Noise. It’s the epidemic that’s been increasingly engulfing our planet over the past 100 years. It’s the media plague that drives men to praise their TiVo’s for their god-like ability to skip commercials and quickly get us back to watching our favorite sports team or evening sitcom.

Like the besieged La Roque Castle, our culture is under attack. We are bombarded on every side and at every moment with sales pitches. We face commercials on the radio, on television, on YouTube, in the newspapers, on billboards and on the sides of trucks. We’re pitched to  support aspiring artists on the street, to buy a vacuum cleaner from the door-to-door salesman, and to buy roses from the peddler on the corner.

It was this onslaught that drove Jim Carry’s character in Liar Liar to scream out, “I just want to get from the car to my office without being confronted by the decay of western society. Plus I’m cheap.”

The Business of Conversation

There is a battle raging amongst businesses; A war is being fought for the attention of consumers.

It’s this onslaught that drives consumers to channel surf during the commercial breaks, to worship their TiVo’s as we mentioned above, and to install ad-blockers on their internet browsers.

This culture of advertisement bombardment creates a dilemma: people don’t want to hear about your product. They don’t care. The information, the savings, the usefulness of your product isn’t worth the noise they’ll have to endure to discover and learn about it.

As a business person, you’re faced with a daunting challenge. You’re faced with the task of marketing your business, your content or your products in a world where people don’t want to hear about your business, your content or your products.

So how do you get it done with any real level of success?

First, you don’t get discouraged. Cultural shifts don’t mean defeat, so second, you learn how communication is changing, you grow in your understanding of online consumers and you adapt to meet the needs of our modern culture.

If you think you can handle those tasks then keep reading and let’s take a journey together.

Broadcast Media vs. Conversational (Social) Media

Broadcast Media vs. Conversational Social Media

Human culture is in a constant state of evolution, and as such everything about the way that we live our lives today is different than the eras of our parents or grandparents.

…Just take a look at your average magazine iPad app. It’s essentially a PDF that you can touch. It’s like paper. It’s one way. It’s broadcast.

But the future of publishing, of media in general, isn’t broadcast. As humans, we’re on an unwavering path to make it easier to communicate with one another…

Successful media endeavors of the near future will embrace experience, engagement, and conversation.

~ Christopher Fahey & Timothy Meaney in Conversation is the New Attention

As we move forward through time, it seems that there are some folks who are working relentlessly to marry our culture to technology. Communication in our era is being rapidly redefined by the technology that’s being rolled out. Instead of sending a letter to someone we care about, we now post on their Facebook wall, message them on twitter, or send them a video message from our phone.

This technology creates both the dilemma we discussed above and the solution to that dilemma. TiVo’s condition viewers to skip commercials, Twitter trains users to chat on their smart phones during conferences, and Facebook allows people to share photos during events. In a very large way, it’s this technology that’s fueling this rejection of the old-school, noisy forms of media, advertising and presentation.

Blaming the audience for lack of interest is a cardinal sin. You can walk away, throw in the towel, and give up while cursing our modern generation for no longer responding to the ad inserts you’ve been publishing in the declining newspaper for the past 20 years, or you can embrace the very technology that’s creating this dilemma and adapt it to create a solution.

Adapting to the New Age of Conversation

As a speaker, you can force users to turn off their cell phones and put away laptop computers as you speak forcing audience members to appear to be paying attention.

But this is the wrong answer.

Instead, find ways to adapt, and deliver your message in a way that’s more exciting and more personal. Instead of forcing a captive audience to pretend they’re paying attention to you, step up your game and give them something they’ll be tweeting to their friends about.

Mass, one-way broadcast media isn’t dead, but it’s well on its way, and in its place conversational social media is quickly rising. Conversational media is the new rising star of our era, not because it’s cool or trendy, but because it allows businesses and entrepreneurs to connect with consumers (vertical conversation) while consumers are simultaneously connecting with one another (horizontal conversation). And, of course, sometimes the conversation finds it’s way into the traditional news outlets and throughout the blogosphere (viral conversation).

Broadcast Media vs. Conversational Media

Be part of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish instead of being the social media island. Be the marketing team, not the social media person. Be the sales person who uses new tools, not the social media sales person. Tell stories using the tools to grow business; don’t use the tools because they’re cool.

The whole trick of it is that the work is embedding in the larger picture. It’s not going away. It’s mainstreaming.

~ Chris Brogan in Where the Work Is Going

Some businesses already understand these facts and work hard to position themselves to be promoted across social media. For example, Levi’s is building an entire section of their site around jeans and products that your friends have ‘liked’ on Facebook. Local restaurants and retailers offer healthy discounts for Foursquare check-ins and mayorships.

In the end, however, all that matters is how you decide to use social media to grow your business, connect with your potential customers, and increase sales.

What’s your plan?

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.


  • Brad says:

    I like the cut of your jib. Everything I’m learning is that share you need to share your knowledge and give value to your audience. Eventually that info positions you or your business into the drivers seat for whatever product to service you have.

    Good read!

  • Kavya Hari says:

    I like your article, Nicholas because it could be short and sweet article. Thank you for sharing here 🙂

  • Social media is a great way to interact with your readers as well as know more people around you, to explore your network.

  • Tivos do have a God like ability!

    Man, you crushed it on this one.

    Awesome points as usual man. It is a constant battle and the way we reach people is certainly evolving at a rapid rate.

    Old strategies are dead, new ones are blowing up.. or exploding… OH.. no bomb talk, I forgot. (LOL)

    I agree completely that the old marketing message just doesn’t have the same effect. Screaming “I have the answers,” just doesn’t compare to being there in social, with you followers, audience or customers.

