It is hard to live up to your own idea of yourself. No matter what profession that we choose to follow, or path that we take in life, we can always fall into the trap of self censorship. On an artistic front we can hold back our best ideas or perhaps our "craziest" concepts, only to hear later that same idea pushed forward successfully. In business we can miss out on opportunities just because we did not step forward when the chance came … or we can suffer in our own failure because we did not ask for, or accept help, when it was needed. But, if you are nodding your head, then you are already a step ahead … you can at least recognise the situation.
There are, of course, other people who read this and cannot understand or relate to this problem. And for them, there are no amount of words that I can write to help them 😉
BUT then there are the REALLY scary people who actively work to deceive others. Like the hypnotist character from Little Britain, who is happy to work on stage, as a hypnotist, but rather than working WITH his audience, he works ON his audience.
Look into my eyes, look into my eyes. Not around the eyes. Look into my eyes. You’re under.
Rather than entertaining and engaging a SINGLE person, he turns his gaze on the entire audience and hypnotises them. Once under his spell he explains that "they will have had a great night, experienced a show of unparalleled entertainment and will tell all their friends about it". He then pulls out a chair and a book and sits down to while away the hour or so duration of his show — because he wants it to be AUTHENTIC afterall.
Why do I tell this story?
Because it reminds me of the way that a number of brands are using social media … they are busy making us THINK that they are engaging us, when all they want to do is use the same old brand building/advertising tricks that they have used for years. They think that by putting up a blog that they are part of the blogosphere.
Here is a case in point — Trixi. I know I am not in their target demographic, but seriously, the kids that are will sniff this for the fake that it is.
What makes matters worse is that it is perpetrated by companies that SHOULD know better. Seriously, if Yahoo! doesn’t GET web 2.0 and the whole need to be authentic … then there is bound to be a Yahoo v2 knocking on the door or jumping through the window any day now.
Look into my eyes? Don’t think so.
5 thoughts on “Look Into My Eyes”
Self censorship cost me probably my biggest (not my best) idea ever. I had this idea of putting 10 people in a house full of cameras for about 2 months. It wasn’t called big brother it was called something else.
I think you’ve touched on a point that has had me worried for a while about my blog. I came late to blogging, having run away from the web about 4 years ago. Got so bored. Then I landed this job with a printing company. At first I was interesting in finding out about “potential clients” and that’s when I stumbled onto blogs, so I’ll own up that my first efforts were not without method. And I apologise for that.
But after reading the blogs and getting to know the people (through the tone of the blogs) I quickly realised that I was learning to think again (which is why in a moment of madness I called the blog what it is called). I’ve fallen into a pool fall of planners, and it feels familiar and comfortable. It reminds of when I used to be in ad-land, on your side of the fence looking out.
I hope that my blog is now as honest as it can be. Most of the thinking I put out is very rough and I’m always hopeful for some feedback. I also hope that sometimes I’ll write something interesting that could help you lot.
This post by servants of chaos really got me thinking about this blog. I won’t go into to much detail here, go and have a look at the post (and you’ll see my response). Although, I suppose, this is some kind of corporate blog, I’ve tried to keep it as …
Reminds me of a ton of brainstorming sessions I’ve been in. People self censor because they don’t want to look stupid in front of others, and then those that do take a risk often get their ideas marginalized by “sensible” people who never learned how to think big. Collaboration good. Marginalization bad.
As far as brands in the social media space, most just think that they win because they’re there, but don’t consider really taking part. Jack in the Box and Burger King were both on MySpace, and I emailed each of them on their profile just to see what would happen. Of course, all I got was nothin’. Why would you create a powerful tool that allows your customers to interact with you, then do nothing with it? Just stupid.
This is a really interesting way to look at it. Y’know, it’s not just brands that have to worry about this. It’s us as well who are supposedly on the bleeding edge of “authenticity” because we blog and such.
I was turned off in some ways behind the blogging community support of snakes on a plane because if felt like old marketing to me. Helping sell a product that you don’t believe it to support your cause.
People seem to have this inate ability to sense authenticity. And with the emergence of the Social Network, it seems to me that this instinct is only becoming intensified.
Marcus, thanks for the comment … blogging is interesting, at least in part, because it opens our ideas up to the big wide world. One bad thing about this is, that you can get feedback fairly quickly … but that is also the best thing. But you do hit on the key ingredient … authenticity. Find that pure perspective and stay with it!
Paul, you are with the money on the brainstorming front … most times the “facilitator” already has an outcome in mind … that is where Open Space techniques and the like come in. But you have to be brave! This is just like brands entering the social network space … they want to be there, but they want to control it. They don’t want feedback, they just want you to buy (an idea or a product).
David, I am in full agreement re Snakes on a Plane. I was a little removed from it all here in Australia, but observing the buzz made me feel like there was mutual manipulation happening … and in the process we lost touch with the audience. Hmmm … I think there is a post coming on this one … thanks!
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