Heisenberg’s Uncertaintly Principle and PR

Excellent post on Strumpette from Ike Piggot – anyone who can use Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as a metaphor for what’s happening in social media gets my vote:

Outside observers kill communities in a hurry, regardless of the
transparency of their motives. The only tolerated agenda is pure:
thrash metal fans don’t want Mr. Labelpants from Arista watching over
their shoulder. The Curse of Heisenberg: The act of observing disturbs
the observed. So that leaves us with completely Naked Conversations.
The PR guy now has to be the biggest fan in the forum – the king of the
community – top Twit in the Twitterbin. And then corporate expectation
will be nothing less than maximum influence. That means that only the
rabid fans will have the inside track to be PR representatives. Even
transparent, the lack of Motive Purity changes the dynamic of the

Bottom line: Corporate expectations being what they are, some
degree of control will remain on the agenda. The message might be out
of their hands, but then again it never was firmly in their grasp to
begin with. The illusion of control was a product of a tiny number of
outlets – slits that kept the electron beams somewhat coherent with a
minimum of interference. A few years ago, the slits became close enough
together to blur the results, and now the screen is gone altogether.
We’re all bathing in our own complex streams of radiation, and PR’s
challenge is to create relevance once again.

You can choose to be immersed in the community.
You can choose to be an advocate.
You can choose to be transparent as to your motive.

But you can only pick two of the above, because the communities won’t let you have all three.

Perhaps time to dust off my piece about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorum and PR.



  1. Hey Andrew – I’m a big fan of Godel, but I think my next target will be a PR-intensive analysis of Axelrod’s treatment of the Prisoners’ Dilemma.

    By the way – there is a companion piece to the Strumpette post. It’s on my blog at http://occamsrazr.com/2007/07/23/pr-and-the-gray-zone/


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