It's as old as the hills
They say, whoever they are, that it’s all the media’s fault. This tittle-tattle, gossip, sordid stories and lurid paparazzi pictures all wrapped up in 21st century gutter newspaper.
Standards have plummeted is the cry. Today’s television, radio, newspapers and the internet have become an evil monster that’s ruining the world.
Actually they couldn’t be more wrong.
Human interest stories and messages have been around since the first cavemen carved their pictures on the walls.
It’s how they communicated. Their message in the prehistoric times?
“I saw this today. Let me show you. Don’t know what that is – but it looked just like this.”
And their reporting is a permanent reminder and confirmation of our timeless love of stories.
Nothing’s new under the sun or indeed ‘The Sun’ come to that. We’ve always been fascinated and influenced by what we see and hear regarding other peoples lives.
Our more recent forebears told their stories in paintings as well. They were more sophisticated than the cave dwellers and arguably more cynical too.
We think seeing celebrities flaunting their luxurious lifestyle in glossy magazines are a new phenomenon. Hello? It’s been happening for donkeys’ years!
Go into any art gallery and take another look at those 18th century portraits of European aristocracy. Or indeed the images of Britain’s landed gentry.
There they are. Posing for the artist wearing fabulous clothes and jewels. With their horses, dogs, acres of glorious land and a splendid mansion house in the background to boot. All laid out in bold colour.
Their message? Look at us. We’re filthy rich. And here it is for all to see. Especially you lot who have so little. It’s a story of wealth, influence and power that we still enjoy seeing and reading about today.
In fact the practice is the very foundation of today’s glossy mags and the secret behind the success of ‘Oprah’ and similar TV shows that are popular around the world. And we love it - apparently.
The sales of these publications and the millions who watch the TV shows confirms that we’re forever fascinated by what the supposed famous amongst us get up to in their own homes. Even though we know that in reality their rooms don’t really look like what we see.
Think about it. It’s the equivalent of when your mother in law comes round but only more sweeping. Carpets and curtains that haven’t seen a duster or Hoover since last Christmas suddenly appear back to showroom shine.
You put in a lot of effort to make the most of what you’ve got look spick and span for the camera or Nan.
Or look at it this way. What happens when someone wants to take your picture? What’s the first thing you do?
You smile of course. Why? Because we believe a smile makes us look better. In the same way a neat and tidy front room we feel will also give the ‘right’ impression.
In a public or political context this process is called spin and is generally looked down upon. It’s dismissed as manipulative and false.
And yet it’s what we all instinctively do.
It’s the message that’s important. And to the best of our ability we will always try to put the right gloss on it. Our gloss. The story we want to tell. The message we’re keen to deliver.
It’s why we tell all of our clients at media-vu.co.uk who undergo our range of media coaching programmes – be yourself by all means, but make sure it’s the self you want others to see.