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Adapted from In Content Marketing, ‘People Buy on Emotion and Rationalize With Logic’ Is a Mistake (Pt. 2) by Catherine Sherlock MaketingProfs August 19, 2013

Do you understand your customers’ buying cycles? Meaning do you know what kinds of input will move them from “just browsing” to gathering facts to choosing among comparables to buying your product to customer loyalty? Good. Now put it on your blog, website, and social media page. In case you stumble, the forever insightful MarketingProfs has this to offer:

“Understanding the function and interplay of logic and emotion at the different stages of your cycle empowers you to be able to create the right content to support your buyers at the right time. Instead of persuading people to buy, you provide the materials to nurture curious buyers and enable people to convince themselves.”

Content Types by Buying Stage

Keep in mind that:

“- Every company has its own unique buying cycle. These concepts are most powerful when you adapt them to your situation. Closely examine your audience and their needs to choose the best content format for each stage.

– Formats are interdependent. The strategy and format you choose at one stage should lead people seamlessly into the strategy and format of the next stage. Basically, you’re continually deepening the conversation you’re having with people.

– Not every buyer will go through your buying cycle in a linear fashion. For example, buyers who are at the point of actively seeking a solution are already at the evaluation stage—but they might have just found out about your product or service.”

So basically…

“Think about whom you’re trying to reach and where they are in your purchasing process when producing content… That’s just good content marketing.”

We all know that in the beginning there was Word. But when the words change with the speed of mobile app proliferation, is it still the beginning? Or is it time to look for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Okay, anyway, don’t worry about what I just said. Here’s why I said it. You know how marketing isn’t marketing anymore. It’s “demand generation.” (Wouldn’t that be nice?) And customer service is “customer care” or “customer satisfaction executives” or… We are all so deep into going back to basics and reinventing ourselves. Don’t you wish the recession would end and we would all start making money again instead of playing with words?

Well, some steadfast souls out there still believe you can do both. (Personally, I am of the persuasion that it’s either one or the other.) Nevertheless, the advice is sound. If you have a business, check out these main points from a recent MarketingProfs article by Mack Collier: Four Ways to Create an Army of Fans for Your Brand or click on the title to read the whole thing.

1. Figure out why your fans are fans and what your relationship with them will be

You need to figure out why the fans you do have are advocating on your behalf. The worst mistake you can make is to assume you know why your fans love your brand. Instead, do some digging, because getting accurate information about who your fans are and why they are advocating on your behalf makes ALL the difference in cultivating an army of fans for your brand. Working to better understand your advocates will also help you determine the context of your relationship. Are you connecting with your advocates to help them connect with other customers? Or do you want them to give you ideas about product design and marketing?

Example: When Brains on Fire started working with Fiskars to help the scissor-maker better connect with its advocates, it had to first learn who its advocates were and why they were advocating on Fiskars’ behalf. After doing some digging, the firm discovered a passionate online community of scrapbookers who preferred to use Fiskars’ famous orange-handled scissors. So, in Fiskars’ case, advocates were coming together over a common love: scrapbooking. Brains on Fire then worked with Fiskars to create a way to bring these advocates together based on that common love of scrapbooking, and the Fiskateers Movement was born.

Action Point: Do research to determine who your fans are and what common ties bind them together. What’s their identity and what is it about your brand that they love? You can learn a lot from simple online monitoring of brand mentions and sentiment, but don’t rely on online feedback alone. Pay close attention to feedback your customers are sending you. Check emails and letters, and especially the results of any customer surveys you can do.

2. Empower your fans and give them control

After you’ve identified your fans and understood why they are advocating on your behalf, look for ways to empower them to connect with other customers. Give them the tools to “share the love.”

Example: Dell has often connected with some of its most passionate customers, offering them the opportunity to write a post for one of its many blogs.

Action Point: Look for ways to give your fans more input and control over new and existing marketing and communication processes. If you have online forums where certain customers are actively helping other customers, look for ways to publicly acknowledge those helpful customers. Never be afraid to give your fans a voice.

3. Focus on “the bigger idea” behind your marketing and communication efforts

There’s an old marketing adage: Sell the benefit, not the product. Remember that your fans typically love your brand for many reasons other than just the product itself. Think about how your fans use your product and what’s important to them. Are there certain beliefs, ideas, thoughts that played a role in purchasing your product over that of a competitor?

