For those of us who work online, we’ve known for some time that while truth is a lovely ideal, perception is king. When we pick up “parenting” magazines in the grocery store line, we see the same DVD’s “carefully chosen and recommended” that have been offered to us for review, and we can name the firm that suggested the copy and maybe even the intern. When we read “news” magazines we search the fine print to discover that informational pieces are really advertorials – stories suggested in return for ad revenue, most likely in the form of a number that would make my head spin. As bloggers we have the choice to participate in online editorial outreach – copy suggestions from these same agencies – or not. In my case, I welcome the stories that I truly find worthwhile and decline those I do not. And when I receive a product, I don’t write a glowing report with glossy pictures unless it is well deserved and unless I fully disclose it on my site and in the individual post. In this way, many bloggers are already a head above traditional media when it comes to integrity, and the traditional media knows this. Perhaps this is why they continue in most cases to slam bloggers, particularly moms, at every turn.
What initially inspired this post? My first inspiration came when I walked away from a tense situation realizing that I was being asked to prove the non-existence of something that didn’t exist. Sound strange? It was, and it is when I first realized that perception is the new truth, and unless I changed others perception to what I knew to be the truth, I would lose the fight. Fast forward to my recent vacation to Disney. I spent some time giving a brief interview over my Blackberry while running from our hotel room to the monorail. Why was this interview so important during what was meant to be my one week of the year away from the hustle and bustle? It was the interview when a major publication would announce to the advertising world that I invented what has become a popular marketing technique. As I slumped into my seat on the monorail and expressed my hope that the story would make it to press, my mom looked puzzled. “Doesn’t everyone already know that you created that?” she asked innocently. “How could anyone else take credit for what you did?”
It’s all about who is able to change their perception of the truth.. Because perception is the new truth.
Now a member of the blogging community has suffered an unimaginable and tragic loss. One person, for motives beyond what any logical person can surmise, has decided to make it her mission this holiday season to dirty the name of this grieving woman to an extent that I have never before seen. News stories as far away as Australia cry out with headlines filled with inaccuracies ranging from “Mom tweets son’s death” (she did not) to “Twitter followers outraged” (we were not). Will any of these news outlets verify this information with these “outraged” Twitter followers? No. Because they all have one source and they are all simply recantations of one story.
Perception is the new truth. And it makes me sick.