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Clay Shirky: The Downside Of Attending To Fans

Lately, I’ve been re-reading Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky and found this quote to be simple, yet revealing. Considering how much artists are encouraged to attend to their fans, engage them, and address their concerns; it’s often left out of the conversation how much time this really takes. Now, I’m not one who buys the 'artists-should-just-be-artists business,' but I think it’s worth noting that, in attending to fans, it's not simply time spent away from art. On the larger scale, as Shirky implies, connecting with fans could mean getting nothing done at all.

image from comnetwork.org "The downside of attending to the emotional life of groups is that it can swamp the ability to get anything done; a group can become more concerned with satisfying its members than with achieving its goals." - Clay Shirky


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