TreeHugging Inside the Box

The most gratifying thing for a writer or thinker is to see other people implement his ideas – and in ways he didn’t imagine himself. Here’s a post on MediaEnvironment, applying Get Back in the Box to Treehuggers:

Since this week we’ll be looking at strategic communication in the context of environmental media and business, I thought I’d spend this post looking at these forces through the prism of a wonderful book called Get Back in the Box by noted writer, lecturer, theorist Douglas Rushkoff of NYU. The main premise of the book is that business is so obsessed with out-of-the-box thinking and increasingly interruptive marketing that they have become divorced from what Rushkoff calls their “core competencies.” In other words, they don’t actually do the thing they do. Instead of pouring money into research and development companies divert funds to strategic campaigns or hire outside consultants to reimagine their enterprise rather than actually trying to make something good and useful – something that has value and solves real needs. In terms of environmental media, treehugger seems to be a textbook example of an online mediaspace that embodies the power of what Rushkoff calls “social currency.” Treehugger has been wildly successful because it offers a place where passionately involved members can go to pursue a common interest. Treehugger content itself, to use Rushkoff’s words, is a “medium for interaction.” Treehugger marketing and strategic communication may have helped their awareness level, but it was Treehugger’s own competency as a marketplace for interaction, education, and subtle activism that made it valuable to people. Treehugger is a good website and that’s why people visit it. That seems naively simple, but it’s a surprisingly elusive concept for many in business to grasp.

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