Tuesday, January 15, 2013

15 of 95: Don't outsource the news - be the news

15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.

[Part 14]

Remember what has been said so far. There are two parallel discourses going on, the one among the people and the one inside a company, and they seldom interact. When they do, it's traditionally called 'marketing', and marketing could care less about what the people are up to. They are more interested in saying something that will make the most number of people react in a particular way, using the old formula of stimuli-response. And while you do have to know a certain minimum about what you subject to stimuli in order to get the proper response, the word 'subject' is a little more feudal than not in this sense.

Let's not reiterate this further. Let's, instead, look at how businesses presents themselves as news.

If you are monitoring any kind of live feeds, you probably get news faster than the news services. The new default mode is that Twitter knows about new developments pretty much as they happen, and if you happen to keep a watching eye out at that moment, you know about them too. After a while, the news catch up on events and gives an authoritative summary of what you already know.

The business model of the news is not to be new - it is to be authoritative, reliable, quotable.

This is somewhat of a game changer for those news services who market themselves as fair and balanced reporters of truth. You no longer hear it from them first, and their assertion that you do seems all the more strange as time passes. You no longer take their word for it - you've already heard the word, and the counterword, and the words of the negotiators in between. Instead of hearing about it on the news, the more relevant question is: of all the things they could have said, they said that?

You are the subject of this narrative.

The same goes for press releases, brochures and other formal informalia from companies. You already know more than their marketing discourse presumes, and from this informed position, the notion of giving consent based on their word alone is alien, to say the least.

Le roi est mort. Vive le roi!

I'll see you tomorrow for part sixteen.

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