Are You A Lie Detector?

by Jay Deragon on 09/10/2008

The very dynamics which fuel the social web to grow are the results of years of spin from media, marketing and management.

People are connecting with people and enjoying the freedom to relate and converse without restraint or cultural barriers. The youth has rejected the old and the old has rejected the youth. The adult market is now discovering the power of the social web and for the very same discoveries that drew the youth but some are still thinking of it as a trick.

The tricks of the new trade are now being built on relational conversations that are open, honest and without restraint. The tricks are no longer tricks except for those that try and use the medium in the old ways. The conflict is that the majority of users get it and will quickly reject a “trick” and in response tell an entire community, one to one to millions, to watch out for your trick.

For those corporations and media jumping in and considering the old tricks, beware, you may hurt yourself and your brand. Creditability can be lost at the click of a mouse from one to one to millions.

Are Lies Out and the Truth In?

Seth Godin writes: Humans are lie detectors.

We hear stories. We enjoy them. We try them on for size. We’re looking for falsehoods and we sniff them out.

We value the truth and we enjoy it. And we’re always wary about the occasional lie.

That’s why political season is just so weird.

The spinners lie constantly. They lie with a straight face. They lie sentence after sentence, relentlessly.

Like the uncanny valley, we don’t really know what to do in the face of non-stop lying. Is this person an alien? Do they think we’re stupid? How are we supposed to respond to the onslaught of disrespect?

Some people suspend disbelief and just believe all of it. In an internet era, I’m wondering if that’s going to continue to be true. Once we see video evidence of a few lies, it all starts to unravel (or ravel, depending on your use of English). A cynic would say that the raveling is a pleasure to watch, and the media enjoys it too.

But the spinners continue to spin, as relentlessly as ever. I wonder if this election is going to mark the end of classic spin or the beginning of a whole new class of even slicker lying.

And since most marketers follow the lead of politicians, I wonder what it means for the rest of us? Is there new slack for truthiness? Is the jaded consumer even more likely to stand by as marketers continue to fabricate falsehoods by the yard? I’m amazed at corporate spokespeople who utter complete falsehoods, rationalizing that it’s just their job.

All I know for sure is that it gives me a headache. I think there’s a huge opportunity for a trusted media source that takes on spin from all quarters and throws it back in the face of the spinner. Show them video of themselves from last week and ask them to respond. Oh, I’m probably just being a hopeful idealist.

What Will Win?

The funny thing about a lie is that sooner or later it will be revealed. Once revealed it usually creates a distance in relationships because the fundamentals of relationships is trust.

Have we become so jaded by all the lies that we no longer value the truth? On the other hand are we now being drawn to the truths and collectively rejecting the lies by revealing them one to one to millions?

I would hope that we value the truth.

Like Seth says “I’m probably just being a hopeful idealist.”

What say you?

{ 1 comment }

Trey Anderson September 10, 2008 at 12:01 pm

I worked for 10 years as a linguist within the Intelligence Community. I’ve seen the psychological operation being conducting on America from the inside.

I do not watch television. I do not listen to the radio. I do not read the newspaper. I rarely read magazines. I am numbed and apathetic to the whole act.

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