How do you measure opinion?
And by you, I mean YOU – the person who owns the eyeballs scanning these words.
How do you – personally – manage the oceans of opinion the whole world is currently floating on?
With the rise of digital media, has come a tsunami of opinions.
You probably have a number of blogs that you follow regularly. Hopefully mine is one of them.
You have friends you trust. And you talk with them in person, through social media, by SMS, IM, email, online bulletin boards (…remember them?) – whatever your preference.
You listen to your bank manager and accountant, your lawyer, your relatives… They share their opinions – and if you trust the person, you listen, right?
But what about all those other opinions? All those third-party recommendations and opinions that we are supposed to be able to listen to, and rely on… but DON’T, and CAN’T?
How do you judge the worth of those opinions?
If you have a LinkedIn account, you know EXACTLY the opinions I mean.
Those friends of friends, and contacts of contacts – people you may have heard of in passing at some time or other, who bombard your subscribed LinkedIn groups with one posting after another, all of them peppered with personal opinion.
Or how about industry-specific websites, that have you on their email marketing lists? How much do you respect and listen to those opinions that flood unbidden into your inbox?
Sometimes you might read an isolated article that’s interesting or relevant… but the rest you dump straight in the recycle bin…am I correct?
I raise this subject, because a lot of marketing-communications activity is based around the quality of our in-bound content… and in-bound content is increasingly being tainted by hidden commercial agendas.
With MarComm promotional content, it’s getting harder to tell what is an honest, impartial opinion – and what is really a hidden agenda, masquerading as professional perspective.
We are all drowning in marketing spin! So at what point in time, does it all become too much?
The inhibitive effects of excess choice on decision-making is a well-understood phenomena. Basically, humans are often paralyzed when confronted with excessive options.
Before we can make any kind of decision, we need to be able to weed out many of those possibilities that are making choice difficult.
Then once we have a manageable number of options, we employ whatever means we personally prefer, to whittle down those options (but then again – that’s just one model of the decision-making process I’m referring to. There are more than just a few of those to choose from as well)
It seems no matter how you cut it, when confronted by excessive options, before a human can make a decision, first they have to decide how they are supposed to reach a decision, on the best way to make a decision.
And mind you – that still doesn’t take into effect the fact that in most cases – we do not have enough reliable access to sufficient information to decide rationally…
…so sorry Ayn Rand – there is no such thing as fully-rational or enlightened self interest anymore, when it comes to most decision making… and unfortunately, that also includes deciding whom you can trust.
So I ask you again – how do you measure the value of an outside unsolicited opinion, when its becoming increasingly difficult to separate marketing spin, from helpful insight?
I don’t have an answer for you sorry. The only advice I can give you is you must ALWAYS be utterly and completely honest when expressing yourself professionally.
The world can’t afford any more uncertainty or confusion – it leads to consistent skepticism, and eventually to pervasive mistrust.
Take my advice and follow my lead: ALWAYS tell the brutal truth when asked for your opinion – even if it costs you a sale.
If nothing else, you will be remembered for your honesty.
Given the information age is a myth, and the disinformation age is the reality, complete and utter honesty has never been so valuable.
But you know… that’s just my opinion.
Good luck everybody. 🙂