Example: Patagonia does an amazing job of tapping into The Bigger Idea with its blog, The Cleanest Line. Recently, Patagonia’s blogging team wrote a post detailing the Obama administration’s newly passed 20-year ban on new Uranium mining in the one-million-acre area immediately surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park. How in the world does that help Patagonia sell more clothes? Patagonia focuses its content on The Cleanest Line on topics and ideas that its customers are passionate about. Note that Patagonia does discuss its products, but it does so in the larger (and more relevant) context of issues that are important to its customers—such as protecting the environment, sustainability, and outdoor activities. Its content focuses on WHY and HOW its customers are using its products.

Action Point: Understand what ideas/thoughts/beliefs are shared by your biggest fans in relation to your brand, and create communications/marketing/content that focuses on those Bigger Ideas. Think about why your fans buy your products and how they use them. For example, if you sell digital cameras, don’t create a blog based on your different camera models; create a blog based on teaching your customers how to be better photographers. That type of content is far more valuable and relevant to current and potential customers, and will help you cultivate fans of your brand.

That approach can even extend to sponsoring events. Last year I talked to Greg Cordell, the chief inspiration officer at Brains on Fire, about how companies can better connect with their fans. I loved what he said about sponsorships: “The greatest thing you can sponsor are the people that love you. Why not sponsor your best customers? Sponsor the things that they care about, that are relevant to your brand. Like crafting and scissors, we’re not talking about the love of scissors, we’re talking about your passion (for crafting). Sponsor the things that connect people to people through the things that they care the most about.”

4. Embrace your fans

Example: In 2010, Dell identified 15 customers who were advocating for the brand online and flew them to Austin to spend a day talk to them directly. The goal was simple: Dell wanted to learn more about why its fans loved the brand and how they could work with them on an ongoing basis (Disclosure: I worked with Dell to facilitate this event). The feedback that Dell gained from that day was far more valuable than any survey it could have sent out, and that first event has expanded into an official program known as DellCAP (Customer Advisory Panel), with several meetings with customers having been held around the world in the last two years.

In fact, one of the Dell advocates who attended the first DellCAP meeting in the summer of 2010, Susan Beebe, was hired soon afterward by Dell as the company’s first Chief Listener! In 2011, fellow DellCAP alum Connie Bensen was also hired by the company as its Sr. Manager of Community Strategy! Dell continues to benefit from this connection it has to its fans via the DellCAP program.

Action Point: Look for ways to connect with and embrace your biggest fans.

Excerpted from Four Ways to Create an Army of Fans for Your Brand by Mack Collier, April 15, 2013

Honestly, people, I don’t know what this blog is about anymore. It’s been ages since I’ve done any “content marketing.” Is that thing even real? Or was it just a make-believe wishfully pitched by a pack of starving writers?

This blog might as well be about me taking the MBTA to my ballet class. At least I can count on it happening under all sorts of weather and economic conditions. So, here’s today’s story. I am just going to tell it and you decide what to file it under.

I left my cell phone at home today–to still my mind and all that. Well, it turns out my mind is not so easily conquered after all. And when not quelled by email, texts or Facebook, it can act unpredictably.

So, I get on the train and find myself staring at some guy’s shoes. Next thing I know, he is offering me his seat. I say “wow, that’s nice” while my mind gets busy figuring out what possessed him to give up his seat. I am a healthy 42. Not pregnant and don’t look it. I check him out again and I notice something strange. He is dressed in business clothes, but he is not carrying a briefcase.

“You are dressed in business clothes, but you are not carrying a briefcase,” I say.

“I used to,” he says, “I don’t need it now. It’s all digital.”

I ask him what he does for a living, and he breaks into his life story. Software engineer. Graduated from Wentworth. Has been bouncing from job to job ever since. Law firms, biotechs. The lay-offs have caught up with him everywhere. Now with a software development firm downtown. No job security? Oh, no. You’ve got to fight to keep your job. Only 40 percent of work is work. The rest is backstabbing and politics. Still, you have to focus on work. If you do your job right, everything else falls into place. But you have to be careful. Know what the other guy is thinking. And whatever happens, stay positive. As soon as you let your emotions get the better of you, you have nothing to fall back on. Don’t blame anybody. Look forward to going to work every day. You cannot afford to have a bad day.

And I thought I had it rough!

