Someone who has always served me as an example in social media and innovation is the former journalist, music lover and internet guru Erwin Blom. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his Fast Moving Targets, which he makes together with Roeland Stekelenburg: look, enjoy and donate here. Bier&cO provides the beer – but that is not the reason for this blog. He wrote two recent so-called ‘Handpicked’ commentary blogs that often inspire and open the eyes. ‘A little sad’ and ‘cheered‘ they’re called. For a mere tenner a month you get them in your mailbox, but again, that’s not the point.
In summary, Erwin describes his ‘naivety of the early nineties when we all thought that the internet was making the world more beautiful through transparency and democratization.’ He writes: ‘Communication has become easier, collaboration has become easier, consumption has become easier, distribution has become easier. But still … The big players of this world, the Googles, Facebooks and Netflixes are draining a lot of local markets dry for advertising funds, subscriptions and other cash flows, but return badly. They feel not in any way responsible for supporting the markets they benefit from, for example, media, art and culture. It should be able to earn money and give back to the community you benefit from at the same time.’ In the follow-up blog, he rejoices, and especially praises Open Source. A careful reader of MyLifeWithBeer knows where I’m going: there’s a parallel with the beer world.
Also here we see this pattern: big players ’empty markets’, The Very Hungry Caterpillar from Brazil (AB InBev) first and foremost, and do not actually return to those markets, while even smaller players have found the mix between making money and the community to profit from each other. In other words, big breweries are, of course as they should be, focused on making money while the smaller breweries put making great beer first and take their responsibility in their communities. A good example is Oedipus Brewing’s Offline Launch Party: their new white beer is launched, and of course they hope to sell a lot of it. But on the presentation evening – which is free (!) – you are asked to hand in your phone and join an evening offline.
You can then wander freely through the brewery, and meet real people. Have analogue conversations #IRL. The brewer tells about the how and why of the beer and have you taste it – you can then ask questions. All this time your phone is in the ‘Phone love hotel’. Jeroen van Loon, Offline Artist, works with the idea that even the Internet will someday be obsolete and after his talk everyone can participate in a performance. Researcher Sidney Vollmer will talk about how digital culture affects our lives, and how to balance it. There are analogue apps, and it is rumored ‘dancing’ will take place: a form of exercise, often provoked by music, and based on the Wii game “Let’s Dance”.
Yes, this blog is an advertisement for both Fast Moving Targets and Oedipus Brewing in disguise, as well as for (CRAFT) breweries. I’m using my blog shamelessly for it because they at least try to make the world a bit more beautiful every day, and I think they are pretty good at it.