I'll go further.
William Gibson is a God.
(If the blues-loving hipsters of the '60s could declare Clapton to be God, I can call Gibson "a God". The addition of the "the" makes all the difference...)
But I digress.
If you're unfamiliar, William Gibson is an author. His work is considered "speculative fiction" He's credited with coining the term "cyberspace". His writings have influenced countless stories told in all media. Did you see Blade Runner? If so, you saw one of Gibson's myriad visions realized.
The opening sentence of Neuromancer, his multiple-award winning debut novel (and speculative fiction milestone) exemplifies his taut prose.
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
But I digress, again...
There are a lot of smart people out there. Some, however, are better at communicating their observations than others.
I call Gibson a God because he has a profound understanding of the zeitgeist and its implications for "normal" people.
I think that marketing is increasingly what we do as a culture. We're much less of a culture that manufactures objects. Now we farm that out and work on the idea of it and selling it later. That's been one of the changes I've seen in the course of my life that I wouldn't have imagined....it wasn't all marketing all the time which [is] what we've gotten to in the 21st century.
There's an Internet meme that we're all curators, and that our online identities are carefully-selected, idealized versions of (some aspect of) ourselves. We're our own avatars.
Either way, Gibson observes:
When the 'I am a brand' thing becomes the folk wisdom how do you do science fiction? How do you do it If something that strange has become what kids tell each other in grade 7: "Gotta be a brand, man."
How do you do science fiction in that environment? Well, Gibson solved that; he's already written it.
But for us, gentle readers, how do we navigate our electronic lives, live "real" lives, and balance our identities?
How do we establish and maintain our electronic identities in this stranger-than-fiction era?
It can go badly, quickly. Consider LeBron James. He wanted to be a "global icon".
He has. But for many observers, for the wrong reasons. When you're referred to as a "global icon for arrogance", that's bad. Is he still making millions? Absolutely. But I have to believe that valid criticism hurts.
And what of organizations? I'm just li'l old me. I think I have a handle on my online footprint. But what happens when that footprint is distributed without direction? Certainly, I lose control of the message. Probably, I lose control of the image. In either case, I lose control of my brand.
It is true that we "do marketing" increasingly as part of our jobs.
It is also true that we need to be mindful and directional with our activities, as individuals and organizations.
Mindless, directionless energy is a great name for a great punk rock album. It's not such a great method of managing our virtual lives.
How are you handling the challenge?