Thursday, June 26, 2008

Making history

Kids are a great way to keep wired to the world. The day they leave home you find yourself drifting away from the now to the might-have-been or worse, the good old days. Keep them close is what I say.

The benefits of kids came rushing back when I had a look at the OurBrew site that my son Dannis and his mates have put up. He explained a particular feature called 'crowd clout' and I needed his guidance across the generations. As usual, I came at it from an emotional perspective. The idea of groups of people coming together to create actions and effects bigger than all of them is not new, but what makes it so relevant today is the ability to form these crowds so quickly and in such numbers thanks to the Internet.

Already we have seen crowds of amateur astronomers grid-scanning the skies and finding far distant objects that had eluded more random inspection. All of us have always been more powerful than any one of us. Now I read that historians are at it. That gets onto my radar instantly as I think of history as a record of emotional decisions through time. They’re talking crowd sourcing. Instead of spending days in the archives of libraries and museums, modern historians are going direct to the people who made the history they want to write about. It’s a version of reading personal diaries that only the Internet can offer. At the moment it sounds too one way with historians hunting sources, but you can imagine as people get to understand what is going on, that more blogs, more sites and more chat rooms will flourish, making available vast amounts of on-the-spot material.

At Saatchi & Saatchi we use blogs to record our interactions with people when they are shopping, playing, driving, cooking, teaching, learning, hanging out. Reading these blogs, I am constantly astonished by the insights our teams of Xplorers gather simply by getting close to people as they go about their everyday lives. When these insights emerge in a blog in close to real-time, it makes a riveting record of lives lived. Sounds like history to me.