Propaganda is easily recognised in hindsight. The ownership of a particular narrative that is repeated through, radio, tv, magazines, banners, flyers and government officials.
Looking back in history we can clearly see where propaganda has been strategically used to guide and forcefully used the media to persuade the masses to achieve a specific goal. We look back in disgust when you see certain books being sold to every single person, the government having control of the radio and printing companies, people being shamed and humiliated for simply asking questions about the general narrative, specific programs being taught in schools and nudging scientists, doctors and people of influence in certain directions through bribery and payment.
However, today, I've been pondering the responsibility we ALL share in creating a propaganda monster machine due to our incessant need for attention grabbing clips.
Propaganda is vilified for obvious reasons, somewhere along the way though the psychology of propaganda has been hijacked as an effective marketing tool to push products and services to stand out from a crowd and create a need and desire for the next 'in' thing.
We see these propaganda techniques used in marketing campaigns.
- Emotional appeals,
- In and out groups
- First in
- Count down
- Social proof/bandwagon effect
The question is for our modern world...
Is all marketing just propaganda and is all propaganda just marketing?
We used to look at propaganda as a one-way influence from the powers that be. In the past, people would speak to each other and try to find the underground opposing views. The governments were not rewarded for their propaganda - they had to flood the air waves, over and over.
Now, we see the propaganda and media outlets being rewarded by views, even in disgust or hate watching - It benefits them simply by having the eyes watching it.
They receive ads, sponsorship and deals for the clear propaganda that is put out there.
We look to places of authority, experts, industries and media outlets for the correct information - unbiased, boring facts that have no spin.
They didn't treat their viewers like friends or idiots - they were the bridge between the information and your own opinion.
Their audience capture and demographic now dictate what and how the information is seen - because our eyeballs mean more than the truth.
That is where propaganda is born.
Now with propaganda and convoluted efforts to script en masse' through multiple platforms the same message as well as the approved opinion and outcome for everyone to follow.
- The band wagon effect.
However, in a click bait, attention-based society have we pushed these industries from news and facts to just another entertainment and algorithmic attention machine?
We want shiny, we want egregious, we want polarisation, we want two sides, we need a dopamine download even with the information that shouldn't be treated like a marketing campaign. We want an in group out group validation - look at the left and right media.
We want exclusivity, scarcity and ego driven platforms that make us feel like we KNOW the REAL information and to be connected to the truth, more than anyone else.
Think about how we consume content, the clicks and views that we watch.
We want social proof and jump onto viral videos to see what the latest trend is.
We want to show that we are the most charitable and moral.
We want to hate watch and react to clips that we can generate views and obscure views for the validation of opinion.
We want to be exclusive, first see viewers who had the information to be the wiser and more politically entrenched.
We want moral high points and being the most compassionate or the biggest anti authority.
Conspiracy theorists and mainstream media devouts' have the same thing in common.
- To know more of the 'CORRECT' information in the right group. WE want to be right, not challenged. Whether anti or pro any topic.
Have we, as the 24/7 consumers, low attention spans and dopamine hit addicts pushed every single news media outlet, scientific group, political speakers, independent news source, twitter feed and website - to become the most sensationalized by adjusting the truth to be marketable rather than integral?
Propaganda requires a goal; marketing requires a sale. What if the goal is the sale? What if the sale completes the goal?
Lately I have been listening to everything as an opinion piece. I need three news sources - Right, left and centre.
We used to have facts. straight up facts.
Now, we have OUR facts and 'they' have their facts.
Audience capture means they can't go against their demo or niche audience and keep to a narrative that keeps the money coming in.
That is propaganda.
But who do we blame for the propaganda? The person who creates it or the person who demands it.
The people who create their businesses, government statements and politics that make every word a movie script (with exaggeration and background music) to meet our desperate need to be entertained, ego stroked so we continue to listen.
The consumers who desperately need to be entertained so we validate these industries and businesses and government with watch time, retweets and comments to validate the content we WANT to see, not what we NEED to see?
Propaganda or marketing, at this point doesn't really matter when we ONLY value the most important information being delivered in the most entertaining ways. We create the need for trusted sources and industries to exaggerate, embellish and be antagonistic, an audience captured bias rather than prioritizing truth and trust in the audience to make up their own mind...
So, what can we do to limit the propaganda and marketing machine?
We need to disincentive news, government and medical/scientific officials to play in the realm of entertainment, instead reward good reporting.
We need the like and dislike button on posts to show genuine feelings towards articles.
Regulation on mainstream media around accountability to retract, apologise for incorrect statements linked to original articles.
Requesting full studies and research when media, businesses and governments site them in articles and statements.
Support local and independent media who are already prioritizing truth and showing sources and information clearly.
Supporting freedom of the press and making sure we have all media able to access press conferences and government briefings.
Personal responsibility for social media use, intentional use when looking at the news. Interacting and asking questions in the comments and require them answer.
Email the media, government communication representatives to expand and provide additional information.
Be aware of the fear mongering that isn't represented in your real life. Look out to your life... Is it as bad as they make it out to be? Understand and question their motives and their benefits.
Put the phone, tablet down and volunteer in your community, the antidote to propaganda is real life and engagement with people. In a world where marketing, advertising, propaganda, misinformation and nudge campaigns are openly used, require more truth, dig into the information further and read the studies and research directly.
Knowledge is power.
About the Author.
Hi! I'm Sam. Mother to two boys and Partner to Aron, my main focus is always my family. Which is why I'm so passionate about social culture and what's going on the world because I want to guide my family to a healthy, supportive and free society for their future. I have home schooled, became a multi business owner and ran a movement through covid and want to share how you can create and provide for your family even if it means going against the 'norm'.
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