Written by Mu
Edited by Scribble
Without internet or even the daily newspaper our parents could rely on, we are forced to find out what is going on the old fashioned way; radio, word of mouth, and our trusty WWW (i.e., the What Where When Guide). Numerous staff members, volunteers and fellow burners put an immense amount of effort in creating all these different information sources about the event and how to have the most awesome experience possible.
While we at the Census, in typical nerd fashion, download the events calendar, a.k.a., the What Where When Guide, a month in advance and plan our Burn minute-by-minute, most of you do not. In fact, only a quarter of us look at it pre-event. At the same time, two-thirds use it at the event and most of us keep it for a souvenir, mine is typically worn to shreds by then end and only fit to be burned. Though even after painstakingly putting together our calendar, we still toss it aside once on Playa and wander around for serendipitous encounters, checkout things to do at Playa Info; or tuning into BMIR for the latest riffs and happenings. Then we wake up the next morning, look around and and grab the WWW Guide and start a new day.
In the absence of World Wide Web on-Playa, most participants found the WWW “Very” or “Extremely” useful.
With very few commercial radio stations accessible on Playa and the sound camps segregated to the edges of the city, in steps BMIR and a full dial of on Playa broadcast choices. Burning Man Information radio (http://www.bmir.org/) has been a fixture at BM since 2000, providing the “Voice of the Man” to anyone with a FM radio or internet connection. It’s unmissable as you walk by the loudspeakers on your way to Center Camp, but over 88% listen to this great resource on Playa from their radios. Interestingly, over 25% are listening to BMIR from their mobiles on the road to and from the event, making it a constant burner companion.
Off-Playa, our options for finding out about Burning Man are greatly expanded. Jack Rabbit Speaks proves to be most popular. Word of Mouth from fellow Burners tends to the next most popular source at 90%. Then there is all the social media, the Burning Man website and everything else.
People leverage all of these great off-Playa resources with different ends in mind. We mainly want to see pictures and hear about BM Events. However, given how complex surviving in the desert is and the lengths people go to radically self-express, radically self-rely and radically participate, it isn’t surprising that information concerning preparing for the event is useful to 44% of us, newbies and veterans alike.
What this emphasizes is the thriving mix of the Burner resources, leveraging both sources of information supplied by the org as well as the community itself in nearly equal proportions, reflecting the nature of Burning Man that is not a festival produced for spectators but an event co-created from organizers and participants.