APG Young Talent Award
We Live in Public or The Mediation Generation

Listening to Chatter

Forbes listen

I wrote this thing for Forbes.com about listening to the web - stage one of my very simple approach to social media.

I'm going to write a column for them regularly about such things for their newly launched CMO network.

The version you can read there is a bit different from what I originally wrote. I originally wrote this relatively grandiose thing called Such People In't - a reference to the newly active role of 'the audience' in our endeavours, which was pretty theoretical, as is my bent.

I changed it to suite the needs of the environment and audience and am pretty happy with how it turned out.

But there was stuff in my original that I really liked, so I'm going to post some fragments here:

Up until very recently indeed, cultural production was an industrial process. The means of production and distribution – the printing presses, the production studios, the satellite and cable stations – were only available to large corporations. The audience remained silent.

Advertising grew up in the golden age of mass media, creating discrete units of commercial culture – advertisements – that were delineated by the nature and relative scarcity of the transmission vector, or distribution platform. Television is a filmic medium and airtime is expensive, so 30-second slices of film became television commercials. The audience was functionally passive in its reception of advertising--like Victorian children, it was seen and not heard.

Thus we began to think of it as a target audience: a location that advertisers wished to bombard with persuasion (appropriating the language and strategies of war), an object to be acted upon, passive and attentive.


Your brand is but one voice among a polyphony, hopefully providing the stimulus for conversations, but unable to dominate them: a brand’s share of voice is now to be measured against all the conversations of the web.

[This reminds me of Bud's chart]


Brands are the cultural, psychological and corporate face of the products or services you sell. People want relationships with some, responses from others: they want to be involved, to be listened to. If you ignore them, they may start to ignore you. 


The lines have blurred like the modalities of media – those that consume can also produce, those that receive can also broadcast and it is within this new context that marketing exists, connecting consumers to businesses in a way never before possible.

Welcome to this brave new world, that has such people in’t.