Digital Islands of Common Interest
Digital islands of common interests refers to how the Internet is enabling us collectively to congregate with others with whom we share a common interest.
From Google Groups and Meetup.com to millions of other websites, we can now more easily find people with whom we share a common interest.
The good news is the Internet makes it easy to find people with whom you share a common interest. Want to share tips and techniques about training German Shepard’s? You’ll find a site (or 12) on just that.
The bad news is the Internet allows us to avoid bumping into people with whom we disagree.
Bad for Political Discourse, Good for Commerce
Sociologists say this is bad for political discourse, as we collectively benefit from hearing points of view we disagree with. This phenomenon is causing increased polarization of our political discusses and processes, but this phenomenon great for commerce.
When you sell a specialty item, whether it is dog sweaters with sports teams emblems, or wine made from a specific grape, or competitive throwing knives, or combo jackets and sleeping bags that keep you warm down to -50 degrees, the Internet allows you to gather your crowd to your website based around your product or service helping them with this common interest.
This process is known as Inbound Marketing and is as different from mass marketing as the subway is from private jets.
Mass Marketing and Why It’s Declining (Slowly)
The mass marketing we have all come to know is based on an advertiser sending a message into a very large audience of people with the fore knowledge that most people who hear or see the message do not care. They’re not buying now and they may never buy.
For this reason these messages are repeated over and over and over until they’re burned into our grey matter.
The problem with mass marketing is two fold:
- It’s become too pervasive. We are now all exposed to about 4,000 advertising impressions every day.
- As we become busier (and over time we have) we’re learning to “conserve attention” for things that are more deserving. Our brains can only process so much at any given time. We filter out interruptions that are less urgent to allow room for interruptions that are more urgent. For most of us, most of the time, nothing is less urgent that laundry detergent or a new car or whatever. We’re busy people. Ads are interruptions that are easy to ignore. We’re getting better at ignoring them.
What is Replacing Mass Marketing
…. is this phenomenon of us congregating around common interests.
This is also not a new idea.
In 1895 John Deere starting publishing a quarterly magazine called The Furrow which was provided free of charge to farmers in the American midwest. It contained articles of interest to farmers. From the perspective of John Deere it’s purpose was to help sell tractors. It did so by being useful to people who buy tractors.
When you mimic on your website what John Deere did with the Furrow, and you do so taking advantage of the mechanics of how Internet organic traffic search works, you’re doing Inbound Marketing.
Gathering your audience to your website through publishing interesting and useful articles and stories, the converting some visitors into prospects and customers serves both you AND your prospects and customers.
You increase your visibility and your leads. They find something they have a genuine interest in. You know this because if they didn’t, they would never have found your website in the first place.
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