A Tangled Web
It’s been 172 days since the first case of Coronavirus was diagnosed in Washington state by the CDC and it’s been 121 days since the World Health Organization declared it was a global pandemic. I learned both of those stats on the web. And it’s given me pause this week as I try to imagine a world without the internet.
Unlike previous pandemics, such as the 1918 Spanish Flu, the world is much more connected. Information is available at the touch of a button. In 1918 there was no TV. The first commercial radio broadcast was still more than two years away. Yes, you could get the news via newsreels, but, the news was often weeks or months old. Charlie Chaplin made five movies in 1918. By the time you saw a news report on the Spanish Flu on a newsreel, you were already halfway through the second wave of the pandemic, and “The Tramp” had already made another movie. (For the record, Chaplin’s nickname was “The Tramp” — not being mean here.) Newspapers at the time were not very reliable either, as many downplayed the severity of the virus and big-city newspapers such as The Boston Globe and The New York Times failed to mention the virus at all in their day-to-day coverage. The Spanish Flu raged for six months before receiving coverage in our hometown paper.
Fast forward 100 years and we see a completely unrecognizable information landscape in 2020. Mainstream media outlets report on COVID-19 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On March 11, four out of five stories on the front page of The New York Times were about Coronavirus, and nine of ten stories on CNN that day were about Coronavirus. No one has seen as newsreel since the 60s and I don’t hear anyone complaining about it. Today, 75% of American adults get their news online and an astounding 63% of respondents (in a Pew Research Survey) rely on social media as their primary news source. Think about how frightening that is. The equivalent would be getting your news in 1918 from completely unreliable new sources like your gossiping neighbors and that brother-in-law who thinks he knows everything.
To put this into perspective, I think we need to understand that how we receive our news is just as important as the news we receive. The internet is a marvelous thing, yet we have to remember that we should use it with some perspective. A hammer is an amazing tool. In the hands of an experienced and thoughtful carpenter, a hammer can be used to build beautiful and functional things. In the hands of an angry novice, that same hammer can be used to destroy beautiful and functional things.
It is hard to imagine a world today without the world wide web and what life would have been like under quarantine without it — Limited access to information. Loss of communication with friends and loved ones. Fewer entertainment options. Little to no ability to work-from-home. Online shopping, Amazon Prime, and DoorDash deliveries. — But it is worth imagining the flip side; and perhaps how different our view of the world would be without fake news, constant distraction, cyberbullying, doxxing, phishing, altered videos, and seeing friends you’ve known from kindergarten scream obscenities on your Facebook feed in the name of either social justice or patriotism.
In 2020, we have more ways to communicate than ever before, yet we find it harder to truly communicate with one another.
Monday, July 6 – What’s In A Name?
One of Madison+Main’s newest team members, Account Executive Andrew Simpson, attended his first Dale Carnegie Training class Monday evening. Office Manager Mollie Banks is scheduled to go this fall. Andrew crushed the introduction name game, remembering 36 out of 42 first and last names. Remember Golden Rule #5, Andrew. Always remember Golden Rule #5. 🙂
Meanwhile, the Madison+Main-iacs worked hard to launch two new websites this week for our awesome clients at The Governor’s Land at Two Rivers and Compass Entertainment Complex. Get a sneak peek of the family fun coming to the Northern Neck this summer, and check out Williamsburg’s beautifully built, private, and member-owned community in all of its glory.
Tuesday, July 7 – Production Tuesday
At our company, we designate Tuesdays as Production Tuesdays, which means that we clear the calendar, say “no” to meetings, and put our heads down and PRODUCE. Somehow I missed the memo and stacked my Tuesday with six Zoom Meetings. The highlight was presenting some new TV, digital, and print ad concepts to the spectacular team at Pinnacle Living, the parent company of Hermitage Richmond, Hermitage Roanoke, Hermitage NoVA, Cedarfield, and WindsorMeade. Whoop, whoop. They love the ads and we’re ready to roll them out.
Wednesday, July 8 – Getting Mobile
On Wednesday, Account Executive Allison Nida and Creative Director Art Webb traveled to Fredericksburg to check out All American Mobility’s showroom. The dynamic duo also pitched new creative concepts to them and received some exciting news that we can’t wait to share soon. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but All American Mobility is on the move.
Speaking of being on the move, our friends at Housing Families First have been busy lately. The Richmond-based rapid rehousing and support organization, formerly known as Hilliard House, has teamed up with Great Harvest Bread Company to supply 150 families with good, nutritious bread over the next several weeks, and they were featured recently on CBS6’s Virginia This Morning. If you’d like to buy a “community loaf” and help the effort, click here.
Thursday, July 9 – How Cool Is That?
On Thursday, we continued our Facebook Live series entitled Convos With Clients, featuring Mindy Conklin of Hitting Cancer Below the Belt for Episode 5. Mindy started HCB2 in 2013 and has been helping spread awareness of colorectal cancer and fighting the #2 cause of cancer death in America. Mindy is kicking cancer’s @ss. #YouGoGirl
When you want to find out something, you can always go to Google. For everything else, there’s Communications Director Kent “Mr. Fix It” Brockwell. Client Services Manager Katie Rossberg dropped by the mostly empty office of Madison+Main Thursday, not to see me, but to enlist the help of our resident know-it-all. Kent, never one to leave a damsel in distress, spent an hour working on Katie’s A/C unit in her Ford. (When I was growing up, F.O.R.D. meant Found On Road Dead.)
Friday, July 10 – If You Like Pina Coladas…
…and getting songs stuck in your head, then today is the perfect holiday for you. I decided to take off work today in celebration of National Pina Colada Day. Hopefully, I don’t get caught in the rain, because I am not into health food and I have half a brain. I am looking forward to meeting you tomorrow night at the dunes on the Cape, where we’ll plan our escape. Maybe we can cut through all this red tape. And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought this email wasn’t half bad.
A Few of Our Favorite Events
Virtual Event | Richmond, VA
July 16, 2020 | 12 p.m.
We are back with a new weekly series for you! We’re thrilled to announce “Convos with Clients” every Thursday at 12 p.m. Join us on Facebook Live as we talk to our clients and friends about their various industries, businesses, expertise, and lives! On July 16 we will be talking with The Doorways President/CEO Stacy Brinkley and Director of Development Shivangi Perkins.
Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!
“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
— Thomas Gray (English Poet, 1742)