We blame the Internet for many things. Decreasing attention spans, susceptibility to misinformation, widespread pornography. The internet is not to blame for these. Often blamed, technology is rarely the culprit. Technology serves only to enhance many aspects of our humanity. If we have poor attention spans, it’s not because we spend time on Imgur and Reddit. It’s because those sites play into our existing conditions.
One of the aspects that the internet has enabled is content marketing. We’ve all seen these. We’re looking for help with a topic, so we take to Google and we find a great article detailing a solution. Our curiosity invites us to look around. We discover the author has a program, a system, designed to suit our needs, and we’re sold. The more time we spend on the site, the more we’re exposed to other authors. The more we’ve become enrapt in the cult of personality. Content marketers, like all marketers, do need to be pushy to get our attention. The various channels on the Internet (YouTube, email, blogs), allow them to be extra pushy. These people have built a cult of personality with followers.
This is no different that standard marketing. Look at the people who only wear Nike shoes, only drives BMWs, only use Apple products. The issue is that the Internet takes these aspects, tribes, as we call them, and enhances both the positives and the negatives.
Tribes are great because they can improve and strengthen members. They can give a sense of community and shared purpose. They can also be negative because they can seek out to silence dissenting view. To put down the Other. To reduce thinking.
The next time you’re looking at a site that has a community based on a content marketing site, remember, these people are trying to extract value from you. Put some healthy distance yourself.