When worlds collide

collideA new reality has rapidly emerged in the last decade: the online world.

The beautiful thing about being in the online world is that it’s very fair.  You don’t have to know powerful people in order to become powerful yourself (though it can help).  You don’t have to spend millions of dollars to get a massive following.  Everyone is on the same playing field, and if your content is great and people relate to you, you win.  You can be straight up ugly and still beat the moguls.

The paradox, of course, is that you can completely bullshit your way through “the real world” with minimal consequences.  You can leech off the people below you, screw them over, then walk away from it virtually unscathed.  You can buy your way to success without earning it.  You can show as little respect for your customers as you want.

Or at least, that’s how it used to be.  Those ways are dying, slowly but surely.

You can’t market online like you do in the real world.  You can’t fuse those worlds together, because they’ll collide with each other.  Their rules just don’t mesh.

Buying a million dollars of TV and print ads was okay 20 years ago, but buying a million dollars of online ads is laughable.  You can no longer jump on an artificial pedestal, yell “Look at me!” while the lights flash around you, and expect any real long-term results.  When you’re online, you’re just like everybody else.  And people online are very, very good at spotting bullshitters and calling them out in front of everyone.  And when “everyone” equals millions of people that can spread worth-of-mouth instantaneously, it means that you’re dealing with a medium that can be extremely harsh and unforgiving.

In the real world, you can cheat.  In the online world, you really can’t.

If you’re a company that can only succeed in “the real world,” this is terrible news.  It means you’ll probably fail in the online world, so you either have to cling to your profitable reality or start over from scratch.  But if you can make an honest connection with people and you have decent content, this is the best news you’ll ever hear.  Because now you can be even more powerful than the Microsofts and the Fords and the Bacardis — just by being you.

Maybe not as profitable, to be certain.  But powerful?  Absolutely.

All their money combined can’t buy what they want more than anything in the world… And you have the power to earn it all for free:

You can earn peoples’ love, trust, and respect.

That’s the online world, and that’s how you play.  Join us.

By Charlie Hoehn

2 comments on “When worlds collide

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