It is noisy and getting noisier.
If you looked at the internet [or your timeline on your social media], you could rightfully assume that the web is Johannesburg Park Station, with a lot of people moving up and down, talking, announcements, bus noise, train noise, taxi noise and more activity.
If you look at the adverts in magazines you get, you could understandably come to the conclusion that all people buy is cars, clothes, and shoes.
If you watch television, you could be mistaken for thinking that all you watch is adverts with occasional interruptions of Isibaya and news.
If you look at politics, you would think that you are in a bar packed to the rafters with people talking loudly and drinking, no one is listening and occasional fights by drunk patrons.
If you look at economics, you would think that it is all game with players [producers] and spectators [workers] with the aim of the players winning and spectators cheering them on in return for monthly stipend. The players get more bonuses and spectator’s stipends remains the same
Please wait while I take this call…… sorry, another salesperson selling a product of sort… Noise, and more noise everywhere.
Turn on the TV there are over 50 channels, more series TV, drive on the highway there are more billboards on the road, radio has more stations than before, spilling into online, more spam emails than before, more cold calls than before, more shopping malls and more shops than before.
More choice is good but more choice also means more noise.
Noise has filtered into every aspect of our lives, it has filtered into our work, our attention is split between work and social media noise. It has filtered into our relationships, couples on their phones chatting on social media during a lunch date. It has filtered into you families, our kids are on the internet more than being physically active.
We actively seek out noise because of the fear of missing out [FOMO]
The thing is, not all data is equal, and measuring the truth based on the volume is almost certain to get you in trouble.
Being on all social networks, is like turning up the volume knob because it exposes you to more noise.
I’m not encouraging you to ignore the noisy edges. Far from it. The noise makes it far easier than it has ever been before to know where the trends are going to get early indicators of what the fringes of the market are about to spread to the rest.
The danger is being in drawn too deep into the noise that you drown in it and miss the trends and the edges.
Instead of picking the trends from the noise, you become the noise.
It is easier than ever to amplify the noise of the edges, to bring it closer, make it vivid and immerse yourself in it. You could spend all day watching your name or your brand morph among the loud people online.
Just because it is easy, though, does not mean you have to do it at full blast.
What I’m encouraging you to do is to constantly readjust your balance, reduce the volume knob.
Figure out the difference between early warnings and selfish noise.
Figure out what is loud merely because it is angry and personal, and what is loud because it is important.
And most of all, get straight on who you are trying to please, and why.