In part because I was part of the Glass Explorers program (I wore Google Glass every day), and in part due to all of the privacy debates happening right now, I’ve been thinking about Big Brother vs. Little Brother in today’s society. Now, I don’t remember where I first saw the term Little Brother, but it was used to describe what happens when regular people are recording everything you do, not the government. And that started me thinking about the role of context in this discussion.
I’m not going to debate today whether or not the government should be doing what it clearly has been doing, that’s for a much longer post, but let me start with this premise. It is the hope, that the government is doing what it’s doing with some sort of context happening. That it is using the data it’s collecting and reviewing to look for patterns that might indicate potential problems. Yes, I know that there are a lot of issues with this and I do not mean to gloss them over. But for the sake of this discussion, think about the patterns they’re looking for. It’s about putting your actions into context, so that they have the opportunity to make us safe.
Little Brother, however, is not about context at all. It’s about taking a moment in time and making that the whole story. So it’s the woman who videotaped her experience in Dunkin’ Donuts and ended up making herself look bad. Who knows, maybe she had lots of bad experiences there (although everything indicates she did not), and this one time, she was not being herself. But that’s now we all see her. There is no context at all.
And that's what happens with your brand too. You can have thousands of great customer interactions, but thanks to Little Brother, that one bad experience is now how everyone see's you. And without context, the audience doesn't know what lead up to the experience they're watching.
Are you prepared for Little Brother? Thanks to everyone having cameras on their phones and things like Google Glass coming into the mainstream, Little Brother is growing every day. As I said in Really, You Do Control the Message:
People amplify the message you start. Start with a great message and that's what people will amplify. Have a bad message and that's what they'll pass along.
And thanks to SM, people can really amplify that message today. I use to enjoy watching people on "Smile, You're on Candid Camera" and watching all of those crazy reactions. Well, today, you still have to keep smiling, but the camera is no longer hidden! Are you ready for your candid close-up? Is your brand?