There’s a lot of negative social proofing going on right now.
Some of it is transmitted through social media; some of it comes through more traditional means.
Personal branding as a marketing term has fallen out of popularity, now replaced by the equally amorphous term “thought leader” which will soon be replaced by influencer.
Microcelebrity via YouTube, Vine, Facebook videos, and other forms of entertainment are becoming more and more popular, as the inevitability of tools that enable marketers, brands and individuals to create audiences that show up just for them.
The thing is the courage to create and develop a positive, consistent presence in the face of a lack of positive social proofing has never been in shorter supply than it is right now. At the core of this lack are three crucial areas:
- Trust: There is a trust shortage. People, personalities and companies that have shown up, day-in and day-out succeed, but will the current crop of YouTube celebrities make it ten more years? And when there’s no belief that the People Who Matter are even paying attention, then organizations and individuals trust themselves more than the community.
- Accountability: When there is little trust—or even belief that anything (or anybody) worth trusting will show up in the first place—then there is little incentive for people and organizations to stand up and say “Yes, I made this decision.” Social shaming, a continuing erosion of public (and private) empathy, and the increasing visibility of public (and private) narcissism, are the ingredients that create a toxic stew where Bystander Behavior (or worse) is supported, condoned and given a pass.
- Quality: The quality shortage is most loudly evident in the explosion of voices on social media. But it goes deeper than that. In the pursuit of thinner and thinner profit margins, and with high unemployment and social unrest, the search for quality—of work, of attitude, of standards, of values—becomes a quiet, desperate search, which very few organizational supervisors, human resource hiring managers, recently elected politicians or media talking heads, ever really address.
Trust + Accountability = Quality.
It used to be that circumstances, such as poverty, a lack of articulation, a social power structure, were barriers which could be overcome with a little grit, persistence, faith, trust and accountability.
But the belief that underlies those ideas is eroding because the disconnect between the story behind circumstances, and the reality of erosion in the above three areas, is becoming more and more pronounced.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org