Social objects and magic feathers

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

I’m an enthusiastic participant in the whole “social object” conversation. (Hugh crystallised it first here.)

I just want to add a caveat before we all get carried away and talk about Dumbo.

In the film, Dumbo stops believing he can fly, but his only friend, Timothy Mouse, improvises to rescue him. Timothy plucks a feather from his hat and persuades Dumbo that with this magic feather , his powers will be restored. It works a charm, and Dumbo soars to glory. Later on, there’s a turning point where Dumbo has to fly without the feather.

So the feather is not really magic, it just catalyses the magic. It might be convenient at times to put your faith in the feather but the deeper truth is more exciting.

So don’t let all the talk about social objects make you think that marketing is all about the props. The props are great if they spark relationships, and they may look important as markers of relationships… but they’re not the real magic.

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