Online communities also follow Newton’s Third Law

Newton’s Third Law of Motion contends that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I’ve been observing for some time this paradox: The more networked we become, the more we rebel against impersonality. We yearn for ways to connect in the physical space. The latest example is from the shrewd publicity efforts behind Moby’s latest album. New York Magazine reports the following:

He promoted his latest, Wait for Me, by booking a spa so that journalists [including some extremely tech-savvy writers], could listen while getting massages.

How ironic that the way to these journalists’ hearts should be through unkinked necks and loosened shoulders. Not that such novel — and decidedly low-tech — promotions of new albums are particularly new. You may recall the impact that Trent Reznor (a.k.a., Nine Inch Nails) had when he leaked new songs to a pre-release albums through MP3s loaded on USB sticks left in the restrooms of nightclubs. That was more than two years ago. (Here’s an account of that promotion, on MediaPost. Registration is required.)

My take on Moby’s high tech / high touch ploy is simple: If you’re trying to break through the drone of network buzz and isolating keyboarding, look to its extreme opposite.