Sticky Meetings in a Spray-Glue World

He's an 'expert on Web stuff,' computer scientist and artist John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, told the digitalNOW audience earlier this month at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

John Maeda, speaking at digitalNow

A little bit of an expert: Maeda has been so influential in the design and development of the Web, in fact, that Esquire magazine named Maeda to its list of the 75 most important people in the 21st century.

At digitalNow, when Maeda was asked about how best to use the Web to communicate,  the designer talked about … glue. There’s Elmer’s glue, he said, which is hard to use and takes forever to dry. And there’s spray glue, which is fast-drying and easy to use.

“I like to think of Elmer’s Glue as old-fashioned relationship-building — shaking someone’s hand, having a drink or having dinner,” Maeda said. “Spray glue is like Facebook or Twitter: ‘I’ve got like a thousand followers! I’ve got all these friends!’ When you use spray glue to glue a piece of paper, what happens? It begins to fall off. It un-peels. Elmer’s Glue — once it dries, it’s stuck.”

John Maeda, left, in conversation at digitalNow

In the future, the advantage will go to organizations, “that are very Elmer’s Glue-y.”  Ones “that have mastered the art of that [personal] connection point, but augment it with a sufficient understanding of a spray-glue world.”

“I can’t help but wonder if organizations that have this ability, not to be the best at being on the Web, but the best at using place are the ones that actually are going to win.”

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.