The Minutiae of Nothing.

Interesting phenomena social media. Not the least because its name – as is often the case in modern life – is in practical application, the exact opposite of what it does. Millions of people around the world enabled with a reflex technology that allows them to broadcast in minute detail everything they do, think and feel twenty four hours a day.

With no filtering, no time to pause for reflection, no sense of consequence or appropriateness, the millions of ordinary people poor out endless streams of diatribe.

While there are may legitimate and productive applications of the technology of social media, increasingly it is affecting traditional media with the advent of the ‘comment’ capability for viewers and readers creating strings of mindless reaction or ill-informed opinions. The once powerful voices of well-reasoned expert commentators drowned out by a tsunami of effluent or hijacked by extremists trying to shut down sensible debate.

As a consequence modern social intercourse is becoming increasingly sidetracked into the minutiae of nothing. We are losing the ability to pause and consider. And modern businesses are falling into the same trap.

The standard of well reasoned and reflective debate leading to sound decision making and decisive leadership is diminishing at an alarming rate leaving in its wake a sea of ordinariness. It is getting harder and harder to cut through all the worthless noise to get real traction in making businesses – and as a consequence people’s – lives better.

You don’t need to look very far to see the examples of the best because it is becoming easier to stand out. But the ones that do are increasingly under attack from social media. Like the immune system being under attack from an unrelenting barrage of viruses, eventually you’re going to get sick.

The message to retailers in all of this?

You need to stand out – for all the right reasons. You need the kind of people and the processes that don’t get sidetracked in minutiae. You need to develop a very simple, clearly articulated set of principles to run your business. And you need an edited stream of data and dialogue that provides insight that is meaningful.

Despite the world being obsessed with speed, in and of itself speed is not your friend. Timing is everything but as many victims of ill thought out social media rants will tell you, if they had paused to think about what they were doing they wouldn’t have done it.

Considered, well-reasoned argument will always beat emotional reaction in business. Sharp reflexes are an advantage. But they come with experience and immersion in context.

In retail there is nothing to be gained by adding to or reacting to the minutiae of nothing. Our job is to create wonderful magnetic customer experiences that inspire and attract people. Everything else is just a distraction.