Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Noli turbare circulos meos

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[World-class violinist plays for hours in a subway station, almost no
one stops to listen]. The experiment just proved what we already know
about context, permission and worldview. If your worldview is that
music in the subway isn’t worth your time, you’re not going to notice
when the music is better than usual (or when a famous violinist is
playing). It doesn’t match the story you tell yourself, so you ignore
it. Without permission to get through to you, the marketer/violinist is
invisible.

Seth Godin offers good reasons for an overwhelming response by readers to an article reporting the above experiment.

It bothers us that we’re so overwhelmed by the din of our lives that
we’ve created a worldview that requires us to ignore the outside world,
most of the time, even when we suffer because of it. It made me feel a
little smaller, knowing that something so beautiful was ignored because
the marketers among us have created so much noise and so little trust.

I agree. My attention is now rationed carefully as I am in control of it more than ever before. I gladly (and sometimes angrily) block and evade unwanted interruptions. From my ‘unmediated’ online interactions I know that there are others who feel the same way.

We take our attention away from those who have commanded it for decades. We take it with us to our networks, to communities we create and trust. The trail of marketers and advertisers following the commodity that feeds them – our attention – is instructive and occasionally fun to watch. First they ignored us, then they laughed at us, then they feared us. They still do but now they are also imitating us. I lost count of the number of ‘me-too-social-networks’ being built by companies and their agencies. 

Contrary to the popular sentiment I think transparency is a double-edged sword for marketers – I insist on it not because it will make me trust them more but because I want to avoid their attempts without giving them any attention whatsoever. I resent the time spent working out that something is ultimately a marketing ploy. That is why my own sources are trusted – they will not trick me in order to ’steal’ my attention. The price for such luxury is blanking out anything without context.

So the reminder to those who interrupt – do not disrupt my circles.   

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