'The internet and social media have empowered the PR trade and freed it from subservience to the news media.' This was the provocative starting point for an RSA debate recently, which also asked what this premise meant for the future of journalism and, more importantly, the future of public interest.
Much as I relish the creativity of many of their efforts, I feel that this trend tells a worrying story both about the faltering attempts of business to redefine its place in the world and about our own need to grasp at almost anything to create meaning in our lives. In my book, we could do with rather more powerful stories at Christmas time. Any ideas?
Everyone loves sales. Whether it's the latest Xbox game, kitchen appliance or electronic gadget, people are always looking for bargains, especially during the run up to Christmas. But there's a stark difference between lining up for Boxing Day sales and the animalistic behaviour witnessed last week during the "Black Friday" sales...
It happens once a year, towards the end of November and has reared it's ugly head again. Black Friday depicts society in a vulnerable and selfish state. Yet we are all victims of it's success by flocking to the sales, hoping to pick up a bargain and will do anything to scoop the best deal by acquiring a state of the art plasma TV, fridge or pair of headphones.
In my view, acquisitiveness is best understood in psychological terms. Our mad materialism is partly a reaction to inner discontent. As human beings' it's normal for us to experience an underlying 'psychological discord', caused by the incessant chattering of our minds, which creates a disturbance inside us, and often triggers negative thoughts.