(Disclaimer: I am now entering the conference presentations and job applications seasons of the year, so my number of posts may be lower than they had been. I have 4-5 ideas for posts that just need to be written, and I will hopefully get to those soon.)
In Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky sings the praises of the opportunities that are possible with Web 2.0 that were previously impossible. Just recently I witnessed one of these things.
A few years ago, Donald Miller wrote a book called Blue Like Jazz. This was not your normal book. It wasn’t a self-help book, it wasn’t a biography, it was really just a collection of stories about a guy trying to figure out what it looks like to strive to be in a relationship with Christ in the midst of this post-Christian world we live in. It was wildly popular and sold very well.
A couple years later, Donald Miller was approached about turning the book into a movie screenplay. With the help of one of the greatest Christian artists of all time, Steve Taylor, they wrote the screenplay, got some financial backers, set the cast, etc., all the things you do to get a movie going. However, they announced in September 2010 that they were $125,000 short from being able to go forward with shooting the film.
A couple of friends of theirs got an idea. If the book was unconventional and the movie was unconventional, why should the funding for the movie be conventional. They signed up with a site called Kickstarter that manages donations, and started the website SaveBlueLikeJazz.com at the end of that month, with the goal of raising $125,000 in 4 weeks, and giving people minor incentives (like getting your name in the credits) for certain levels of donating.
The project went better than anyone could have anticipated. Within 10 days, they had raised the full $125,000. They’re hoping to raise more so they can do more with the film and are over $150,000 raised with nearly 2 weeks before the donation time ends.
This film would not have been possible without the collaborating allowed by Web 2.0. Even just a few years ago, there would have been no way to quickly let massive numbers of fans know that there was a funding issue, let alone how to donate to solve this issue. However, with the possibilities afforded by Web 2.0, people were able to come together and collaborate to accomplish something great. I still am not convinced that Web 2.0 can bring about collective action, but this collaboration is something that I am glad to celebrate!