The influencer dynamic plaguing modern marketing is shallow, but it sells units.
Influencers act as conduits for buyer’s attention.
Which at it’s core makes sense, right?
You see a cool Instagram page which represents your interests, and you follow it.
If they have a big enough following, brands who want to reach people interested in things relevant to the page reach out, and the page gets compensated for putting the brand in view of people likely to be interested in their products (aka you).
The problem is that these pages are usually compensated for their reach, not their quality.
The result is that influencers tend to race for cheap attention rather than fostering deeply engaged communities.
Those who hack the system to demand your attention get preference over those taking their time to foster communities – even when the former are wasting your attention in the process.
Influencing and leading are not the synonymous.
Influencers are out to sell your attention to the highest bidder.
The first time a toddler attempts to lie is a huge psychological landmark.
While it might seem counter intuitive to be proud of a kid covered in crumbs while they’re promising they didn’t raid the cookie jar, it’s actually one of the first indicators that they have developed theory of mind.
This is the point at which a child realises that their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions and perspectives are seperate from those of other people.
Almost unimaginably, this is not our default mode.
It doesn’t occur to a young child to lie, because their natural state is to assume that you already know what they know.
When a young child gets worked up over something seemingly trivial, it’s often because they don’t yet understand that the wants and needs of others can conflict with their own.
When there is a dissonance between what they are experiencing and what others are doing, they can’t process it. The result, as all parents will know, is an intense experience of pain and grief.
We begin our lives assuming that humankind shares a singular, unified consciousness and every experience we have from then on slowly proves us otherwise.
So slowly in fact, that even some adults default back to this mode when the views of others don’t align with their own.
When their cognitive expectations aren’t met, when the perspectives of others stray too far from their own beliefs and desires, it becomes too much to process. The resistance they feel gives way to tantrum in the same way a toddler spits out its dummy when nobody’s paying it enough attention.
There’s something spectacular about the first fully formed words which a child is able to piece together.
We all know the classics. My sister’s first (and still favourite) word was ‘No’. My partner’s first word was ‘Dad’, which she swears was a deliberate effort on her Mum’s part to make him feel specially requested by his little girl when her cries woke them in the night.
Mine were odd. At the time, I was obsessed with a little picture book full of animals and colours. My first words were from my favourite page, ‘Grey duck.’
If you, your children or anyone you know had an interesting first word, or were well trained to say something strategic, I want to hear it.