Doc Searls seems a little surprised that his positive spin on the Dean post-Iowa speech isn't getting traction - and in the process, I think he misses a lot about marketing against a persistent meme:
I see that my positive spin yesterday on Howard Dean's "barbaric yawp" speech got approximately no traction at all. Worse, the speech was (predictably) mocked by everybody in the major media from Stern in the morning to Letterman and Leno in the evening.
Clearly, its effects were regretable. It hurt the campaign. But it was also honest and authentic, and in the long run that can only help, for the simple reason that it was real.
There's some more stuff in there about the lessons of "Cluetrain", but Doc misses something much, much simpler - it's really, really hard to fight a growing meme. Simply putting your message out, and claiming that it will win because your voice is "authentic" is laughable. Why do I say that?
Let me jump back to 1995. Java was introduced, and - at least early on - many of the Smalltalk vendors and developers voiced the authentic opinion that Smalltalk was demonstrably better - more mature, more productive, in deployment, etc. Guess what - none of that mattered. Why not? Because the popular meme that Java was the future was adopted by many, many more voices - including the tech pundits. Soon enough, the Smalltalk vendors were being asked about their Java plans, and most of them adpted one (in particular, ParcPlace-Digitalk and IBM). Could Parc have stood alone and ignored Java? I think so, but it's not as if we could have "won" and pushed Java back under the rug. Once a meme reaches a certain level of credibility, having an authentic voice on the issue may take years to make a difference
It took Cincom - the new owners of VisualWorks as of 1999 - until roughly 2003 to be taken seriously as a safe place for Smalltalk by our existing customers, and to re-establish Smalltalk as something worth looking at for new prospects. That's 4 years. We managed to stay standing because we had an installed base that supported us. Not every product - and certainly not every political candidate - has 4 years to turn a meme around. Doc needs to take the rose colored glasses off, and realize that.