Our lives and the very markets we inhabit have become increasingly and overtly politicized at their core.
Our personal conversations online and off, our relationships to our customers and the connections we have to the brands that matter to us.
At an atomic and principled level, communications and language as well.
This has been sucking our time, inflating our emotions, and scattering our efforts. It’s no surprise that an exhaustion permeates many of our social channels.
And the most unnatural thing is to act like everything is still the same.
It is not.
Many of us have desperately needed personal reboots and the more we find actions that satisfy the need to do something in the face of a changed world, the better we move forward.
Professionally as well, there needs to be a refresh.
In this unique instance in history, personal and professional both need to be rethought together. From the ground up on how we communicate. How we make decisions on what to engage with. How we market and advertise and affiliate ourselves.
The reality of course is that when emotions drive the majority of our responses–which they are more and more today–we need to re-examine communications at a behavioral protocol level itself.
We need to realize that the politicized spark is omnipresent, and ready to surface just about everywhere. And depending on who you are and what you selling, it is the smart move to step back and decide how to address this upfront.
The social nets are both the cause and the effect in many ways.
We are flocking there in even greater numbers to search out community and conversation. The base population for advertising and commercial engagement has never been greater, yet the the core state of the engaged has been transformed.
What we see is for the most part, laced with an underlying layer of vitriol and anger.
An endless array of arguments. Trollism as a new characteristic on all sides. And nothing be it the Superbowl or workout gear, movies or art is extant from this. Behavior-and likewise commerce—has become a political statement by default.
This is the new normal.
It’s been a switch of utterances of the things that we like (the Facebook effect) to things raved against, the never ending list of things that cause disgust, fear and frustration of having few avenues to act on.
It’s become a normal reaction though invariably shrill. And wildly unproductive.
From a cultural perspective, we are all in need of avenues of expression. Somewhere, someplace to connect, talk, act out.
It’s uncovered the raw technological holes in our social platforms (see my post here) and if you are blogger or online brand, or anyone who spends a part of their waking hours online looking for community, it has also challenged you to find a poise around this.
So what do we do?
And how do we as individuals, as leaders, as companies find a productive and actionable poise towards socialization and work in a reality this raw and politicized?
A loaded question without a lot clear answers.
I started writing this post a few weeks ago and thought—wait!—maybe a new equilibrium will arise and we will inherit the normal again.
I think not.
We’ve turned a cultural corner and that door is shut behind us forever.
What’s telling is that the new normal touches everything from the education of our kids, our belief systems about the planet, animal rights, basic income, welfare of the unfortunate, the power of the 1%. Everything!
So how do we find a new pace? A new poise?
How do clothing manufacturers change their ads for underwear or socks on Facebook? How does this stylize how we talk about wine? Or exercise? Or vacations? Or the software we sell?
I’m not a believer that we need to wear all of our beliefs on our sleeves. But I do think we need to make decisions on how to address this new world in how we communicate, how we market, how we design new products and platforms for this new world.
To me there are three top-of-the-list rules that have been helpful:
–Own your beliefs and understand that they are who you are, and how your market will view you.
Think hard about your beliefs, and then own them. Whether you shout them from your Facebook wall or not, they are who you are. Whining is unacceptable. Ownership of your thoughts is the new ethos of authenticity.
Pretending that nothing is changed is a losing strategy.
Embracing change and making it your own is always the right choice to make.
This is especially true if you work on the social nets. Understand that you are what you post and that no act, even a decision not to engage, is an act in itself.
Learn that the most powerful choice is often not to respond at all.
And that the common knowledge on the value of engagement has changed.
Posting is one thing. Fueling conversations quite another.
As blasphemous as it is coming from me, I am much choosier about whether to respond at all in many instances. Often I don’t.
We have had cataclysmic change before. But unlike the collective response to 9/11, for example, this shift is divisive more than disruptive, and in these early days seemingly isolating not connecting.
And this change is fed by the very amplification of the social web itself. Supercharged momentum living by gesture alone and the seeming enemy of nuance and reflection.
We as a culture are beginning to find our way in this.
But this is not a blip in time that peaks and ebbs. It is, I believe, the beginning of a rippling dramatic change, that will change everything about how we work, govern and live.
Whether it is circumstantial or serendipitous, I don’t know but the gates are very much open.
And as well, this post, for me, is a beginning.
Re-energized and inspired to figure out how not only to think about the new normal but use it, to manage this change to its advantage and move on to the business of life.