For the past week, I’ve been posting a fair amount about the raging cow and about establishing trust in a market where marketers are trying to get in side by side with other bloggers. Chris Pirillo makes some good points about the raging cow campaign: Is it so bad if they are trying to engage us in a conversation? If markets are conversations, as a popular book says, is Dr. Pepper doing the right thing? It’s a tough question to answer. After all, they are trying to do what we told them they should do.
On a related matter, the blog world is now abuzz with a description of the Internet as an agreement. While the document provides an interesting set of concepts that are sound from a purely technical standpoint (yes, the underlying standards of the Internet are based on an agreement), it does not cover the variety of choices of what is on the Internet. If the goal is to say “hey, the Internet is just an agreement to tie networks together” then World of Ends succeeds. But the contention that this makes a difference does not really matter much in today’s world. What world of ends does NOT address is what is ”
the Internet” and therein lies the usefulness of a conversation.
So the problem arises from the fact that we keep coming up with new definitions of the Internet that end up referring or reiterating the initial one. However, we seem to do little to figure out the next step. Companies, government, and individuals co-exist on the Internet. Each of those can be considered an entity. Each of those entities makes statements. Each of those statements is either provable or not. And if it is not provable, each of those statements can be assessed as trusted or not (my basic assumption being that a provable statement can only be trusted if it is true). The question remains as to how we can parse those statements quickly (can machines do a better job than we do individually? can smart mobs do a better job than the individual?) and judge their trust-worthiness.
Chris is right: marketers are not necessarily bad. The question is how do we make the difference between the ones we can trust and the ones we can’t?