Surviving and the Feedback Loop

Life imitates art imitates life.

Till now, the media has been powerful enough to feed people what they want them to see based on what marketers have learned from media users on a group by group basis. Even the reorganization and self-governance once promised by the Internet seems to bow to the machine. When bloggers make money by having their blogs sponsored, don’t they start becoming biased? So if the underground Internet becomes main stream faster than packaged rebellion gets on MTV, what then becomes the next compelling story?

The feedback loop of media selling us images of ourselves, which we sell back to the media and so on, is nothing new. Mimicry is critical to the survival of any species. We copy what we think is surviving and those that do it well adapt and survive themselves.
It explains everything from mentoring to young people everywhere relating to the "bling-bling" lifestyle. But what happens when the veil is lifted? When we get to find out that our mentors may be hacks or the "bling" shown on hip-hop videos is mostly rented?

The frays are showing at the edges. But it’s not a unidirectional toppling of "the establishment" the great Internet prophets predicted. I’m not entirely sure that it can ever be. Burning man, the anti-commercial festival started a few years back in California is a managed event today. But it is still true to itself.

That’s the interesting part.

We are experiencing the whole loop as marketer and customer together.
Don’t overreached markets start their own personal hunt for authenticity? Yes.
Does what they discover in significant numbers then become commercialized? Yes. Both scenarios are valid and true as the media feedback loop starts to behave no differently than an ecosystem fine- tuning itself for survival.

What does that mean for stories we want to be a part of? It means that they eventually get shared in the general global consciousness. The feedback loop affects everyone but no longer all at once. Thanks to unprecedented connectivity, we share fewer common stories simultaneously. The "story" has moved beyond what they’re selling, it’s about what we want to buy.

Art imitates life imitating art.

Maybe it’s time for brands to stop "selling" stories and actually "becoming" what media skeptic customers fit into versions of their own respective realities….

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