Propaganda vs. Social Media

Media manipulation - word cloudPropaganda is defined as “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular point of view.”  This definition is often used to describe SOCIAL MEDIA as well. However, there is a major difference. Propaganda is a one to many manipulation (1:n). Social media is a many to many manipulation (n:n).

Social media has a HUGE advantage over Propaganda in 2017 and beyond. WE (All of us) can no longer be manipulated in a world where everyone with a smartphone can participate in “the conversation”.

Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, etc. have spent BILLIONS of dollars developing software and building huge data centers over the last decade in hopes that if they provide this software and hardware technology to every man, woman and child on the planet for FREE that we will use it. Please congratulate them. They succeeded. YOU are officially addicted to your smart device. Congratulations.

Here’s how. . .

Create value for your audience through the thoughtful and diligent practice of DISCOVERY.


Discovery is a methodology. Discovery is the practice of using YOUR smart device (phone, tablet, desktop, watch, wearable, bud, implant, scroll, etc.) to actively LISTEN to “the conversation”.

Everyone that owns a smartphone needs to LISTEN to the pulse of the internet. The “noise level” as I call it. Most of us think social media is a broadcast channel. We “subscribe” (i.e. follow) to friends, family, celebrities, curators and content creators. We see their posts/tweets in our stream (i.e. newsfeed).

There is a different way, however. For example, let’s say you are a realtor. Let’s say you have 30 minutes per day to spend on social media. You can spend that precious time regurgitating someone else’s content OR you can spend that precious time LISTENING to “the conversation” that is taking place right in front of you. They are not only talking about when and where they plan to move to Charleston, SC BUT they tell us WHY and HOW.

All you have to do is LISTEN for 30 minutes per day. Nobody cares how many likes you have. Regurgitating aggregated content from MLS is as useful as tits on a bull since the invention of Google. Tell me something I don’t know. Tell who, what, when, where and most importantly WHY and HOW so many are moving to Charleston, SC.

Create value for your audience through

  1. the thoughtful and diligent practice of DISCOVERY.
  2. sharing your wisdom gained from discovery freely with appropriate levels of bias.


If you were at a party and you only listened without engaging in the conversation you might as well stay at home because no one will remember that you were even there. Engaging in social media is so easy. You can follow, reply, like, comment, share, connect, review, etc. The major platforms (i.e. Facebook) make it so easy to hear your voice. YOU must take the first step. It does not matter if you agree, disagree, approve or reject. You simply need to interact with the content you see on your stream/newsfeed.



Propaganda is typically broadcasted or dropped from planes (WWII).  What I call “fire and forget”. WE (All of us) have the luxury of staying engaged in the conversation on social media. We can LISTEN to a point of view (POV), we can debate that POV, we can agree to disagree on that POV, we can even build a consensus on what WE (All of us) should do to remedy a situation. In order for the feedback loop to work, you must stay engaged in the stream. If you fire and forget (or move on), nothing gets done. It’s as though you came, you saw, you left. You might as well stay home.


One of the many wonderful lessons I learned at IBM is that if I understand how you are measured and monitored, I can predict your next move. Propaganda is measured and monitored all the time. Propagandist measures everything all the time. They poll. They sample. They rate. They rank. Social Media is very different. Since Social Media is a many to many manipulations (n:n), WE (all of us) TREND. At IBM, we have a term for this –> “Big Data“. WE (All of us) can monitor and measure with great precision the bias, nature, sentiment, the minority report, the interest, gender, age, the frequency, etc. Social media provides WE (All of us) with almost real-time insights into the collective conscience. The propagandist cannot manipulate us if WE (all of us) can view the crystal ball (i.e. Insights).

Author: John Rector

John Rector is an AI Futurist who predicted the next word in business™, starting with his notable paper from 2015, "Mommy, What's a Cashier?" Drawing upon 40 years of experience in the practical applications of high technology, he assists clients in converting uncertainty into strategic advantages within a one-to-six-year framework. With leadership roles including IBM executive and co-founder of e2open, he has a diverse and impactful background. In the AI sector, he has set benchmarks through his contributions to Mind Media Group and Florrol, pioneering AI-based services and content generation. His investment initiative, Waterway Ventures, is committed to advancing promising AI startups. His creative ventures include founding Bodaro and graphic design studio Palm ❤️. In education, he has launched Nextyrn, which uses AI for personalized learning experiences, and in art, he leads Potyn, an initiative using AI to create bespoke pieces. His ever-expanding portfolio features companies like Nozeus, Infinia, Blacc Ink, and Maibly. Operating from Charleston, SC, his current focus involves partnering with individuals and enterprises to develop innovative business models and processes for the rapidly approaching age of AGI.

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