The Valley of Death

In the summer of ’04, there wasn’t much to tip me off about the impending fate of Judie and Jim’s start-up, by then a 15-year old venture running exclusively on government  funds.  Nothing, except maybe a worn-out look on Judie’s face, a look that I promptly ascribed to the “elderly scientist” type, not knowing Judie’s real age or character. Nor were there any signs of great devastation five years later, after the drama had played out.  A Google search turned up the name of a CEO I didn’t recognize, a few misleadingly optimistic press releases, and a company website link that led nowhere…

I spent the summer between my first and second year of business school doing market research out of Judie’s old lab in Ann Arbor. It was a bright, cubicle-free space occupied by two post-docs, an occasional lab technician, and two MBA-interns, myself included. The post docs, Carrie and Scott, each being half of a gay couple, and 2004 being an election year, the conversations cycled around the trials of unconventional marriage and Kerry’s chances at presidency. Don and I listened quietly  and timidly interrupted with questions about basic science.

“Commercializing new technologies” was the catch phrase of the day.  The world was full of scientists building companies, companies buying patents, and MBAs, like Don and myself, busily crunching numbers to price all these companies and technologies. Perhaps Judie’s story was no different than millions of others — a  mixture of normal, everyday affairs and utter heartbreak, that always catches us off-guard.  A tragedy built into the due course of business.

In retrospect, Judie’s story is not about anyone’s misbehaving, gaming the system, or ignoring the obvious. On the contrary, it’s about people steadfastly and unswervingly keeping to their duties, as they saw them at the time. To understand the outcome, to really see beyond individual choices and wholesale pronouncements on the human condition, one needs to consider the normal course of action for each of the players, as well as the institutions that sustain and encourage them.

Judie is a biochemist. She understands how cells work. She can spy on your cells to find out what they are up to – before you notice any changes in your body. Judie is married to Jim who is a physicist.  Jim designs optical instruments – cellular spyware of sorts – that transmits and magnifies the signal in the cells to make it apparent to the human eye.

One day Judie says to Jim: “Wouldn’t it be nice if every woman had a little device in her bathroom that told her whether or not she would get pregnant if she made love in the next twenty-four hours?” Upon hearing these words, a first-year MBA would have calculated unit profit margin times the available market.  A seasoned business type would  have asked insightful questions to see whether Judie and Jim’s idea was ripe for a deal. Judie did what a scientist does. She wrote a grant. And the world being what it was back then, her grant application was accepted. Judie and Jim set to work on their idea with a newly formed company and half a million dollars of government money.

The test kit came through according to plan.  But designing the optics to fit a bathroom-sized gadget proved tricky.  When the money ran out, Judie and Jim still didn’t have the device they had in mind.

Judie wrote a second grant.  This time for women undergoing hormone replacement therapies.  The device would measure how a woman’s hormonal balance was changing in the course of menopause, so that a doctor could prescribe individualized treatment to restore it to the pre-menopausal levels.  The second grant, close to a million dollars, funded a device with similar enough biochemistry and the same optical needs as the original project.

Both projects were concluded successfully. The only problem: the optical device that took $1.5 million to develop would cost $2,000 a piece to manufacture and sell.  At this price, women’s bathrooms moved decisively out of reach. And Judie was left with a product that looked fine and worked well that no one was willing to buy.

Judie’s first move was to offer her invention to the fertility clinics. The clinics performed similar testing using reference labs. A real-time device would benefit the women waiting for treatment, but would disrupt the established process in the clinic and bring no material gain.  The clinics said “no”.

Just at that time Judie and Jim’s son, John, started researching xeno-estrogens – environmental pollutants that act like the female hormone estrogen, threatening infertility in women and feminization of men. Mutant snails and fish in Lake Apopka in Florida made headlines. The Congress heard a testimony about alligators losing inches off their penises. The times seemed auspicious for environmental research. Judie partnered with Jim Wittliff, an authority on genetically engineered estrogen receptors, to develop a test for detecting xeno-estrogens in ground water and soil. Together, they travelled the country raising awareness of the environmental damage. Two more grants to test for alpha and the newly discovered beta-estrogens.

Judie was ready to validate her assay with large-scale environmental tests. But she was running out of money again. The genetically engineered yeast made by grad students in Dr. Wittliff’s lab was expensive to mass produce to supply the tests.  In early 2000, Judy got verbal assurances from the EPA to sponsor the testing.

In November, anti-regulation George W. Bush defeated the environmentalist Al Gore in the closest election in the US history.  Suddenly, the EPA had no money for the tests.  And Judie and Jim once again ended up with a product no one wanted. “I honestly think Jim went into a full-scale depression as a direct result of Bush winning the elections,” Judie said.

