Requiem For a Provocateur – Life in the Time of The Flame Wars7 Feb, 2011
People who pay attention to social media and digital marketing are very much aware of the latest brouhaha over a tweet by Kenneth Cole. Cole, who claims to have posted the tweet himself, stuck his designer shoe squarely in his mouth by making a joke over an international crisis, but he immediately realized his gaffe and posted a sincere public apology.
Once upon a time, that would have been the end of the story. The apology would have been issued, the public’s feathers would become unruffled, and we’d return to business as usual. That was life before the Flame Wars.
Welcome to The Flame War
We live in an age where the sound byte is king, context is irrelevant and social media lynch mobs set siege on entire organizations in 140 characters or less. In the time of the Flame Wars people and brands get crucified by an outraged public for a single remark viewed independent of a broader context.
The problem is, our outrage is often misguided. After all, it’s so much easier to type a snarky comment (or better yet, re-tweet someone else’s snarky comment) than to pause and try and understand the situation in the first place.
This irrational and angry behavior is particularly damaging to provocateurs—people (often comedians and artists) who say and do outrageous things to make a point…to illustrate the absurdities of situations and societies. Taking these provocative statements out of context often nullifies the greater message.
Without context the provocateur’s ability to provoke thought is severely hampered. Without the provocateur society is doomed to the status quo. So the next time you’re inclined to crucify someone over a status update, pause, consider context, and think before you go on the offensive.
Posted in Life, Marketing Geniuses, Uncommon Sense | Comments Off