Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

02 October 2013

NMA responds to Marina Shifrin's quit vid: why it's worth sharing. BONUS: an update on me.

I just saw the rebuttal video that NMA produced in response to Marina Shifrin's epic I-quit vid. It provided a lot of thinking juice.

Marina's video started a worthy discussion about what it means to go viral. I really like Benoît Raphaël's distillation (sorry, it's in French): that she suffers from a culture that's increasingly less about creativity and more about numbers, a familiar refrain in any creative career. But Benoît also points out that creativity and viral ambitions are not mutually exclusive; the problem Next Media Animation has is that it's a victim of having produced what, at the time, was an innovative model, and it's spent the last three years beating that horse dead.

NMA's rebuttal drove me to this article on Gawker, where a spokesman speaks honestly about Marina's departure and how it affected the company, and invites people to ask questions about how things really go on at NMA. I won't defend what he says about its 9-to-5 policy, overtime compensation or the trips and opportunities they offered Marina over the course of her time there. Departures are complex; there is never really one reason, or even two, and anyway we can't really know how she lived that professional experience.

But it was nonetheless heartfelt, worthy of reading, and it got me thinking about our responsibility in the viral equation. Questions of creativity and numbers (primarily producer/client concerns) aside, we also endorse and condemn when we share without taking a second to think about the complete ramifications of that small, not-so-trivial act.

Here's my full reflection on that. I hope you'll read it because I think it's worth a look.

Onto the personal (the UNCENSORED!, if you will). I don't write here much anymore, and there are lots of reasons for that, but here are the big ones:
  •  I'm doing more strategy work lately, which I really love
  • It's been a long time since I've been able to sit and distill whatever it is I'm experiencing
A few years ago I was doing the hardcore-blogger loop: 16-20 articles a day under tight deadlines. Like Marina, the people responsible for publishing my material put me under a lot of pressure to perform under growing demand, with fewer and fewer resources. It was around that time that writing started to feel less like a calling than a chore, and that I started seriously thinking about exiting the will-blog-for-food lifestyle.

Online blog/journalism is thankless, ephemeral and robotic; I've critiqued ads and written long articles that I don't even remember because my output was so high. So I decided to change course: focusing more on teaching companies how to express themselves online, building fulfilling and meaningful identities, instead of pumping words out at an Olympic pace.

I'm finally at the point where I do more strategy than blogging (although I do still copywrite, which is simultaneously more creative and more chill). But I miss taking the time to synthesise what I'm seeing and experiencing. It's an important activity, both for me and for people who care about the media, tech and ad industries. So I'm hoping that eventually I'll write more — and more importantly, to write things worth reading.

There are small, sporadic moments when I'll succeed — like today. And like today, I'll share those moments with you. I hope those moments become more frequent, and that you go on reading.

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