Willie Richardson, why am I starting the page this way? – read below… you’ll see…
The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society. The exhibition, on view from March 5 to July 4, 2010, represents the first large-scale exhibition of materials from the Grateful Dead Archive.
The so-called “large scale” exhibition actually fits in a 500 square foot room, about the same size as the gift shop across the hall featuring Dead memorabilia. Despite the size, I came away with an entirely different perspective of the band. What spun around my mind was not the artistic visions of Dead Heads, but the incredibly futuristic marketing approach the band developed. They invented viral marketing.
The Grateful Dead was using Facebook, Twitter and Gmail in 1967! …Not really, but they were doing a grass roots “social networking” strategy that major corporations are trying to emulate today.
On the back of one 1971 album, the band asked their fans “who they were”, which was the beginning of a mailing list that eventually grew to 1/2 million people. The Dead kept their fans in the loop with a newsletter and by selling their own tickets. Every concert sold out.
At their peak, the band drew nearly 2 million fans to their shows every year. Fans report seeing them 150 times or more, and the Dead sold $50 million worth of merchandise. They were reaching out to their audience, asking them for feedback, and creating a word of mouth mania- all the while playing their music.
This show coincided with my own discovery of social networking as my wife is now beginning to do this type of work for Adobe Lightroom Workshops. A conversation with a friend of ours in marketing shed light on the fact that there is a huge land grab out there on the internet, and that I’m not taking part in it. Not until now. My website in Flash is completley useless as far as search engines go. (A friend in Chicago will be converting my site to HTML).
I had an epiphany the other day when I realized all those links to friends on Facebook and other social networks are actually LINKS! Friends = Links, even if nobody reads it. I added a new picture on LinkedIn, updated my bio and then pushed a button that said, “request a recommendation from every person you know in the universe.” It was 3 a.m. so who cares, it’s only a dream anyway.
The next day I woke up to the beginning of dozens of threads from people. These are people who live with my paintings, or worked with me on commission projects. I wouldn’t be painting if I didn’t think there was something I have worthwhile to share, but it almost caught me off guard to hear others saying this- It dawned on me that the viral networking has a purpose, to connect. It’s in our most primitive receptacles to share information, and now we can share across platforms in an organic way anywhere, sometimes instantaneously, and sometimes in time packets.
I then set out to start a blog, create a Facebook fan page and register, tweet, link, poop, woof, foot, foolloot, scoop, doop, loolyloop, whatever… all those sites. All in the name of link building. My website is #1 when you type in “Willy Richardson” on google. Unfortunately there are black football players on the internet with the name “Willie Richardson”. Since I don’t spell my name that way, my websites is not listed at all… If you type the characters “willy ri” into google it will bring up the suggestion for “willie richardson”.
So how do you get the name “Willie Richardson” on to Google? The race is on… especially with “Willie P. Richardson” who holds the #1 slot.