This made me think of two things:

1. Waves 1 and 3 have relied upon third party platforms and technology. Wave 1 in particular is highly at risk from the volatile social media landscape, with Twitter and Facebook feeling like they're about to shift into something else entirely (that might be far less useful), and TikTok making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Cultural orgs have spent a decade and many talented social media managers building these platforms, which might turn out to have been positioned on quicksand.

2. At the same time as all this, and related to my first point, all of the tech companies have been encroaching on the cultural space. Google creating a library, and spaces to show museums and exhibitions online. Amazon upending the book world. Facebook (ineptly) trying to commandeer new cultural platforms like VR. Microsoft, MidJourney and others literally techifying the creation of art with AI generative text and images and undermining the creators at the heart of it all.

Feels sometimes like we've been desperately trying to get back onto a bit of floating wreckage that's far too small for us, while there are sharks circling in the water. And the only way to safety is to get on a rescue boat that's built by the sharks.

I may have stretched that metaphor too far.

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This is a really interesting article. My work experienced the same attendance drop out rate went from around 40% to 60% drop out for free events. We had to really think differently about how to get a lot more people to sign up and ultimately more paid ad spend (particularly specialist newsletters) and directly email people and organisations we thought might be interested has worked so far.

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