I bow to drewslist. I kowtow and offer obeisances, or at least I send Drew Kampion a check for about 10% of what I make through his very local service. Drew runs an email list that sounds innocuous yet is more powerful than any social media or advertising campaign that I’ve used. One man, with the right mindset, resources, talent and skills can be a positive influence throughout a community. How does he do that? How can each of us do that? I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying.
A while back someone called me a facebooker extraordinaire. Cool title. Maybe something to put on a business card. My skills are humble compared to some of my friends who sustain fascinating lifestyles based on their web presences and the resulting personal networks. One photographer friend (Kris Krug) gets a portrait gig with the Dalai Lama. A friend (Steve Smolinsky) who’s a corporate culture consultant is becoming recognized as an expert on African affairs (not the romantic kind) possibly based on his blog. Jeff Vander Clute (@jvanderclute) seems to live in, for, and from social networks. Social media’s power is so new that society has yet to fully incorporate it into our civilization and institutions.
(Coincidences happen: As I type this, a east coast friend (name withheld because I don’t know if she wanted to be mentioned outside her Facebook circle) made a post on her Facebook wall about what it would be like to become an herbologist. I sent a PM back, linking her with some friends who own an herbal apothecary and included a link to their web site. I sent them an email to make the introduction. Twenty years ago, the same information and networking exchange would’ve required long distance phone calls, snail mail before it was called that, brochures, typed letters of introduction, and weeks; which is why it probably wouldn’t have happened.)
Despite my efforts with facebook (friend me!), twitter (follow me at @tetrimbath), Google+ (+me), and Linkedin (lets connect) drewslist has been more successful at filling my classes and selling my art. There’s no need to google drewslist. It isn’t a web site – yet. Drewslist is an informal, unofficial, free community service created, produced, and operated by Drew Kampion. That’s a name that google finds results for. Drew compiles a set of emails almost every day. Each email is essentially a different series of user-generated ads. Last night’s batch (Drew does this in the middle of the night) were for:
Health & Healing
Jobs, Services & Help
Art, Artists & Galleries
Usually I have at least one item listed, sometimes it’s business, sometimes it’s personal. Last night’s included a notice for a slideshow I am performing on Friday night at a local commons. (Twelve Months at Penn Cove at South Whidbey Commons, free and at 7PM) The previous night had a class notice for Modern Self-Publishing. Over the weekend there was a gallery note for my photos at Taste for Wine. He has a simple user’s guide. If you live on Whidbey, get on his email list, put together your notice and send it to him. Be relaxed about when it shows up. There is such a thing as island time. Also be ready to be surprised because he might improve the notice, catch errors (he is a professional writer and editor), and he might post it at a time that works better.
Why not simply use craigslist? Because drewslist is based on community. Anyone can cruise craigslist, which is nicely egalitarian, but it is also fertile ground for spammers and thieves. If someone sees my notice on drewslist, there’s a good chance we know each other or have mutual friends and acquaintances. Anonymity disappears. Integrity regains its importance. Drewslist is the truly social network that matches needs with wants, connects and concentrates passionate advocates, and announces celebrations and ceremonies.
And he doesn’t charge. He asks for and needs donations, and I am happy to contribute my 10%, but asking for donations also acknowledges that when someone is selling an heirloom it might because they are unemployed and the sale will pay for a propane bill or a prescription. As my situation improves I look forward to improving his situation.
Altruism is honorable, but I also am impressed because it works. I’ve tried selling things on eBay, but without luck. I’ve sold things on craiglist and made money, but I also met scammers and even two folks who probably used the opportunity to case my house. I post my classes and art notices on facebook, twitter, google+, Linkedin, and on my web site with some success. Drewslist has been more successful than all of them. One person offering a free service has done than four multi-billion dollar corporations.
I am an optimist, and am frequently challenged by people who demand that I defend my optimism. Pessimism has been too powerful for too long. I think recently it has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. People who decide to personally take positive actions can be incredibly powerful. Incredible means hard to believe. I’m glad that I can believe it, and I am glad for evidence of what one person can do.
Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl ad was for Chrysler, but it was really for America. It cheered me to the point of tears. I feel sad, and a little angry, for those who tried turning it into a battleground. I take the example of Drew Kampion and the attitude and message from Clint’s ad and am proud of people and eager to see what we, not our institutions, but what we people can do.
PS: One of last night’s drewslist notices was for someone advertising their services as an eBay reseller. I love the way the world flows around and back onto itself.