Tech anecdote applies to politics, and marketing
August 24, 2006, 1:22 pm
Filed under: candidates/campaigns/elections, marketing

This from Tim O’Reilly’s blog describes a phenomenon that applies to politics:

In the meetings, there would be great developer debate, but from time to time, one of the representatives would (apologies to Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light) put on his “corporate aspect.” His posture would change, the timbre of his voice would deepen, and he would shift to the third person. Rather than “I think,” he would say “Apollo believes” or “Digital believes.”

This phenomenon manifests itself subtly, in different ways with different people…

When some people become candidates, they start projecting what they think candidates should sound like, rather than being more themselves AS a candidate…

When others run for the first time and win, and start holding office for a while, they get so enmeshed in jargon and insiderey-ness, that they start sounding like the “Digital believes” drone described above. (This also occurs because no one ever tells an incumbent officeholder to shut up when they start droning)

Less abstract examples are John Kerry and Al Gore, who are, by most accounts, smart and funny and ingratiating in person– but when put in a public-speaking role or in front of a camera, become stentorian (“And I say to you…”).

The American Experience could be described as a relentless drive toward informality where those in charge (or want to be) are judged by how much of a “regular” person they are– but the measure of “regularness” is moving.


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