She resolved to keep the company alive until the next election.  She wrote another grant, once again changing the focus of her research from xeno-estrogens to general immune function disruptors in the environment.  She knew that her assays could never be deployed on a large scale under the Bush administration, but she could work on the science in the anticipation of better times.

In the meantime, Judie’s old friend, Dr. Wittliff discovered a protein in breast tumors that blocked estrogen receptors. Judie’s device measured the presence of these proteins in the tumor tissue – predicting whether the drug targeting estrogen receptors would be effective against the tumor.

Judie wrote a grant and “performed beautifully” demonstrating the predictive value of her assay.  She could now apply for the phase two of the breast cancer research grant – but that would be the last of the SBIR money she could go after. Even the government had its limits. If you said you were building a business, you had to sell something to somebody at some point.

Bush got reelected in 2004.

Judie had to get private funding or close shop. After eliminating environmental labs (not interested) and academic researchers (too few) as potential buyers, Judie spent the last of her grant money on market research into medical applications.

“Medical market is cut-throat,” she learned.  “You have to launch from a niche market that’s too small for the big boys.”

She found an opportunity in the para-thyroid surgery. The device would measure the patient’s hormone levels in the operating room, cutting the surgery time by hours it took for the sample to be sent to the lab while the patient lay on the table with his throat cut open. A nice niche product to get into the hospital, then move on to the big time – cardiac surgery.

This was a “solid, good looking business plan” that got Judie venture funding from the state of Michigan to assemble a team of executives to impress the venture capitalists. With her new seed money counting a couple of million, Judie hired Business Development – an ex-hippie scientist with an MBA and a garage band.  Richard cut off his ponytail to uphold the solemnity of his new office and spent many hours on the phone with corporate development teams and venture capitalists – but always had time for Don and myself to trade stories.

Armed with a full time BD, an occasional market strategist, and a three-person advisory board, Judie began her rounds of the VC circuit. A new era dawned for Judie.  Her life, quiet and studious up to that point, turned into a never-ending cocktail party. She flew around the country non-stop. She remembers stepping off an airplane and realizing she had no idea where she was. The rest is a blur of presentations, receptions, and waiting for the follow-up calls.

Cocktail receptions always made her uneasy. She felt there was a code she didn’t understand. She never knew how she did. Her presentations went well. She could always count on a follow-up and maybe a board meeting with the investors. But that was it. “Not our area of expertise” or “we found better opportunities” was the sum total of her efforts.

What did she do wrong?

Judie attended an NIH workshop for scientists seeking venture funding.  Lies 101 for scientists. No, that’s not what they called it. But the message was clear. Business people select and manipulate the facts. What do you mean you are not sure what it would take to get the FDA approval? Do you want to get funded or not? Investors discount everything they hear by an exaggeration factor. If you start with the truth, what would they think your real deal is?

The NIH advice left Judie less comfortable than before. Hide what part? Exaggerate how much?

It didn’t pan out.

She came closer to reaching a deal with First of Michigan than she did with the others. But after a year of meetings and negotiations, they too turned her away.  Through the consultant who tried to broker the deal, Judie got a bit of the inside scoop. They didn’t like the BD. Came across as unfocused. Didn’t contribute to her credibility as a business leader.

It broke Judie’s heart to deliver the news to Richard. He left the company without a word. But Judie was none the happier for his departure.

She had been pitching her business for three years. The experience left her feeling inadequate and disheartened. Her health declined.  Maybe it wasn’t a woman’s job.  Maybe it wasn’t a scientist’s job. Whatever it was, it clearly wasn’t in her genes to bring her product to market. Judie decided to replace both Richard and herself with a professional CEO. The board was aghast but Judie insisted. The job posting went out to entrepreneurial message boards and executive search firms.

It was no walk in the park. The big money wasn’t there. On top of that, the domain expertise, the fundraising record, the liberal spirit and a focused but adaptable mind Judie wanted weren’t easy to come by for any amount of money.

The board’s leading candidate was an instant turn-off. When he heard that Judie and Jim charged healthcare premiums in proportion to each employee’s salary, he called them socialists. But Judie was eager to strike a deal. She compromised and hired him in as interim CEO. His first order of business was to change the healthcare policy, lowering his own premium and raising everyone else’s to make it “flat.”

