Several friends of mine are, even now, making their way through the world of reality shows - that is to say they are contestants. (Search the Danger Committee.)
Is the above statement true?
These 'reality' shows -- American idol, Survivor New Jersey, America's got talent, Last comic standing, Biggest loser, Clowns arounds town, etc. are currently very popular. However...
I lie for a living.
Is the above statement true?
I work as an actor and magician.
I have been paid to lie...to you. Do you assume when someone calls in to a radio station that person is un-paid, does not know the DJ and just happens to be quirky, interesting, controversial?
I have been a farmer, a regular guy eating a hamburger, a fake member of a fake audience at a fake tv show for a real movie. ( Too meta?)
I have been paid to call into radio shows and play characters -- but as if I were just a regular person. The audience never knew.
Reality? Good marketing? Fair?
Reality shows are under no obligation to present reality. They select, encourage, script, re-shoot and edit. They want to have great TV, not represent what really is. TV is under no obligation to present reality - No, not even the news shows.
Public Relations deals, almost entirely, with IMAGE. The IMAGE they want to present. Your brand is a very select version of the whole you.
How do you feel about the president?
You have never met Mr. Obama.
Your feelings about him come almost entirely from his image - good or bad -- and how his policies were spun.
The line between real (news, food, television, talent) and made up for a purpose, but not actually what happened/ what is happening...is gone. Blurred out of existence.
Today's BIG idea; Reality is not always reality. Control (Or attempt to control) your image & brand. And be aware that others are doing the same.
Even those of us in private lives may struggle with our 'brand.' Some of my friends think of me as "the smart guy," and I'm probably not in a large crowd of people who read Steven Pinker and George Lakoff for fun. I don't mind offering my opinion on current issues or sharing things I know about a broad range of topics.
But one day, one of my friends called me up, in the middle of a work day, to ask me if his spellcheck dictionary actually was spelling some polysyllabic word correctly. OK, I did know how it was spelled, but even I know the dictionary is written by people who know even more than I do. It made me wonder how much of what I'd been saying had been presented not simply as my idea about something or other, but as all there was to say about it.
I had to do some re-branding. I had to be more careful about marking my opinions with phrases like, "I think..." and my partially informed ideas with "I've read somewhere that..." I had to make it clear that I know a lot about some things, and some about a lot of things, but I don't want anyone - especially myself - to think I know everything about anything. Because, in reality, I'm a smart guy, but I am not THE smart guy.
You CAN trust the dictionary. At least, most of the time.