Everything you know about the Internet is wrong

Really, really great rant over on the Ad Age site about how marketers (and media people) don’t understand the Internet.

The author’s basic point is that the Internet is not an advertising medium. Yet, marketers and media types alike want to treat it that way since that’s how they’re used to thinking about media. This reminds me of how back in the early days of TV, producers pointed fixed cameras at stage plays because they did not “get” what makes TV unique and thus tried to apply what they know about other media to the new one.

Of course, I can’t really blame marketers or media people for this. For one thing, I’m both. For another, it seems like the human mind always tries to take what it learned in previous situations and apply it to the present situation; waking up and realizing that the present situation is unique is a process, not an instantaneous thing.

But let’s keep the process moving along, shall we?

From the article:

Trends like [the growth of word-of-mouth marketing] suggest the possibility of a post-advertising age, a not-too-distant future where consumers will no longer be treated as subjects to be brainwashed with endless repetitions of whatever messaging some focus group liked. That world isn’t about hidden persuasion, but about transparency and dialogue and at its center is that supreme force of consumer empowerment, the Internet. But when you look at how the media and marketing business packages the Internet — as just more space to be bought and sold — you have to worry that the history of mass media is just trying to repeat itself. Rarely a fortnight goes by without some new bullish forecast for ad growth that works to stoke digital exuberance within media owners that often drowns out critical thinking about the medium itself.