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The Cascade Of Influence…

Old communications rules said that information cascades from the most reputable source outwards – in a very linear and exclusive fashion – often based on a media scoop. Thus, we sought to influence the most important folks in our respective ecosystems.

New rule. Listen to the ecosystem. Information emanates from inside the ecosystem. Thoughts, observations, news… they all are replicated and filtered. And the more they are, the more they reach outwards towards the masess. Linear communications models are dead.

There is a great example making it’s way around the web. Steve Rubel has captured it nicely on the IAOC website.

The Kryptonite Bike Lock Company is one who should have listened. Consider the following chain of events. On September 12, 2004, a forum poster at bikeforums.net noted that he can open his Kryptonite lock with a Bic pen. One day later, one of his fellow bikeforums.net forum members posts video of lock being picked, verifying the salacious claim. Before I go on with the story, think for a moment what might have happened had the company been listening and using monitoring tools and had learned of this incident while it was in this early embryonic stage. They might have been able to have prevent what happened next.

On September 14, Metafilter – a group edited site – picked up the trail. This was quickly followed by Engadget and dozens of other bloggers. Still, Kryptonite remained silent, probably unaware of the tsunami that was at their doorstep.

Finally, just a few days after the initial forum post, the story leaped into the mainstream media with a story on September 23 in The New York Times. “The Pen is Mightier Than the Lock,” the Times headline screamed. Finally, only after the New York Times ran their story, did the company awake from its slumber and post a statement on their Web site. But by then it was too late. AP and dozens of other media outlets had picked up the trail.

While I am offering my own perspective on this, the message is the same. Communications will be less about communicating and more about listening. Thanks to Steve for a terrific story… RSS his site, well worth the read…

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