Back In the Saddle

I just returned from a two week vacation in Vancouver, BC and Alaska. It’s the first real vacation I’ve taken in several years and the first and only break I’ve given myself from AdPulp since its inception in October 2004.
While every trip to the Pacific Northwest is filled with natural beauty, one of the more memorable pleasures for me this time was stepping back from the machine. I did check email every few days, make one travel log post on Burnin’ and keep my Flickr page updated but that’s it. The remainder of the time was spent breathing fresh cool air, spotting whales, moose and bear and visiting with friends, old and new, in person.
On the plane yesterday I read Kurt Vonnegut’s final book, A Man Without A Country. He has many interesting things to say about a world gone mad with greed that blinds. He also slips in a wicked critique of online communities.

Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are heare on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different. (page 61-2)

I wouldn’t say “nothing.” But at the same time I am willing to look at myself and the patterns I weave. Danny G. asked recently when enough would be enough when it comes to social networks. I think now’s a good time.
Actually, when I think about social networks, blogs and Web 2.0, I can’t help but see it all as one giant advertising opportunity. Not just for companies, for all involved. Isn’t your MyLinkedFacebook page some sort of new fangled self-promo ad? I believe it is.
Alaska gave me time to think and Vonnegut gave me something to think about. No doubt, I’ll continue to blog and maintain a social profile here and there, but I’m also acutely aware of the need to step back and out and get some balance back in the mix. The tought is if I do less online, I might achieve more offline.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. It’s interesting that when we tear ourselves away from computers and technology that supposedly enhances our lives, the outside world reminds us it’s the simple stuff that’s been around for all eternity which actually makes us whole.
    Social networks are built on blurry truth and dense opacity, no matter how good the intentions. Vonnegut was a smart and cagey man, up until the very end.

  2. Theo Kie,
    I’ve been ruminating on your words above. And on Vonnegut’s.
    As a writer I keep coming back to this thought—printed words on paper (or even better, on hemp) can’t be so easily be extinguished, nor distorted. Nor can “real” friendships.
    Without wanting to become a doomsayer, it is possible that our government could, on one particularly frightening day, pull the plug on the internet. Not lilkely, but possible. We might also run out of cheap electricity, which will put more than a little crimp in our present day style.
    I’m not saying text on the screen is not worth our time, just that it’s good to have backups on disc on and on paper. And another, more analog, means of distribution.