Your online audience is different…

Picture yourself standing in a public space waiting for a friend to arrive. A complete stranger sidles up beside you.  He catches your attention and whispers: “Buy Tom Murphy Inc. stock, they’ve just won a major contract.” Then just as quickly the stranger moves to the next person beside you and does the same thing.

What are the chances of you buying the stock? Pretty low I’d imagine.

Yet spammers do the online equivalent (500 million times in fairness) and Prime Time Group stock goes through the roof.

I think this gives us three insights:

1) People are less sophisticated online than they are in the real world

2) We treat online information differently

3) I’d question Darwin’s theories on evolution…

So, how does this impact PR? Is education and influence easier online?

Search me.

4 thoughts on “Your online audience is different…

  1. I don’t agree that this means your online audience is different. Spam is about volume. If an army of stangers travelled the world to pull that trick 500 million times in 24 hours, it would probably have to same effect.

    They only need to convince a tiny proportion of people. And if you were one of the first to respond, you’ll have made a profit too, so not everybody who took the advice is a loser.

  2. Thanks for the comment and good point, but I still think it *does* point to a difference.

    As you point out you couldn’t possibly pull that trick 500 millions times in the “real world” – you can online.

    I think that does point to a difference, doesn’t it?

    There’s obviously still a lot of education required in how people are using online tools and while a tiny number of people may have leaped at it and made some money, they will no doubt be getting a call from the feds soon so maybe they’re not so smart after all :-)


  3. Influence online as always depends on the audience. My old Martha Stewart pr blog still gets hurried emails from consumers pissed about a set of sheets or other MSL product they purchased. This means they found me through Google. Clicked and without even looking for a Martha pic or logo, left a comment on the blog. The interface is boilerplate via Blogger and lowtech. One assumes the savvy consumer spending five seconds on the blog would figure out it has no real connection to the MSLO mothership. The folks posting comments about low thread count are probably the target market for the 500 million spam.

  4. So surely this is the point: ‘you couldn’t possibly pull that trick 500 millions times in the “real world” – you can online.’

    And so it’s the medium, not the audience, that’s different. This is possible because it’s so incredibly cheap.

    Anyone who’s worked in a customer facing role knows that some people are very stupid and while they may only be a small proportion, they still wind you up.

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