Much has been written about the wisdom – and madness – of crowds, but now it’s becoming increasingly obvious that any social movement or business enterprise requires at least some level of collaboration and cooperation with like-minded individuals.
When it’s creative we call it teamwork or synergistic, and when it’s destructive we call it herd mentality or mob rule. But every effective crowd needs a common goal or purpose. Whether it’s to build the next tech giant, or change the world, one skeptic at a time, people need a vision, a raison d’être they can coalesce around.
Crowds attract crowds, and modern crowds are first recruited in cyberspace, long before they make their physical presence felt. Some mobs start with an acronym, and stay virtual indefinitely; that way they can transcend countries and continents, shifting their center of gravity toward their most ardent members.
Let’s not blame the tech and social platforms for the exponential rise in digital tribes and special interest groups in recent years. Memes are as old as history, and the first religion. From the Aztecs to Xhosa cattle herders to liberal democracies, societies have relied on memes to bind them. Ideas just travel so much faster now, and grow, sometimes out of control.
The coronavirus plague of 2020 was followed by a series of ‘meme plagues’; people don’t trust authorities or the government – understandably; science is a matter of opinion; and unshakable belief is so contagious. Outlandish conspiracy stories have been proven, while others, like the antivax meme, have caused untold harm. These are the Crazy Years.
The perfect storm is on us. So, gather up your brand army; with a powerful purpose and faith in a better future, we can create tomorrow. With the right crowd.