How many of you know the phrase, “when it rains it pours”?
My guess is most of you. Now stop and think for a moment, do you know where that comes from?
This audience may have a better idea than most, but many people in their 20’s and 30’s probably don’t have a clue that this iconic phrase we originally the tag line for Morton’s Salt. The line was written to illustrate the point that
Morton Salt was free flowing even in rainy weather after the company began adding magnesium carbonate as an absorbing agent to its table salt in 1911 to ensure that it poured freely.
Though the literal meaning spelled out core benefits of the product, the metaphoric nature of the phrase fit perfectly into a variety of every day human situations. And thus, the phrase was woven into the fabric of society. When this advert was created, mass conversations amongst the average person was not the norm. Underlying perceptions within society at large were shaped by mass media and therefore cultural conversations were primarily shaped and disseminated in a top-down fashion.
Fast forward to today.
Mass conversation and expression tools are instruments of the masses. It is increasingly difficult for brands, or anyone for that matter, to shape culture. Memes spawned from public forums now play a major role in cultural conversations—and anyone can have a voice in these conversations. Many brands have adopted content curation in lieu of content creation—and why not? Here are two popular examples:
If curating content is enough to be part of cultural conversations, why go through the trouble of creating content? The necessary question is, what is a more effective way to be part of cultural conversations, creation or curation?
Obviously, there is no right answer and most likely, as with all things in life, the closest thing to the truth lies somewhere in the middle. That said, I wanted to open a forum on this topic and would love to hear from you.
What do you think?