In college, I ran through 3 market research internships & positions and still felt marketing was used car sales. Until my first quarter at B-school. In an economics class, one article, a single page from a magazine, stood out. It talked about a dress shop in DC that would send husbands notes around their wives' birthdays.
"Cindy's birthday is next week, and we happen to have the perfect dress in her size and colors in stock. Say the word and we'll gift wrap it and deliver it to your door."
...or something like that.
I was floored by the power of knowing exactly what a user needed and being able to communicate and deliver on it. I realized that marketing was where I wanted to be, after all.
Years later, I jumped at the chance to run my company's first online research community. As I started building relationships with our core community contributors, I was building an understanding of how people are communicating in this participatory culture.
My coworkers questioned the motivations behind blogging - was it a fad? are bloggers just sadly unsocial and need lives? - so I started informal research among those in the office who were already in the blog space (including Jenny). Jenny and others encouraged me to start blogging myself.
And I've been jumping in and trying new social media tools since.
Before any of this, my love of languages clarified into a passion for exploring the different ways people/ societies express themselves. As a French major, I was fascinated by a class in Caribbean literature - Chamoiseau's Solibo Magnifique, Maryse Conde. The evolution of Haitian and Martinican creoles - melding languages in order to form one way to best express your experience and that blend becoming as legit as any language itself- some of the earliest mashups! Gullah is another example.
Clay Shirky, of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications program declared the "Creolizaiton of media" in talking about the attitude of Gen Y to sharing online (Say Everything by Emily Nussbaum). I see it more widespread, but love the phrase. So that's what we're talking about here. I'm hoping to get my thinking on modern storytelling and voice out of my head and into a space where it can contribute to the conversation.