The demise of the cult and rise of niche normality

16Oct07

‘Ruby’ makes a great post today when she discussed what happened at the Edelman’s recent PR 2.0 Summit. One of the areas she focused on was the demise of the cult, specifically:

…it’s increasingly difficult to be different, hidden or secret when we share so much information so often

…‘no true underground exists anymore’ … Imagine what that means today when we are throwing our knowledge and insights ‘out there’ within 140 characters every 8 minutes, crafting posts, catching images, telling each other what we saw, when, how and where…

I completely agree. One thing that the 2.0 world has brought us is ‘niche normality’.

This term (which surprisingly doesn’t appear in any Technorati searches) complements the whole long tail discussion. Expanding Ruby’s analogy (and yes I would love not to use her pseudonym), cults used to thrive on their rebellious stance against the masses. Taking a cult to its extreme – some cults through the Internet found like-minded individuals who shared their belief system. When previously a group was so far from the mainstream they considered themselves a cult – the rise of global community communications has enabled their niche to become normal.

Where does this leave us?

Cults are not on the demise they are just more visible.

Niche normality has enabled people to form global communities of people ‘just like me’. This inevitably is a good thing as trust is most commonly found in peers not from mass media.

I applaud the demise of the cult and rise of niche normality. The only caveat that is that the niche needs to keep in mind that their views are not necessarily held in agreement by the masses. The mere fact they have found a community that shares their opinion does not mean their opinion is right.

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