Frank Caprio through the lens of Seth GodinPosted: 10/26/2010
Seth Godin, marketing guru, has an interesting take on the anger and the outliers in this election season. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I encourage you to check out his blog and his books.
In any rate, Frank Caprio’s outburst, along with many of the reactionary statements of so-called Tea Party candidates, makes a certain amount of sense through Seth’s analysis. The question is, will America buy it? Godin writes that “When attention is scarce and there are many choices, media costs something other than money. It costs interesting. If you are angry or remarkable or an outlier, you’re interesting, and your idea can spread.” The fact of the matter is that policy change is hard work, and it takes both political talent as well as consensus building skills. Political candidates who are adept at playing the Howard Beale angry man, if they are elected, will have to actually affect change. These outliers will undoubtedly prove unable to build consensus, and we the people will be back at square one.
If you want to get elected in the US, you need media.
When TV was king, the secret to media was money. If you have money, you can reach the masses. The best way to get money is to make powerful interests happy, so they’ll give you money you can use to reach the masses and get re-elected.
Now, though…When attention is scarce and there are many choices, media costs something other than money. It costs interesting. If you are angry or remarkable or an outlier, you’re interesting, and your idea can spread. People who are dull and merely aligned with powerful interests have a harder time earning attention, because money isn’t sufficient.
Thus, as media moves from TV-driven to attention-driven, we’re going to see more outliers, more renegades and more angry people driving agendas and getting elected. I figure this will continue until other voices earn enough permission from the electorate to coordinate getting out the vote, communicating through private channels like email and creating tribes of people to spread the word. (And they need to learn not to waste this permission hassling their supporters for money).
Mass media is dying, and it appears that mass politicians are endangered as well.