His next move was to hire a CFO. At a salary, somewhat below his own but far above Judie and Jim’s, the new CFO changed the books so that Judie could no longer tell what was happening to the money.  The board enthusiastically approved.

Image was next on the agenda. The new CEO changed the logo and the colors on the company’s website, hiring marketing consultants and liberally spending Judie’s hard-earned grand money. “Why do business people always make more than PhD scientists?”

Judie continued to travel.  She gave the same talk that always got her a follow-up call, only now she had the new colors in her PowerPoint deck and the new brochures in her briefcase. The CEO travelled with her. They started to warm up to each other. They shared stories. Both were nerds growing up. Judie went to his daughter’s wedding and gave him herbs for his kidney stone.

They were pitching smaller investor groups now, and it seemed to be going well.  Early in 2008, Judie got a verbal commitment from a venture capital fund.  The VCs moved ahead with the due diligence and the CEO touted the “win” all over the web.  Then came September 2008 and the market crashed. The investors pulled money out of the fund.  The state pulled the funding too, which was contingent upon securing venture capital. The phase II of the breast cancer grant never came through because Judie had switched the research to focus on the thyroid market.

Judie’s business was flat out broke.  The scientific reviews were glowing, but the government was no longer supportive.  In 19 years Judie has not “commercialized” anything. Jim and Judie were ready to quit, but the CEO convinced them to keep going without paying cash. As salaries and the rent accrued, the company went into debt, becoming less attractive to the remaining investors by the minute. There were no meeting for months on end. The staff found new jobs. Jim, Judie, a lab assistant, CEO and CFO were all that remained.

Then somebody made contact with Microdose.

Microdose was a one man show. Looking to invest the money he made in energy drinks. Disliked venture capitalists. Anti-establishment all-around. Did things his own way and got away with it. He and Judie hit it off right away. He wrote a tentative agreement the way he did everything – in his own words, on his own terms.

The board and CEO had a field day. Over Judie’s loud protests, the CEO hired a “hot-shot lawyer who cost a fortune”, to rewrite the agreement.  Because, he argued, the investor was clearly about to “screw” them.

Bulletproof agreement in hand, the CEO walked into the meeting room treating the investor like a pickpocket. Predictably, the meeting was a disaster. While the CEO was playing hardball (“like we were in a great position to play hardball”), Judie was looking for a place under the table to hide.

The deal was off.  But Microdose wasn’t the type to hide behind “better opportunities.” After the meeting Judie got a phone call from her last chance investor. He likes Judie, but could never get along with her CEO. “What if he were to leave the company?” she asked. Microdose would reconsider.

Judie went to the CEO. This was the second time she had to fire a team member on the investors’ orders. Only this time the response would be much different. The CEO always did the same thing – played hardball. Besides, his pride was hurt. His contract had a “golden parachute”. If Judie wanted him off the team, Judie must pay in full.

The only person who could pay was Microdose who was already footing all the bills.  He offered to pay the CEO’s accrued salary. Refused. He raised the offer to include some of the golden parachute. Refused again. The patent fees came due on five of Judie and Jim’s patents. Microdose pulled the plug and the patents expired. Game over. “Look,” he said to Judie in his Microdose no-nonsense way, “it’s not that I can’t afford to pay, I just don’t want that asshole to get that much money.”

The CEO got nothing.  “I think he believed until the end that it was a game and if he just stood firm and played hardball he would win. And so he just stood there and played hardball right as we went off the cliff…”

“Twenty years of our lives tending to every detail, so that the technology would do its job reliably. And it never got to do its job. They call it the valley of death, the place between SBIR grants and venture funding. So many companies never make it through.”

As the pressure of funding the business was mounting, Judie’s body gave in. She nearly died—twice—while running the company. But she survived. And so did the company, for twenty years. She had rewarding collaborations. She built a great place to work. Her people got trained, and moved on to better jobs, they couldn’t  have had before. Her business was a success, all the way until the end.

“If I were twenty years younger, knowing what I know now, I would try again,” says Judie who does look much younger than she did back in 2004. Her health is back.  She is now teaching biochemistry to 12-graders. She writes songs and plays to explain how different chemicals behave in the cell. Some play nice and some play hardball. Some stay attached and some move around… “Kids come to our school from all over the country,” she says, “some travel from as far as Hawaii.”

