Tom Hanks was in town last week to give a talk about his new novel. As he walked out onto the stage, people clapped and got their phones out to take a picture. The security staff and ushers swarmed the aisles telling people not to take photos. The commotion lasted about 5 minutes before everything settled down and the program got underway.
Why no pictures? It was just a curtain, two chairs, a table with the book displayed, Tom Hanks and the person discussing the book with him. The point of doing book talks is to generate a buzz and get more people to buy the book. And social media is a great way for people to share a picture and get the word out. The old rules seem to be at odds with the new way of marketing.
There’s probably some explanation for why this tradition is still in place. But sometimes old rules stick around because no-one challenges them and updates them for the current environment. And that leads to suboptimal performance.