People have always been suspicious of marketers. We are the sideshow barkers preaching our promises to the masses, inviting them to buy our wares and realize the incredible benefits our clients’ products and services provide.
And our audiences have always taken our messages with a grain of salt. A boulder of salt today.
Fair enough. We know the game and somehow have to build credibility, hence our focus on social media and comments and reviews. But now, even that is suspect.
It’s easy enough to fake reviews or give products away for favorable words. People are catching on to that sleazy game and are becoming suspicious that maybe the alleged real people are just shills.
Carnie barkers always had shills–– right?
Yes, our problem gaining credibility with a suspicious public is worse than ever, and it’s compounded by the fact that today truth is whatever people want it to be.
And that should scare the hell out of everyone.
Think about it: whatever you’d like to believe, you can find support for it. It’s easy. Google it, go down that rabbit hole, and you’ll find like-minded people.
You can also question any alleged ‘truth’ and find counter points-of-view. Oh, and to make matters easier, social networks like Facebook will ensure you have an enthusiastic crowd in your echo chamber and feed you all a steady diet of fake news to stoke your passions and get those clicker fingers itching.
It’s all about the clicks, babe.
Technology has made it possible for each of us to construct a worldview cocoon and narrowcast perspective. Since human beings crave attention and love affirmation, we can give ourselves thumbs ups and pats on the back when people agree with us.
And why wouldn’t they? They’re your tribe, your people, and when you’re shouting into a canyon, your echo is rich and fulfilling.
And what of the news itself? Well, what flavor would you like? Conservative? Liberal? Alt right? Socialist? Green Party? Neo-vegan with a twist of Whig?
You can find your like-minded news feed; that’s easy. But sadly, people today have such short attention spans, and all media has had to cut back on real journalism because it requires lots of time and money, so most of what passes for news is just pundits spewing talking points and feel-good puppies-lost-are-found-type stories.
It’s hyperbolic bombast or fluffy puff pieces.
In the “X-Files,” Mulder and Scully were always in search of the truth. Now all of us are on that journey, and we’re on our own.
Me? I believe that the aliens who landed in Area 51 are sequestered in a small office adjacent to the Oval Office, and they command our president and are our true overlords.
I know this for a fact because I read it on the internet.
Good luck on your journey for finding truth, and know your audience is doing the same. Be empathetic to their struggles and suspicions.
A sideshow barker’s job isn’t getting any easier.