I’ve named this journal “Test Culture” because of an on-line campaign I was working on where every ad I was making was a ‘test.’ And I thought that was unusual.
“These are all tests? So this is a Test Campaign? A preliminary before the ‘Real’ campaign?”
I thought, ‘this is going to be great! I’m going to make a lot of money off this campaign.’ It was not to be. The ‘test ads’ were the campaign. A Test Campaign. I never quite understood why this particular client called them tests rather than, you know, ads. They ran several of these test campaigns and each one looked like a ‘regular’ campaign.
At some point I realized this practice could be considered a culture. A Test Culture. A culture where nothing was definitive, a seemingly risk free way of doing things where there were no mistakes, only tests.
“We ran these ads and they failed. But that’s ok, they were only tests.” – fictional Ad Exec.
To me, it felt like a method to protect people’s self esteem. These test campaigns were the campaigns. They were tests in name only.
The more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder what this actually meant. You test things to make sure they do what you intend them to do. That’s the test stage. Once they pass the tests, then you go live. You don’t send the proofs out live. However, if you do send the test out live, what are you doing? Are you taking unnecessary chances it’ll do as intended? Are you throwing pasta at a wall, see what sticks? Are you too poor, lazy, incompetent, to run tests? Sounds risky, huh. What would a Test Culture be? Would it be a non-definitive untested establishment willing to throw out non-definitive untested materials on the public… to see what happens?
We’re all stars in the test culture?
I began to see the the phrase Test Culture as representing our culture, as our culture in the United States of America (USOA). This is the Great Experiment, right? Democracy, equal rights, freedom of speech, all that. We are a Test Culture. When I came to that ‘Great experiment’ quote, it started to make sense.
“The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.”
– George Washington
Great Experiment, Test Culture, it’s the same, well to me anyway. Personally, I like the phrase Test Culture because both words have multiple definitions. Plus, we are being tested in this culture, and currently more than ever before. I guess once you pass test culture, you may be ready for real culture.
This journal will address this ‘test’ nature of our USOA culture, or lack of it, in the future in between posts about web gradients and my cats’ grass eating tendencies.