Nick told us a joke yesterday:
A scraggly old Greek man in a dusty village speaks to a group of strangers.
“See that school? I built that school – with my own hands. Ten years it took, and thousands of children have been schooled there, but nobody talks about Stavros the school-builder. Nobody!
See that hospital? I built it with these very hands. Fifteen years it took. Countless lives have been saved there, children born, the sick cured, but nobody ever talks about Stavros the man who built the hospital. Nobody!
But f*** just one goat…”
Now for the reflective bit. Great men and women are often remembered for one soundbite, one event, or like Stavros, one faux-pas. In the Internet age, how is the latter affected, if at all? Are people or organisations more or less likely to be tarnished by a one-off occurrence which reflects poorly on them?
Half-glass empty Steff would say the risk is even greater, considering the ease with which events, soundbites etc. can hit the public domain. There are countless examples of individuals or companies that have suffered at the hands of simple publication and viral, as only available in the Internet age. Domino’s Pizza anyone?
Half-glass full Steff would say the risk is diminished. Given that it is so easy to publish online and build a profile across multiple online channels, it’s also surely easier to create a positive impression or persona. Public profile-building does not need to rely on unpredictable, one-off 3rd party output anymore (primarily by media) but can be conducted by the person or organisation itself, and their networks, over time. Perhaps not just yet, but certainly down the line, will web-natives (which we’ll all be by then) not have developed into creatures who shun soundbites and spin and are more likely to believe an ongoing narrative by the person/organisation in question, assuming their online network backs them up? I’d like to think so.
Which is it really? Probably a bit of both; currently more half-glass empty, but in time, more of the half-glass full version perhaps?