    I’m witnessing this and learning along the way as well. I think guys like Gary Vaynerchuk do a great job of realistically explaining exactly what is going on, as well as what we can expect from the future.

    Another precise article, Nick. We must all adapt.

  • OK, I’m a little confused…television and offline media is full of bad salespeople.

    Take it online to social media which is not saturated with the same??

    No wait. That couldn’t possibly be the message, is it?

    Truth be told, where there are marketers, there is sales saturation, the medium quickly becomes irrelevant.

    • You are right. That’s not the message.

      Think about the example I gave of Levi’s. They’re not using social media to broadcast or push their message out. They’re leveraging it to get people talking about their products to one another in the form of facebook likes.

      Instead of advertising to the world that cool people like their jeans, they simply create their website in a way that makes it easy for folks to engage their friends on social networking sites which quickly moves the conversation from solely vertical to horizontal. Instead of seeing a random dude with a pair of Levi’s on in a commercial, you see a close friend on their website recommending it to you.

      Of course, this is just one small example.

      The key is properly leveraging social media to allow conversations to take place and then creating products, services and customer service that will inspire conversations at these levels.

  • Laura Click says:

    Fantastic post, Nicholas. You brilliantly articulated the shift that’s taking place – both in society and how marketers and businesses must communicate their messages to a world with an ever-fragmented attention span.

    Seth Godin recently wrote about this. He said there are two types of people – hungry (those who are desperately looking for a solution to their problem) or guarded (those who are trying to shut out all of the noise). You have to know who you are marketing to in order to be successful.

    • That’s funny that you mention that article as I just read it as well. I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. His material is absolutely terrific and he was exactly right in that article.

  • Allie says:


    I stand firm as an offline business owner with my husband- word of mouth and references from others can play a huge role in your companies success. Many small businesses rely on it. We have.

    Social media is just faster, more efficient word of mouth online.

    It is true, our communication culture is changing. We need to see social media as the norm in business instead of a toy to play with.

    The message is still there, but the way it is delivered has changed.


  • Social media reminds me of when a new gaming console is launched. At first, it looks awesome, even if everything kinda looks alike. Then, you become used to it, until new stuff comes out. The more time passes, the most awesome games are created, making full use of the technology.
    The more social media will permeate everything we do, the most original and awesome uses for it we will find. I am sure 2-3 years ago we wouldn’t imagine pictures from a party would be shared with friends across the ocean not after the party but DURING it. It’s happening now and that’s the first stupid example that came to my mind.
    It’s not just about sprinkling “social” on top of your company, but integrating it as you would with any other ASSET (stress on asset!).

  • Hi Nicholas,

    You are right, the old advertising tricks are no longer as effective as they once were. There is a new era of marketing upon us. We all have a choice of which way to go. Personally I choose Facebook over them all.

    The like button is becoming more and more influential. I noticed for the first time a few weeks ago that movies are starting to create their own like/fan pages for advertising.

    It’s like you said “give them something they can tweet to their friends about” the more tweets and likes you get the more the viral process helps your business.

    Great post Nicholas 😀

    Dan Sumner

    • Thanks, Daniel. I’m with you. Although I prefer Twitter to Facebook, I find great value in both. The like, share, send, and tweet features are incredibly powerful especially when you combine them with some stellar content that people want to share. It’s a great era that we live in.

  • ah hong says:

    You’re right, Nick. There’s too many noise in the broadcast and I hate it especially when there’s lots of noisy commercial broadcast from my car radio during the journey to work.

    There’s no personal touch at all and I rather switch off the radio and turn on my iPod 😀

  • Dave says:

    I agree with you. I feel that social media has created a new environment out there which in which trends can be found and harnessed. While, social media started and in most cases is used for “socializing” I believe is used responsibly it is a great venue for business!

    Thank You!

  • Anthony Lee says:

    This is fantastic. Reminds me of that book by Seth Godin the Idea Virus. It focuses on how important it is that you provide meaningful content that can be easily shared through social media.
    I like the analogy you use about being a speaker too. It gave some great ideas about how to integrate social media into a speaking event so that you AREN’T that guy asking everyone to please put their phones on silent.
    good stuff mate.

    • Thanks, Anthony. I think that a lot of people are really missing the boat when it comes to social media. I think that folks should be stepping up their game, building conversations and making it easy for folks to talk with them and about them on social media.

  • I absolutely love this. I’d forgotten that little scene in Liar Liar, but I remember cheering because it’s something I’ve been wanting to say, but he said it better than I could.

    It’s true. I don’t care one whit for any of the ads that I see. I know what I want, and what I need, and if at all possible, I ask my friends and try out their –whatever I’m wanting– for myself. If I like it, I buy my own.

    No amount of advertising ever changed my mind about any product once I’d made up my mind.


    • Although I’m not 100% opposed to ads, I am very similar to you. I would much rather take the advice of a friend than listen to a sales pitch. That’s for sure.

      • I think some ads are necessary to work serious on a blog. I don’t like the sale pitching spammy blog post , but I think people have to accept some ads to support hard working bloggers

        • I actually agree with you and considering how much you can make in this online sphere, it’s very important to find the right balance in order to make strong profits while continuing to support and please your community.

  • Kavya Hari says:

    Initially, social media is one of the great platform to interact with all the peoples with the great support in it 🙂 Thank you so much for given here 🙂

  • Leah Baade says:

    Thanks for this post, Nicholas. I think it all boils down to content and providing useful or interesting information that people are already seeking. Whether you’re focusing your efforts online or off, creating something that people are looking for is sure to be a draw.
    I always enjoy your blog!

  • jamesthejust says:

    Damn. That was an awesome read, that’s all I have to say to you, Nicholas.

Leave a Reply