Please welcome our friend, An Inconvenient Ruth (AIR): wife, mother, pickle ball aficionado, and — we kid you not — publicist for both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. She refers to herself professionally, and unprofessionally, as The Santa Wrangler. AIR is also a word maven and has volunteered her services to the MH editorial staff. We love volunteers, and we also love that, with her on staff, we are no longer Ruth-less.
When I was recently called up to become the first female contributor on Medium Happy, I was Average Glad ™. Although I knew I’d be joining a rock star cast of writers including John Walters, Bill Hubbell and the ubiquitous Oz, there were a few contractual issues standing in my way. First, the thought of attending mandatory Medium Happy staff meetings in burlesque halls was off-putting.
Then I realized that suggesting an alternate outpost could backfire, landing me in settings like The Tilted Kilt or Twin Peaks Brewery.
And while I try to stay abreast of sports, pop culture and the stock market, those aren’t exactly the topics flowing through my veins in my day job as a publicist for a wide swath of fictitious characters. (Yes, Virginia, my clients are merely figments of the imagination.)
Last, there was the small matter of the sliding pay scale. On the plus side, the editors made it clear it wasn’t about the word count. It was about what I chose to do with them. Once I realized I could contribute something of intrinsic value (without actually receiving intrinsic value in return), I knew I’d found my happy medium!
Ergo, I will attempt to define something I’m passionate about: words plucked from my daily Sub-Urban Dictionary. The kind of words that can win fiends and influence papal. This week, I’m coming straight out of the gate with a word of great complexity.
‘Stickiness’ has become the Kate Upton of digital-speak gurus everywhere. In recent weeks, I’ve participated in digital and mobile strategy sessions from Indianapolis to Boston in which the terms ‘sticky’ and ‘stickiness’ were liberally bandied about. And while most everyone in the room nodded their heads in agreement (and others nodded off) the neophytes among us were silently thinking the same thing: “Is he talking about the ‘m’ that’s stuck on my keyboard?”
Sticky Fingers brings to mind the 1971 Rolling Stones album that spawned classic tunes such as “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses”. Forty-one years later, in the truest sense of the word, that album is still sticky. Yet, while a rolling stone gathers no moss (very unsticky), the Rolling Stones might just be the stickiest rock band of all time.
Ironically, Lionel Ritchie’s “Stuck On You” never made it to No. 1 and thus, considering his track record… of records… that became No. 1 hits, is relatively unsticky.
When Robert Mitchum met his wife Dorothy, he recalled “I took one look at her and said, ‘This is it. I’ll be back for you. Stick with me kid and you’ll be farting through silk.’” While this quote may not actually help build my case, it’s worth noting that he got the babe. (And she stuck for 57 years.)
If you Google ‘sticky’, you won’t find a one-size-fits-all explanation that’s better than this one, penned by E.B. White:
The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.
And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.
Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.
If you fast-forward to 2012, stickiness might be less about arachnids and more about the interwebs: weaving threads that indelibly connect you to your audience through a variety of platforms and tactics so rich in content, features and organization, the user will feel compelled to stick around for quite a long time and come back often.
Since Malcolm Gladwell coined ‘The Stickiness Factor’ in “The Tipping Point” a dozen years ago, the glue has taken hold. He defined it as a unique quality that allows a phenomenon to ‘stick’ in the minds of the public and influence their behavior. And since it’s never enough, we are constantly inventing new ways to become even stickier, from geo-fencing to sticky threads, hyperlinks and devices designed to capture the name of your dog’s favorite musician.
I have a song in mind that even Lucy the Labrador retriever will like:
–An Inconvenient Ruth (AIR)