Unringing The Bell: Traction, ReTraction and Zero-Response Time
The page in the newspaper that prints corrections and retractions is one of the most insincere parts of a publication. It’s the old unringing the bell problem. Once a statement is published, there’s no real way to unpublish it. The original image, or in this case the peel of the bell, is the one that continues to resonate in our public discourse.
A common technique in political (and commercial) campaigns is to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about an opponent. One hears the attack ad, but not the rebuttal. This tactic is based on the idea that the retractions morally cancel out the original attack, and therefore they’re allowable. The negative attack gains traction before it is retracted.
The tactic works because of the built in delay– time elapses before a response can occur. The delay exists because of the technical requirements around the production of news, it’s what we call the news cycle. Interestingly, companies create the same kind of delay when they engage in a formal process of constructing replies to conversations in the market.
In the Live Network, there is zero delay. Response is immediate. The model of the news cycle collapses to the simple conversation. You say something; I say something back. You say something, interest swarms around and responds. The bell rings, but a thousand bells ring in response. Think of the sound of change ringing– Change we can believe in.