Welcome to the Emotion Web

Read this post in: French

The Web, the engine of our hyper-connected world, is now real time, whether on our personal part or in Enterprise, and, wish it or not, there is no way back. Jeremiah Owyang recently stated that the trend toward immediacy will go even further, leaving place for the Intention Web, allowing “Businesses [to] provide a more contextualized experience for customers or prospects using Social CRM”.

But as convincing the examples he gives are, I don’t believe that time acceleration will give birth to a new predictive marketing. As Albert Einstein said, “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” Why should brands bother to bid on customers’ intent, when a huge untapped world of opportunities already exists? Welcome to the frightening Emotion Web.

There is no need to go as far as French philosopher Paul Virillio did a few months ago, stating that “immediacy is the opposite of information”, but it becomes obvious that immediacy (as induced by real time tools) doesn’t leave room for critical or deep thinking, and instead favors affective reactions. Examples of empathy-driven manifestations are numerous (the Iranian elections movement, mass reactions to accidents or striking events, notably on Twitter, where a lot of charities have already taken the Real Time Web into (positive) action.

Empathy marketing is just a step away, allowing brands to raise sentiment through contextualized messages. A few years ago, Patrick Le Lay, former CEO of French TV channel TF1, said “he was selling minutes of available brain” when interviewed about TV advertising. I don’t think it will take long before businesses start to consider the Real Time Web as a real opportunity and find here a way to regain control about their brands.

It might be even more frightening than you think. Driving empathy through carefully chosen channels is a thing, but just consider what would happen if, instead of empathy, one would choose to raise hate… From Motrin to United, uses of social media to bash brands aren’t uncommon already… I don’t believe in the Intention Web, but am really concerned about the Emotion Web, and the way it might influence our lives, for better or for worse.

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4 Responses to Welcome to the Emotion Web

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Welcome to the Emotion Web | Sonnez en cas d'absence -- Topsy.com

  2. autom says:

    bonne année/happy new year Thierry!

    a refreshing and thoughtful post to start of the work week. the “Emotion Web” as you describe, is indeed a very real and integral aspect of the frenetic socialization evolving online. the web *is* meant to have an obviously strong social dimension—which is why we coin the term “social media”, and those who fuss (or even despair) over the term “social media” not being an accurate term for what we are now witnessing as a revolutionary change in communications might as well start calling it “web media”..but i digress slightly, only, of course, to segue right to my point:

    i think that what you’ve highlighted here, in terms of the potential for the “Emotion Web” social to fundamentally influence us through various social (web) channels, is a subtlety that is automatically incorporated as part and parcel of social media’s viability as tool of persuasion; ergo, an online mechanism, which—while supposedly functions in the name of transparency and democratization—is equally capable of being used to manipulate intent and influence emotional behaviour.

    i always get a kick out of reading your posts..it must be because i am naturally drawn to writing influenced by French philosophers (most of whom are existentialists ; )

    • Thierry de Baillon says:

      Lol. Happy New Year to you, Autom.
      I totally agree with you, emotional behavior is part of “social media” dna, and self-expression and persuasion are the two sides of the same coin. What strikes me here, is that, while valuing reputation and karma at individual level, they open the doors to mass manipulation.

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