Yesterday’s blog entry set forth the text of a post that I put to the Suckers Buy It! forum on the topic of How Minds Change. Set forth below is the text of a follow-up post:
when you’re dealing with people who have a cult like allegiance to a thought or ideal, I guess it’s not such a stretch. Anyway, a belated welcome to the club of Jindiviks (aboriginal for the hunted one).
Thanks for letting me into the club, Jindvick. I think!
The question that I am always focused on (because of my own experiences) is — Are we ALL cult-like? We see cultishness in others. We never see it in ourselves. Could it be that cultish thinking is holding us ALL back?
Most people here probably remember Tomaz. He had a moderately successful tennis site and an insanely successful vacuum-cleaner review site. He was a smart guy. He was a hard-working guy. He was a generous-spirited guy (he spent a lot of time and effort answering people’s questions). He loved the “Keep It Real” motto and repeated it all the time.
One time somebody asked him a question about what he did with all the vacuum cleaners he reviewed. A nice, practical question. He said that, while he believed in Keeping It Real, you couldn’t get carried away with the concept! Of course he had never actually USED any of the vacuum cleaners he reviewed. He based his reviews on what people said at Amazon.
In pre-internet days, people would have assumed that someone reviewing a vacuum cleaner had used it. It went without saying. So many would say that Tomaz’ site was not “real.” But no one said that for so long as he was successful on Google. If it was real in Google’s eyes, it was real. It was the people who thought that you had to use a vacuum cleaner to be able to review it who were not “real” in those days.
Google determines the realities in the internet age. No?
Maybe the site really was real. You could make a case that, by aggregating the Amazon reviews of all the various vacuum cleaners in one place, the site served an important purpose. It saved people time. So it saved people money. The site really was real and Tomaz deserved his success.
Except now he doesn’t. Because Google was embarrassed when some fellow at the Atlantic magazine said that pages upon pages of review sites that Google was placing high in the listings had zero value and Google determined that they had to do something before it became the fashion to laugh at their search engine.
The internet is a house of mirrors. Everyone wants to be real. But everyone wants to be successful too. Most of us choose successful over real when put to the test. So we often get caught being a bit less than genuine despite our regularly expressed desire to Keep It Real.
The internet changes everything. It gives us the power to call up all the world’s information with a few clicks of a finger. The trouble is — It’s still those darn humans supplying the information! What if all that we are calling up is a pile of garbage approved as “real” by people trying to make a buck? Bad information is a negative, not a positive.
I believe that the Next Big Thing on the internet is going to be separating The Fake Real from The Real Real. People are going to see that we need Integrity Filters. The small guy’s only hope to beat the corporate guy is to get there first. Those who got there first with blogs prevailed. Those who got there first with social media prevailed. Those who got there first with video prevailed. I believe that those who get there first with Integrity Filters will prevail.
I believe in something called “Anti-Marketing.” Marketing is saying whatever you need to say to get people to like you. Anti-Marketing is caring so much about integrity that you are willing to say things that drive customers away for the time being. The cool thing about the internet is that it places a time-stamp on your anti-marketing efforts. So, when the winds change, people can look back and see who walked the being-real walk as well as talks the being real talk.
I think we need a place where we call out people like Tomaz (it’s not my intent to pick on him — I like the guy) when we find out that they don’t own the vacuum cleaners. We wouldn’t do that to be mean to Tomaz. We would do it because he needs to know that he is going to get drowned in a coming wave if he plays games on a communications medium that brings everything to light in time.
Nothing like this exists today to my knowledge. The potential is too huge for that to remain the case for too much longer, in my assessment. The Real Internet is coming. So we should be placing ourselves to profit from it. And to do that, we need to understand those humans and why they so love being lied to. And what causes them to change their minds at some point and learn not to like it so much.