The Paul F. Tompkins 300

Paul F. ThompkinsFriend and coworker @akmayhem pointed me to a blog post by comedian Paul F. Tompkins that bears some repeating.

In it, Tompkins talks about how — via Twitter and Facebook — he may have found a way around the dismal comedy club circuit and made direct connections with fans. He stumbled into it, and it’s not a formal business plan by any means, but he’s basically setting up paying gigs around North America using fans to power the choice of cities and ensuring that his tickets will sell even before he starts any promotion.

The premise: You gather 300 people that will commit to buying tickets and attending the show in your town. I will show up and entertain.

That’s connecting. That’s context. And it’s participatory.

The fans promise support. The artist promises a good show. Everyone gets together. The fans get a far better show because they know, definitively, they share something in common with each other and the artist.  And the artist knows that the fans are really there to see him — they aren’t random ticket winners or other marginally-interested folks — they had to do something tangible to get there (even if it’s something small). It makes for a more intimate event and everyone gets more from the experience than they would via any other means.

I had this kind of experience in my home this past summer, when I hosted a Tweetup and House Concert. It was a fabulous experience.

So what, in public media land, are you doing to connect people, either to you or to each other? What are you doing to make your media palpable, interactive, participatory and “real” for your community?