Traveling back from Denver (a couple of weeks ago) I was reading an article from Wired Magazine entitled The Hacker Historian. It is an interview with the writer and historian George Dyson who wrote the book called Turing’s Cathedral. The book tells the story of Alan Turing and the small group of people who built the first computer and the h-Bomb (hydrogen bomb). Sounds like a good book right? Exactly. I’m here to talk about branding. While the majority of the interview is about the Turing and the h-bomb, Mr. Dyson talks about an idea surrounding the “digital organism.” Here is an excerpt from the article:
Digital organisms while not necessarily any more alive than a phone book, are strings of code that replicate and evolve over time. Digital codes are strings of binary digits – bits. A Pixar movie is just a very large number, replicated across hundreds of millions of computers and constantly in use. Google is a fantastically large number, so large it is almost beyond comprehension, distributed and replicated across all kinds of hosts. When you click a link, you are replicating the string of code that it links to. Replication of code sequences isn’t life, any more than replication of nucleotide sequences is, but we know that it sometimes leads to life.
Sounds like something Morpheus would say. Side note – I love the Matrix movies. After reading the article, I started thinking about the social media ecosystem and the amount of code being shared over sites like Twitter and Facebook. This code… this binary code… is being replicated by the personality and willpower of millions upon millions of people from customers and friends to relatives and family. This binary code while “not anymore alive than a phone book” is being generated by individuals who are very much alive. From a business standpoint, the social media organism… the tiny bits of binary code… is the core of your brand. It represents the thousands upon millions of conversations and social actions happening that are direct related to your brand story. Isn’t branding simply the thoughts, opinions, and perceptions of people being replicated and shared over time?
We (humans) have the ability to interrupt the code… change the code… build within the code.“When you click a link, you are replicating the string of code that it links to.” The social media organism is digital.. of course. It is a string of binary digitals and bits forming this “fantastically” large structure that changes as we interact by clicking and sharing. It is THE true brand identity.
What should be the goal for marketers when dealing with this binary, changing and social organism? Actually using the data being generated by the individual’s creating the code… The people generating the clicks and applying the to a personalized set of marketing tools.
On top of that, it is important to collaborate with this organism and build content that is so tightly interwoven into the fabric of the brand… you can’t tell where the marketing message stops and the customer story begins. Millions of pieces of data joining together as we type away, sharing our thoughts and opinions over the world wide web.
Do you need a better reason to invest in your digital marketing infrastructure?