Incestuous amplification, social media edition
Another quick post on the back of the one I wrote about social media marketing selling itself.
“Back during the early days of the Iraq debacle, I learned that the military has a term for how highly dubious ideas become not just accepted, but viewed as certainties. “Incestuous amplification” happens when a closed group of people repeat the same things to each other – and when accepting the group’s preconceptions itself becomes a necessary ticket to being in the in-group. A fundamentally flawed notion – say, that the Germans can’t possibly attack though the Ardennes – becomes part of what everyone knows, where “everyone” means by definition only people who accept the flawed notion.
We saw that in the run-up to Iraq, where perfectly obvious propositions – the case for invading is very weak, the occupation may well be a nightmare – weren’t so much rejected as ruled out of discussion altogether; if you even considered those possibilities, you weren’t a serious person, no matter what your credentials.” [My emphasis.]
I sense that what Krugman describes above is analogous to what is happening amongst the social media marketing cohort.
The tactical use of the social web as part of a brand’s channel planning and overall digital strategy can be successful. Unfortunately, if the discussion takes place inside a social media marketing echo chamber then much better opportunities may not be realized. If we are looking at one worldview, then we are eliminating all possible horizons. For example, if marketers were to pause for a minute and leave social on the table for later, they may then have time to consider how software shapes narrative and helps tell stories, where engineers are shaping what we all do online, and how those insights may help the brand reach customers in different ways.
There ought not to be one worldview, unless you find yourself hanging out in an incestuously amplified world…
As Iain Tait said in his parting letter upon leaving Wieden + Kennedy, “…I mentioned doing things for brands that take advantage of the ‘connected world’, but what I really want to do with my life is to get closer to the shaping of the connected world. For me that means getting deeper into the shaping of products and services, showing people the life-enhancing potential of technology, and helping to get those things into peoples’ hands.”
Shaping, connecting, getting deeper – products, services, technology and software, shaping narrative and telling stories too.