon.

A lot here (or maybe a little). Disjointed. Sorry. Need to edit. Don’t feel like it (it’s a blog, not a scholarly journal for fuck’s sake).

I’m going to be talking about social objects on our next Artists House UStream broadcast. We’ll do this next Wednesday (the 18th) at a new time: 6pm central.

Here’s last week’s conversation. If you’re keeping score at home, we went from 50 viewers the first week, to 100 the second, to over 150 for this most recent one. Hells to the yeah.

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