July 7, 2011 – December 21, 2012

Ann Arbor – Boston

from The Secret To Marketing Success On Facebook? Advertise Like Your Grandfather

BY E.B. Boyd | 06-11-2012 | 8:26 AM

Six traditional criteria for advertising creative: Whether the ad has a focal point, how strong its brand link is (ie: how easy it was to identify who the advertiser was), how well the tone of the ad fits with the brand’s personality, how noticeable the ad is, how effective it is at getting its point across, and whether there is a “reward” for reading it (ie: Did it make you feel good? Did you learn something?).

The biggest change from an office job to free-lancing has nothing to do with time or money or freedom or self-discipline or running your own business.  Those are obvious but peripheral consequences of a fundamental shift in your values.  This shift, most likely, is the real reason behind your move to free-lancing — or, at least, it should be for you to have any chance of success.  What is it? Creativity is now more important than productivity.  No, one doesn’t replace the other.  You had to be somewhat creative in the office and you still need to be productive at home.  They simply change the order of importance — with the most drastic consequences for your worldview and work habits!

You know something’s up when you have interviewed your client, done your research, cleared your schedule, and are sitting at your laptop looking around for some pencils to sharpen — utterly unable to come up with the first sentence. What happened? Where’s the ecstasy of creative flow?  Will you finish your draft before your next appointment?

A concert pianist once told me that inspiration was for amateurs.  At the time, I thought he was being fashionably cynical.  Now I know he was speaking from the heart.  If you deal in creativity, you need to learn where creativity is and how it moves.  You need to put it on payroll and coordinate schedules.  In other words, you need to know who what when how and why engages or defeats your creative thinking. And once you know, you need to obey it down to the most capricious detail.

Wow!  That’s different from being assigned a cubicle and given a stack of reports to work on and a pad of yellow sticky notes to yell at myself when I got off track.

So, what works when you are one on one with a creative project, a not-so-creative deadline, and a vague expectation of greatness within the ordinary means?  There is a professor at Emerson that carries in his pockets a set of bizarre gadgets and draws a lot of empty circles to get your mind off the beaten track.  He is good, if you can afford his consulting fees.  Else find your own trick.  Here are a couple of things that always help me:

Speak up.  Nothing kills your creativity faster than unspoken resentment. Maybe the client has turned down your pet idea. Or maybe he surprised you with one of his own. Whatever they are, put your preferences and reservations on the table.  The more subjective, the better.  That’s how you know it’s the “real” you, the creative one, that’s doing the talking. You may not get your way, but you will feel much better knowing that your ideas have been heard and discussed. Bottom line, if your creative side is not invited to client meetings, don’t expect it to cooperate in the back office. Funny thought: I would hardly need to teach this rule to my 11-year old — but, after being a corporate yes-woman for some twenty odd years, I had to learn how to invite my<true>self to important meetings.

Warm up. You don’t start your yoga class with a head-stand.  You use at least half of the class to warm up to your peak form in order to attempt advanced poses.  I (and the Emerson prof too) noticed that creative muscles work similarly.  Remember Stephen Covey and whatever number habit it was to attack the most important and urgent item on your list first? Scratch that now. You know you want to. When it comes to creative work, I give myself permission to put off high-pressure, difficult tasks until I am ready. What if, you ask, I spend all day warming up? Well, pressure just isn’t a writer’s best friend. When you give yourself a break, you’d be surprised how little it takes to get going.

The Age of The Writer

Just as the advent of the steam engine had ushered in the age of the heavy manufacturer which had lasted through (or precipitated??) both world wars, and the manufacturer manufactured all kinds of machinery and introduced the age of the engineer, and the engineer engineered a computer and installed the age of the programmer, and the programmer programmed the worldwide web, and social networks, and publishing sites, and reading devices, and a curious urge to share something with the world has invaded the most practical of heads and busiest of hands:

The Content!

The content of your mind that is, suddenly in demand to populate the vast infrastructure of virtual networks.  But one more step is needed.  Someone needs to extract original memories and opinions, separate them from the self-serving and the stereotyped, give them an attractive form, and enter them into digital media:

The Writer!

The underemployed and underachieving writer who, since the death of the Last Great Novelist, has ingloriously performed these tasks in a small circle of friends out of pure idleness of his heart, has been called upon to fulfill his generation.  And so, before intellectual nutritionists start demanding raw content, declaring professional writing too toxic for our hunter-gatherer minds, ladies and gentlemen, we may at last have upon us the Age of the Mass Writer.

In the anticipation of which this whole piece has been written as un-grammatically as necessary to make its key point: this is our time and we make the rules!