Monday, February 16, 2009

Are we that?

Today's post from Seth Godin got me thinking (as they often do).


If it acts like a duck (all the time), it's a duck. Doesn't matter if the duck thinks it's a dog, it's still a duck as far as the rest of us are concerned.

Authenticity, for me, is doing what you promise, not "being who you are".

That's because 'being' is too amorphous and we are notoriously bad at judging that. Internal vision is always blurry. Doing, on the other hand, is an act that can be seen by all.

As the Internet and a connected culture places a higher premium on authenticity (because if you're inconsistent, you're going to get caught) it's easy to confuse authentic behavior with an existential crisis. Are you really good enough, kind enough, generous enough and brave enough to be authentically a hero or leader?

Mother Theresa was an atheist, filled with self doubt. But she was an authentic saint, because she always acted like one.

You could spend your time wondering if what you say you are is really you. Or you could just act like that all the time. That's good enough, thanks. Save the angst for later.

In the case of a ourWorld, or any virtual world for that matter, there is a question of Who We Really Are. ourWorld is distinctly different than the creators had in mind when they started. That's not a bad thing because our team is fast enough and smart enough to adjust to the realities of who most of our players are and what they like. But the switch, I think, has left us less defined than we ought to be. Are we a dog or a duck. We set out to be a dog.

Virtual Worlds based on established brands, like Disney, have the ability to take a concrete idea/brand and ask "are we that", and if the answer is no, make adjustments. ourWorld is for teens who like games and socializing, but asking "are we that" is still too broad a question. Even though we are acting like a site for teens who like games and socializing, does that establish a recognizable identity? More to the point, does it help define who the players are?

Like I said, it got me thinking. I'll have to think about it some more.