I made up a word. Then I made up a phenomenon to go with it. The word and the phenomenon are hyperinformationalism. They’re illustrated by the paragraph above. They refer to the fact that we’ve become of a race of knee-jerk artists — constantly and reflexively twitching under the relentless onslaught of information with which we’re constantly bombarded. And they confirm this truism: When everything’s important, nothing’s important.

I made up a theory, too. We spend so much time inflicting so much information on ourselves from so many electronic sources, we’ve mistaken ourselves for computers. We think we’re the same sort of objective, dispassionate, unemotional accessing mechanisms as those amalgams of  chips, processors, transducers, capacitors, and wires. But we’re not. And we’re suffering for it.

This is why, from the youngest age — I grew up at a time in which the dissemination of information were the exclusive provinces of newspapers, radio, and television — I never paid attention to the news. The reason? It’s too new.

We can react to news, but we can only know its ramifications in time. The news can soothe or panic, but it can’t reveal which reaction is warranted. The news can tell us what happened, but it can’t tell us what will happen. And knowing what’ll happen as a result of any news item was always more important to me than what someone else said happened.

The Cost

In the age of hyperinformationalism, have we lost our ability to ponder and to ask critical, analytical, discerning questions? Or have we lost time? Just when we engage in discriminating contemplation, we’re overwhelmed by the next wave of brute information. Awash in that wave with its potential to stimulate beyond reason, we have a choice: Ignore it all until the items of any import roll forth in another wave — or react to all of it instantaneously: Good. Bad. Hopeful. Fearful. Important. Trivial.

A twitching knee has no reason. It reacts on impulse. In the manic, agitated trance of hyperinformationalism, so do we.

What, then, does hyperinformationalism do to our businesses? It compels us to say everything we can think to say in every place we can think to say it. Collateral systems become exhaustive, de facto technical manuals. Websites warehouse unseen content. Direct email campaigns blitz spam. Blogs, articles, and white papers become the virtual, verbal equivalents of drinking from fire hoses. And our target audiences are dazed, confused, probably annoyed, and not likely to be buying — at least not from us.

Thanks to hyperinformationalism, we’ve forgotten (how) to relax. We’ve forgotten to take our time and communicate substantively. We’ve raised our expectations beyond sense and sanity. One man’s deluge is not another man’s call to action. So, why not take it easy?

The Remedy

Buck the trend. Turn down the volume. Create a real message. Let it differentiate you. Give people a chance to absorb it. Make it good enough that they want (to learn) more. Don’t sell, instruct. Don’t flood, trickle. Don’t scream, talk quietly and directly.

No one will ever think what we’re doing or selling is as important as we think it is. Ever. But that doesn’t mean our prospects won’t care. They just need to be allowed to care in their own ways, in their own time. If we want our marketing efforts to be effectively fulfilled with sales, we need to gently and calmly help our prospects understand why they need what we’re selling.


What’s Innovation?

Over the past three weeks, I’ve posted three polls about innovation on LinkedIn — first, second, third. As of this writing, they’ve garnered a total of 2,495 views but just 41 votes. Those stats suggest at least four possibilities. I only know the fourth one to be true. But here they are:

First, the lack of a consistent or consensual definition of innovation may make people leery to vote at risk of sticking their necks out uncomfortably. As I’ve come to understand it, innovation is change — undertaken purposefully, grounded strategically, adopted systemically, and practiced systematically with discipline, a willingness to accept failure, a desire to learn from failure, and the ability to mitigate risk in the process. Is that a mouthful? Sure it is. But every element of that definition is necessary to innovate consistently and repeatedly.

Second, people may be unwilling to create the impression that they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s the very antithesis of innovation. As much as anything, innovation presupposes a willingness to fly in the face of what’s known — of the ordinary, the expected, and the status quo. Innovation rejects best practices in favor of new and better ways of doing things relentlessly. It’s the determination never to say, “We do it this way because this is the way we do it.” It’s the conviction that creativity is preferable to complacency, all the time, every day.

Third, it may be possible that traditional ways of doing things — allocating monetary and human resources to initiatives without changing processes, approaches, methodologies, or ways of thinking — constrain people to the extent that they can’t or won’t consider doing things in different ways. It could be fear of failure, fear of reproach, fear of change, fear of the unknown, or garden-variety insecurity. The root cause doesn’t matter. What does matter is that outcomes don’t change if the things being done to produce those outcomes don’t change.

Fourth, while the growing proliferation of ostensible innovation-management tools has caused them to become almost commoditized, there’s been no matrixed framework that comprises the requisite common tools, along with novel tools and capabilities, all of which are matrixed (interoperational) within a structured framework that enables organizations to innovate consistently; to continually bring new products, services, and/or business models to market; and to make their competition irrelevant.

That was then. This is now. Now there’s EinFrame.

Proudly Naïve

I have a theory. It goes like this: If I remain naïve enough, I’ll never get old. If that’s so, then I just found the Fountain of Youth.

The German writer, Thomas Mann, once said: “It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available.” Given that he lived from 1875 to 1955, I don’t imagine it ever occurred to him to question the sources — or the very definition — of ideas. But question we must.

It seems, much to my naïve surprise, the sources and the definition of ideas have changed. So has the presumption of originality. It appears we now live in the age of PLR content, in which PLR stands for private label rights. You’re probably way ahead of me on this. But the implications are profoundly unsettling.

Case in point: Take a few moments to absorb and comprehend the sentence in bold type below, the emphasis on which, by the way, originates from the source:

Quality website content extends beyond rewriting or “spinning” PLR articles for uniqueness. In order to shine, online content should be useful, well written, and relevant to readers. Professional sounding Web content and articles impress readers while original content impresses Google. Writing content for readers first, search engines second is a SEO content strategy that works over the long run.

That’s right. We no longer require native, substantively meaningful, or original content that accurately and genuinely reflects the differentiating singularity of our brands. Uh uh. We don’t even need professional content. All we need now is professional sounding language — counterfeit content that impresses our readers. That’s as cynical a concept as I’ve ever come across. And it’s at least as insulting to the readers with whom we desire to share our ideas as it is cynical.

Dude! What the hell were you thinking?

By that logic, I’ve wasted every moment I spent writing this post and believing it reflects the personal convictions that inform my thinking and the EinSource brand. I could have cribbed the content for the post from any of the content available here. I could have bought it here. Or I could have randomly generated it here and here.

It’s ironic that I just re-read Animal Farm this past weekend. It’s ironic — or serendipitously synchronous — because George Orwell also wrote this (I’ve written marketing in place of political language):

[Marketing] … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind. (Politics and the English Language)

That statement is cynical, too. But it’s no more cynical that it is prescient. Its prescience has been fulfilled now that PLR has erased the line between cynicism and truth.

PLR is the Walmart of content: It obliterates any value in or accruing to your brand. And the age of PLR is The Age of Cynicism.

Go ahead. Call me naïve. In addition to younger, I’ve just become proud of my naïveté.