For a Bonafide Web Two-dot-O Experience, Get Stranded
This entry can alternatively be called, "Why American Airlines Sucks."
Before leaving ad:tech I had a conversation with a blogger who lamented learning little of value at the conference. He wasn't the only one who complained; surface-skimming conversation with a few girls at last night's Batanga party betrayed a pattern.
I hate to file yet another complaint into the ether. But after some serious thought, it occurred to me that you can't really learn about how people are communicating - manipulating brands, and media, in the process - unless you're sharing their space, communicating right along with them. That's not the kind of thing you can really be taught at a seminar.
Which leads me to why American Airlines sucks.
If you've ever wondered why the American Airlines logo has a suspiciously shaft-shaped embellishment, it's because it subjects frequent flyers to inappropriate back-door molestation.
Recall the drama of my ad:tech arrival.
At present I'm sitting at O'Hare International. In all fairness I should be home by now. But American has canceled at least 9 of its flights this evening and, insult to injury, will not cover a hotel stay.
So I'm here until at least 7 AM tomorrow morning.
Considering ad:tech Miami didn't exist before this year, I think it was great for what it was. Latin media populators share the same struggles, concerns and insights the marketing and advertising community at large do, which is perhaps a better revelation than any myth of exotic difference.
Like some mega-church, maybe ad:tech is meant only to bring the like-minded together for inspiration, motivation and a spirit-lift, even as it reinforces - on a grand scale - what we as an industry already take for gospel.
In an increasingly smaller world, it goes without saying that industry pros, no matter where they're from, all march to the same beat. (The only difference is, in Miami, the beat's got hotter drummers.)
To get a real feel for what's happening out there media-wise, however, you need an education that can perhaps only be forced upon you by getting stranded at O'Hare.
I'm sitting at a computer hub, which is essentially a long table with some seats and a series of plugs across it. I'm video-chatting my roommate in Ithaca, who's offered to help me find a nearby hotel while I relate the tale of my suffering.
Bleary-eyed from writing, I look at the dude to my left. He's a few years younger than me, and his left hand is flipping lazily across the keyboard. The other hand holds a gigantic set of BOSE headphones over one ear. He's on a program called Fruity Loops, making a beat.
I look to my right. Here's a man in glasses, suffering from programmer's pallor, watching some kind of full-screen video of himself and another guy braving the ocean waves on a vessel. Onscreen, they are smiling and tanned.
The guy glares at me, and I set my eyes back onto my own computer.
Picture us three at this little hub in Chicago, stranded with our media. Just a couple of years ago, this scenario wasn't even possible.
The dude on my right is a recent implant. Before him I was sitting next to a man named Barry from Arkansas. His flight has long since left. The friendly Southerner was in town for a conference on transitioning from print publishing to digital.
Here's his gazette.
Before he departed, we shook hands and lauded the perpetuity of content across any platform, the ones we know and those that have yet to unveil themselves.
The meeting of traditional publisher and online content furnisher occurred like that of a war ship and a flying saucer in the night. Our languages are similar but different, but we both seek to convey messages that don't quite belong to us, to audiences broader than our own voices can reach.
In the end, we're two soldiers of the same struggle, aren't we?