We can be so much more, and better, than “social influencers who define brands.”

That phrase, and the whole “influencer marketing” movement, reduces customers to loudspeakers and mannequins us inside the echo chambers and halls of mirrors that marketing has become. Worse, what influence we enjoy is almost entirely isolated inside giant private platforms where we are spied upon constantly, our very lives fracked for the oil of personal data, so our trapped attention can be sold to advertisers whose hired robots can spear our eyeballs with “relevant” and “interest based” ads we would never ask for if we had genuine control over our “experience” of them online.

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Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.

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