Creativity of the Crowd: The Johnny Cash Project

When we launched Society Matters almost two years ago, we asked a simple question:

What might five million people be able to accomplish together
as a networked community that they could never accomplish alone?

Our belief was, and still is…

… that the National Geographic Society will survive and thrive only as a Society.

… that John Fahey, CEO of National Geographic, needs to articulate, often and in public, a good reason for people to belong to the Society. (Sadly, he remains silent.)

… that people yearn not only to consume, but to create.

… that watching the “adventure” (and all the ads) is not as much fun as living the adventure.

… that serving up more information (the “killer app,” says NGM Editor Chris Johns) is a lousy business model when information is everywhere — and mostly free.


… that photographs of cheetahs pale beside the real thing.

We’re not saying inspiring millions of people is easy. But we are saying we can do much better than asking folks to pay $5 for the privilege of “uploading a photo of your little kitty.”

Which brings us to The Johnny Cash Project. It is a brilliant, passionate, crowdsourced tribute to The Man in Black. It’s also a stunning example of what National Geographic could accomplish if its executives would publicly acknowledge the obvious:

The center of gravity in the publishing world has shifted.
More cheetah pictures will not be our Society’s salvation.
But National Geographic’s 4 million members might be.

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.