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Grant McCracken

July 16, 2013 by Speakers' Spotlight

Grant McCracken Vows To Do Whatever You Tweet Him To Do

Leading Cultural Anthropologist Grant McCracken looks at the places where culture and commerce, anthropology and economics meet. But today he is doing something altogether different in the name of cultural observation and participation:

Tweet Grant McCracken–@Grant27–something wacky to do on Tuesday, as long as it’s legal and moral, there’s a decent chance that he’ll do it.

No matter how weird.

McCracken, 62, who is a cultural anthropologist, author of Chief Cultural Officer and Culturematic, and who has taught at University of Cambridge, MIT, and the Harvard Business School, will, in his own words, “put myself on automatic pilot” while visiting San Francisco on Tuesday.

Arguably, many people visiting San Francisco are on some form of autopilot, but McCracken who lives in Rowayton, Conn., with his wife and three cats, and who consults for big companies on our cultural quirks – figures the best way to consult on culture is to immerse himself into it. So, he says, on Tuesday, “I will do whatever folks tweet me to do.”

Ours is a culture that loves to watch people do weird stuff — particularly when we’re the ones telling them to do it. Think of this, perhaps, as the Twitter-fication of the “Subservient Chicken” that Burger King launched on its Web page way back in 2004 – where a man in a chicken costume did what folks asked him to do via interactive webcam.

Got a doozie for McCracken? Folks with suggestions should tweet them to @grant27 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. He’s got about 11,000 Twitter followers. He’s also got a student filming everything he does on Tuesday and McCracken promises to tweet the results, text and photos, with the hashtag #autoanthro.

“I haven’t quite figured out how best to capture and sequence the requests,” he says. ” I can’t promise to do everything that is proposed. But I’ll try. I will. Feel free to embarrass me. I believe myself to be one ill-chosen word away from social catastrophe.”

USA Today/July 16, 2013