Monday, August 11, 2008

Misperception of reality: The creative class

Perception is reality. I perceive the world as it? I perceive all children in Lake Wobegon to be above average. Are they?

I perceive that there is a creative class in human society. Is there?

Jeff Jarvis has a well-thought post on the Myth of the Creative Class...and how that myth is being shattered in what he calls the Google Age. The Google Age, to my mind, is a creative way of encapsulating the previously explored trends of cheap computing; always-on, interconnected relationships; and a transparent society into an easy-to-pronounce label.

From the post at Jarvis' Buzz Machine site (full version here):

"...The internet doesn’t make us more creative, I don’t think. But it does enable what we create to be seen, heard, and used. It enables every creator to find a public, the public he or she merits. And that takes creation out of the proprietary hands of the supposed creative class.

Internet curmudgeons argue that Google et al are bringing society to ruin precisely because they rob the creative class of its financial support and exclusivity: its pedestal. But internet triumphalists, like me, argue that the internet opens up creativity past one-size-fits-all mass measurements and priestly definitions and lets us not only find what we like but find people who like what we do. The internet kills the mass, once and for all. With it comes the death of mass economics and mass media, but I don’t lament that, not for a moment."

The notion of the online world enabling a creative meritocracy seems particularly relevant to marketers and agencies. As marketers, we don't have to rely on assertions of superiority: be they about our approach to the four P's, our client's prospects and customers, or our 'creative' product.

In the pre-Google Age (also known as the Mass Age) one could assert, for instance, that half the advertising worked, but that it was impossible to know which half. In the Google Age, we can put such assertions to the test and evaluate them against the facts.

In the Google Age one can know whether any part of our marketing works at all and, if so, how it can work better.

In the Google Age, creative isn't a department.

Perception may be an easy existence in our own private Idaho's. In the Google Age, reality will set us free of our delusions...Class dismissed.

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