RED BAND LAUNCHED!
A Community By Any Other Hashtag
What makes a community?
“What’s in a name that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
Romeo and Juliet – The Bard
If you recall your Shakespeare the quote above is spoken by Juliet upon finding that her true love is from the Montague’s, the one family she as a Capulet is sworn to destroy. The full scene is a meditation on the uselessness of judging by labels – love is where you find it.
Is our community by any other name the same but different? In the past few days there has been a call to move a good deal of industry-centric Twitter posts from the grouping #avtweeps to #proav by a few industry publications. I found this intriguing, the call for an additional industry hashtag is a good sign of growing involvement on the social platform. What piqued my interest more was the request to use the new #ProAV in place of and excluding the existing #avtweeps. I was further moved into beard stroking ponderance when several folks Direct Messaged me on Twitter curious if I knew who the catalysts were and why they seemed to be so disparaging of the group.
What is in a name?
The group AVTweeps, a derivation of the slang Peeps for friends and a playful nod to the twitter lingo of Tweet for a message, was established by AV integrators looking for a way to group their conversations in and about the industry in one common place about four years ago. It has grown to be the single largest collective of AV related folks on Twitter. The group did debate other hastag names such as #hometheater, #avpros #AVcontrol and the like but it was decided that the names were too limiting and did not express the wide scope of work we do. We also investigated using #AV and #AVPro but these were already in use by the Adult Video folks- otherwise known as the *Porn* industry. While we know full well that many of the systems we install are used for viewing such or are installed in the producers of such material -the association seemed a bit too much by half.
I like the #ProAV hastag but like stated above I have avoided it as it seemed a bit too exclusive. In way of demonstrating what I mean by this let me describe how I define Pro AV. I have been lucky enough to have had careers in Recording Engineering, (back when it was a studio not a high end ‘project studio’), Broadcast and Live Event Staging. Nearly all of these folks, from the camera operators, lighting techs/ designers, FOH audio and associated crew would not view what integrators install as Pro gear or a Pro Audio industry. No question integrators are considered professionals in a related Audio Visual industry but the definition of pro is of a different order. I have -to be clear- met few, if any really, Pro AV folks who disparage the integrator market beyond the use of the moniker.
Being Exclusive does has its benefits in some cases -I agree. When one wants to reach a narrow audience on specific topics like #tonys or #altmusic avoiding a broader audience provides a very focused conversation. Speaking of the Alt designator, some you older set reading this will recall that early Usnet Newsgroups used the alt prefix to narrow down topic specificity. Usnets were a pre World Wide Web internet discussion system and were the precursor to chat boards and forums. The Alt(dot) hierarchy though less organized was helpful as the main groups could become unwieldy when searching for say, a specific play. Rather than go to the humanities.plays one could subscribe to the Alt.Plays.shakespeare. Very handy indeed. Today this methodology is still very useful for Brands looking to reach potential clients; rather than cast a wide net they use carefully selected keywords to show up in searches and twitter communities.
This is what I thought was going on with the desire to separate from the larger group of AV professionals into one that focused on the Live Event and Broadcast industry. Yet, this does not seem to be the case. In fact many of the leading posts are from publications which are not technically in the Pro AV market (at least by the definition I gave previously).
So I ask here
I posed this question to the folks who voiced the desire to separate into their own state why such a move would be warranted. Was it that the uninitiated had a hard time finding the group? A single day following a manufacturer would have exposed them to the tag.
Was saving three letters really that urgent a need?
I am sure there is a good answer and being a devotee of all things AV and Social I was curious why the sociological rift. As you are reading this here I am sure you know the response I received – Crickets.
So I ask here: Why the desire to create a chasm? Is there an untoward association #avtweeps has or is it a desire to distinguish a presence in a different space.
All the above are legitimate reasons and I curry no favor other than I have ‘lived’ in the tweeps column on my tweetdeck since its inception. Heck I think the #proav hastag has some great potential, but I do not go rushing toward new shiny baubles just because they are reflecting the sunlight particularly nicely at a specific hour. If I did I would be living in a Park Avenue apartment because of the way the light looks on Manhattanhenge, (still a valid reason to do so, as long as one is aware of what the other 362 days look like).
Why this post is here
This is why I have posted this on Chris Neto’s AV Shout platform, to speak from a neutral territory. Here no one need be concerned about driving traffic to a ‘competitors’ site by commenting.
So tell me I am screwy for laboring over this, Tell my to *expletive deleted* off and mind my own business but tell me how a name does not smell as sweet.
When asked to recap his career and life Tucker responded “Me? I am just a figment of your collective imagination and let me tell you that living this life has taught me one thing- you people are twisted Mofos” You can follow Tucker on Twitter @Tuckertues or his personal blog on tech and tech culture at http://tuckerstuesday.typepad.com