So if there was nothing to it, why did this bit of hype spread the way it did? Early this morning, after reading through Seth Godin’s new All Marketers Are Liars blog, it occurred to me – the hype had all the elements of a great story. It had:
- a little guy / underdog / whistleblower
- a villainous corporation
- a nefarious plan
- a clear good vs. evil storyline
- opportunities for collective action
In other words, over the weekend we all got together and spontaneously recreated the plot of Erin Brockovich. No wonder everyone posted and reposted and reposted – it was too good not to be true. The truth of it didn’t matter. It tapped into the basic narrative elements we’ve collectively sucked up over a lifetime of media consumption, so it had to be told and retold.
Marketers who understand the elemental narratives that resonate with their markets are going to be able to play the Internet like a fiddle. In the meantime, companies need to be vigilant. Will this piece of unverified and not-understood information blow up on Microsoft, or will blog-savvy Microsoft employees catch it and nip it in the bud?