If you read only one quote today, make it this one from Edward Bernays’ 1928 publication, Propaganda:
“…because ideas can be instantaneously transmitted to any distance and to any number of people, this geographical integration [the idea of a village community] has been supplanted by many other kinds of grouping, so persons having the same ideas and interests may be associated and regimented for common action even though they live thousands of miles apart.”
This was written in 1928 on the growth of the telegraph, wireless and telephone. It sounds like it could have been written a couple of years ago about the explosion in social media conversation and commercialisation and the rapid development of customer profiling that went along with it.
And what I find really interesting now is the growth of the hyperlocal agenda. Of Groupon and geolocational media targeting. Are we returning to the village community from whence we came – but with more sophisticated toys? What do you think Bernays would have made of that?
If you haven’t read Propaganda, read it now. You’ll be glad you did.
*In other words, America. Which wasn’t that far away, but it may as well have been for the relative costs of getting there. Today, the world hasn’t got smaller, but our networks have got bigger, which brings America relatively closer.