We’re living through a crisis of trust.
Trust in experts.
Trust in the media.
Trust in politicians.
Trust in institutions.
It’s shaking our political, cultural and social foundations and creating the perfect storm for disinformation, misinformation and fake news.
During the last pandemic (H1N1 in 2009) our information ecosystem was much different. The internet is structured in a much different way now - and so is the media. We’re lead more than we used to be by reductive Tweets over longer form analysis and context.
Imagine the click through rate of the headline:
Content that stands out today is declarative and definitive. Inconclusiveness, on the other hand, tends to get weaponized against you. Even though the “certainty” was mostly all wrong or at the very least, inadequate.
If you’re being silent - if you’re trying to protect against a bad faith critique - you’re allowing attention to be directed elsewhere.
The world is flat. 🤦♂️
Vaccines cause autism. 🤦♀️
Black Lives Matter is a shell company for a superpac that backs Democrats running for president.😡
It’s not that these unfounded arguments aren’t worth responding to, in fact, it’s because of the absence of a counter narrative that they’re taking up cycles and gaining traction.
If you care about your movement, your community, your health care system, your brand, whatever, you’ve got to get in the game.
Going high when they go low is a laudable moral strategy. But it doesn’t mean going dormant, either.
Waiting out the opposing narrative (no matter how ludicrous the assertion may be) is analog thinking in a digital world. It’s no longer an effective option within the current media landscape.
We are living through an information war and the primary currency is attention.
If your goal is for people to be informed...
If your goal is for your story to spread...
You’ve got to wrestle that pig - everytime.
Because if you don’t tell your story, someone else will.
And when you feel like it’s absolutely necessary to respond, it’s usually too late.
Better to be a little muddy, than irrelevant.