Friday, September 05, 2008

Cowpaths Lead to Lemmings

What do bovine trails have to with marketing?

Chris Brogan has posted some videos on his current thinking - it opens with a story about why the roads in Boston are the way they are. Seems they were built on the wanderings of cows. I think the point is that we build on what we know - adjacent possibilities are easier to see (and implement) than starting afresh.

Social media is new(ish). The issue is that we often frame it in terms from the old world and have trouble adapting because the previous rules of the game don't necessarily apply. We blindly follow what has worked for us before.

As a result, people find fault with every new technology. For example, the Greek sages thought writing was going to make people to 'cease to exercise their memories and become forgetful' and that the printing press would 'weaken people's minds' and undermine authority. These predictions were in fact correct, but the unseen (and unimaginable) benefits of both writing and printing clearly out weighed the problems and democratized information. These points have been said before: the quotes above are from Nick Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"; Cathy Taylor's the problems with online video (social media) is another examples.

Applying metrics and rules from a previous generation of technology (brain to scribe, scribe to press, analog to digital, corporate to community) is risky business.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a ridiculous and bloviating piece of waste.