“Neatness, madam, has nothing to do with the truth. The truth is quite messy, like a windblown room.”-William J Harris
On a soggy and squally February day, with thoughts of Waldo Lydecker on my mind, I went about a semi-regular activity for some of us on Denman…those of us with a poster or a scrap of information which needs a public pedestal…scurrying about on the Denman Island Bulletin Board circuit. Downtown Denman has a bounty of bulletin boards. Potted about the Village, usually affixed to what passes for our public buildings (though some private enterprises such as the General Store and Abraxas generously provide space for notices,) the bulletin boards of Denman are a constant source of interminable intelligence. On one hand, there are almost too many places to go to post your crucial crumb of data. On the other hand, this righteous communications objective, the near-viral promotion of an upcoming political event or, more frequently it seems these days, the leafleting of every available space with an announcement about an entertainment occurrence, would achieve, you might imagine, the ultimate educative windfall: every living human on Denman would know exactly what you were announcing and how much fun it would be. There would be no room for doubt, no room for someone to say… “I didn’t know that was happening. How come you didn’t advertise?”
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Recently, a half a dozen compatriots and I spent the better part of two months conceiving, designing and marketing an Audio Arts Collective project, Harmonica Spring 2012. This was a titanic step for our troupe. We were able to generate a lot of on-Island and off Island promotion, including the pièce de résistance, the front page story in the March Flagstone. We had signs; we had leaflets; we had buzz: the “mini-festival” was also pumped up on at least three Island cyber-sites: the Denman Works electronic calendar, the Arts Denman website and DenmanIslandInfo.com
Still, after all of that, the concert, an engaging family friendly evening with an outstanding blues–playing bill of fare and first-rate goodies to masticate, had a restrained, almost disheartening attendance.
I mention this, not to curry commiseration, but to broach, for your consideration, the varied means by which we learn about events on Denman, the scope of those miscellaneous events and our facility to sustain them. Some events will fly; others will flap their wings ferociously yet fail to achieve a tolerable height. A few are for entrepreneurial profit; most are the consequence of non-profit labour. Within this organizational mélange, some preserve local capital in the community; others dispatch the funds off-shore. All create a measure of home-grown economic hullabaloo.
“I hear YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are merging to form a super Social Media site – YouTwitFace.” Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show (June 2009)
Social media is an emerging avant-garde mass means of communication. What a marvel it is? Though I have somewhat mastered the premise if not the practice of e-mail, I was disinclined to set my sights on Facebook. Some years ago I gingerly enlisted but quickly back-stepped, petrified that my long sought after forest of privacy (fop) might be compromised by an ill-considered word, a revealing notation. Having a tendency to run at the mouth, I was understandably fretful that I might blurt out some hitherto well-kept secret.
Once I was teleported to the Denman Community Bulletin Board, (for those of you at sea over social media, the DCBB is an unpretentious internet rivulet whereby members can chat, post pictures and links (some pork, but mostly meatless, sausage) and is a sort of wired, over-the-back- fence information clothesline, or, if you are really a retro-romantic, a tousled party line,) and realized I would have to jumpstart my dead battery Facebook life to enrol, I darned the consequences and hurdled in. As I write this, 130 have registered. I now feel in the loop. Or noose! Or, at least, I feel like I am going around in circles in a slightly more informed manner. For example I know that at least two dogs were recently lost, and, in a nano second, found. Praise the Board! Additionally, all manner of political pursuits have been promoted. I plug my weekly Classic movies. Our Harmonica Spring workshops and Concert were frequently hyped in a caring and lovingly repetitive manner.
“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” – Will Rogers
March 2012 was a frenzied month for those with a need either to divert or be diverted. There were at least 3 classic music recitals, a number of musical gigs at our two key eateries, plus an assortment of other not-to-be-missed (though I did, I’m afraid, miss quite a few) amusements sprinkled hither and yon, including a couple of choice cinematic experiences. April is shaping up to equal or exceed the pleasure dome of distractions undertaken in March. We are an Island of 1000, or so I’ve been told. I have rarely seen more than 150 or so of us at any one time. While some of our playfully artistic activities are subsidized, most aren’t. The citizens of Denman are indispensable (indispensable, that is, in the sense that much of any prospective audience, by definition, are the, hopefully, deep-pocketed, glee-gluttonous, increasingly antiquarian folks of Denman) to buttress these converging and occasionally competing leisure pastimes.
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” –Mark Twain
As you can tell, although this homily began as a reflection on how we advertise our entertainment and political wares, it has floundered into a broodingly parallel pond of impenetrability. Alas, I’ve scarcely skimmed the promotional surface…and miserably bungled completing my preliminary thrust, the etiquette and the efficacy of posting notices. Reluctantly, I sense another related article approaching. Consider this fair warning!