Sunday, May 22, 2005

They've Learned Too Well 

Governments can learn from the commercial world. Unfortunately, there are times when they shouldn't. Marketing agencies use stealth marketing in chatrooms these days. Marketers dip in and out of chatroom conversations, emulate members and slyly push products and services.

Unfortunately, the Chinese are doing the same thing to defend their government.

Chinese leadership has been uncomfortable with the internet from the beginning. It threatens stability. It provides an avenue for communications among those who would bring down the government. China for most of the 20th Century was a war-zone, then it was wrecked again by The Cultural Revolution. The country was torn apart or tore itself apart repeatedly. Millions died.

Today, China's leadership wants stability, and it is betting it will get peace through prosperity and controlled communications. Many think the leaders are wrong, but it is understandable why they think the way they do. So, they use Western techniques of guerilla marketing.

I wish I could feel comfortable about such manipulation, but I'm not. I don't think the commercial world should be using the techniques either. But, I admire a country that is skilled enough to adapt new techniques to advantage. And, I fear it too.


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