“Arachnophilia: Reformed Canabalistic Spiders Teach PR Pros Altruism”


Lake Tawokoni State Park rangers Mike McCord, left, and Freddie Gowin check out a giant spider web at the park.

Texas had one helluva rainy season this past summer and the spiders are LUVIN it. Instead of their usual solitary orbs, the spiders are spinning one giant, all-encompassing web. Various species of arachnids have come together to form communities, catch some buzz and then share files flies. Entomologists are rushing to be the first to dub this new era “Web 2.0.”

Sound familiar?

In his Dallas Morning News article, reporter James Hohman says experts believe the giant spider web–found just 50 miles east of my happy birthplace, Dallas–was created due to an abundance of food:

“Normally they are cannibalistic and their webs are separated,” said Allen Dean, a Texas A&M University entomologist who examined 250 specimens collected at the site along a trail at Lake Tawakoni State Park. “They live in harmony because there’s so much food available.”

Wow?! A vast supply of food, huh? Do tell more!

“Tetragnathidae are usually solitary spiders who build their own webs and mind their own business,” he said. “Here they are sharing a lot of foundation strands that are all over the place. They don’t have individual webs anymore.”

According to Hohmann, some experts even say “the web represented an evolutionary advancement among arachnids, which typically do not work together.” Sounds like spiders have realized the potential of sharing and using the new web to help get enough bread for everyone.

Now where have I heard that before? Hmmm. Maybe from reporters ushering in the era of social-media or from every progressive PR blogger out there.

Listen, people, in case you don’t know, we are in the (hopefully) beginnings of another tech boom spawned by the growing investment in social media. Silicon Valley is happy. PR peeps are happy. But is everyone feeling the love?

The other day, someone told me I’d finally been brainwashed. Couldn’t I see that all this talk about “open”and “sharing” was just BS? In the end, aren’t we all at war, competing for the same new business? My answer is “jein” (Ya-eyen: German slang compound word formed by joining “ja” yes and “nein” no).

Sure, we do compete for clients, but let’s move our thoughts from spiders for a sec and shift to bands. Bands may be competing for the same gigs, but are they enemies? No. It’s healthy competition and they are all members of a community. They move in and out of each other’s bands. Some collaborate here and then go play drums over there. It’s all chill. It’s a healthy competition. The thing is (back to spiders): It’s rainy season and there are more flies and mosquitoes than there have been in years; we aren’t competing for grub.

Ok, ok. I wasn’t doing PR during the (eek) last bubble burst, but I’ve heard stories. Yeah, it sounds horrible, but we have to dwell in the moment.

Closed-systems, hording and cannibalism leave firms isolated and alone. Let’s evolve, learn the new system, spin webs together and share the benefits. Who knows, maybe during the next dry spell, after the wind has blown Web 2.0 away and the surplus of flies are all gone, we can take a little of what we learned with us.

“The continuing number of egg sacks suggests high productivity, as biologists say,” Mr. Quinn noted. “The females are fat and happy so to speak. They have done well so far by laying so many eggs that the spiders continue to prosper.”

Time to prosper indeed. It’s a community! Let’s exchange ideas and all eat our fill. It’s an exciting time in history. The ways people are consuming media (text, audio, video) are changing, and I’m pretty excited about being a part of that.

Some might call me an idealist. Maybe I’ve had too much SHIFT Kool-Aid. But I’m happy and, like any spider with a belly full of flies, I’m productive and growing.

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Filed under New Media Masters., Public Relations 2.0, Rants, Sharing is Caring

2 responses to ““Arachnophilia: Reformed Canabalistic Spiders Teach PR Pros Altruism”

  1. Great post.

    What flavor is the SHIFT Kool-Aid?

  2. I think the SHIFT Kool-aid tastes more like Tropical Mango AM Gatorade.

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