Seeing Yourself in the Crowd
People have always wanted to discuss the media and culture that we’re in.
When we were kids, it was about talking about the latest film that came out, or the band that was on tour. We did this in person, at the lunch table, and between classes.
Now, with the internet, discussions, and ratings are amplified, and while there is more media than ever, there is also a bigger audience than ever.
We have ever more spaces to host these discussions with like-minded people.
There is a very important principle related to humans worth understanding:
The crowd is interested in the crowd, almost as much as it is in the show.
Concerts turned into Festivals. And at the Festival, such as say, Coachella, it was about the people as much as it was about the music. It was about seeing and being seen.
Videos turned into reaction videos, comments, and shares.
Sports had an interesting moment…when fans in sports stadiums were removed due to COVID, sports themselves began to feel flat.
Without the crowd’s ability to see the crowd, things became dull, less meaningful.
We’re deeply interested in what other people think about what we see.
We form our thoughts, not by our isolated eyes, but formed based on how others respond and react.
Rotten Tomatoes influences what we choose, as does Yelp.
It influences how we feel about what we see, from the reviews we read.
There are many changes brands must go through to adapt to the world today.
Brands that were built on previous adaptations to the environment will be brittle against the new centers of power and agility.
One of the major changes is the shifting from “Publishing” to “Discussing.” This is being amplified by new types of communities that are able to monetize themselves directly rather than by adjacent means.
Marketing is not just in Social media, which is open and public, but instead increasingly in high-quality communities, which are gated and private.
So, for brands today, it’s about being a spark for discussion, as it always has been. The difference is communities are more empowered and sovereign spaces for discussion, more akin to the real world, empowered by digitization.
This is in part because, to date, social media provides the ultimate amplification, but it is a poor mechanism for discussion. It’s great for being seen, but less so for conversing with trusted friends. Bots, spam, and unfiltered responses can overwhelm.
We increasingly make social choices, based on our peer groups.
Now that these groups are forming and uniting in silos, the challenge for brands is not just in publishing something worth talking about, but being tapped in, or hosting, their own communities in which to publish to.
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XX I’m David Sherry, I coach early-stage founders, invest in crypto, and write on the overlap of investing, crypto, and the creator economy.
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