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The Cure For the Common Mind Virus: Fewer “Bored” Meetings And Less Pop-Cultural Poo

Mar 30, 2012

I beg your pardon? For those of you who are unaware, the title of this post was inspired by a friend – and brilliant branding specialist Bruce Turkel and his Monday musings on what he calls, “mind viruses” – not a sadistic reference to Alzheimer’s or other brain disorders. In everyday speak “mind-viruses” are the modern iteration of water cooler talk or the pop cultural nonsense increasingly crowding out valuable real estate within our collective cerebrums.

Turkel’s post raises the question, how do the words and terms (and TV shows and styles of board room attire and eats and…and…and…) we mindlessly discuss reach that critical mass where they become discussion points? As a marketing professional, Turkel is right in addressing the issue. In other words, he asks, where is the pop cultural discussion “tipping point” and when does something become a “hot topic?”

But as evidenced by his observations gathered from what sounds like far too many of the mindless meetings that I attend – the answer to his question may be less fascinating and more frightening.

So where does this cultural discussion point threshold lie? I’m not sure where in the brain the processing occurs, but I can tell you, it’s not a high standard, and it’s getting disastrously lower by the day.

The fact that many of Turkel’s meetings are littered with so much verbal rubbish suggests that more should be done to keep references to the Kardashians, Lindsay Lohan, and Beebs out of what should be productive meetings. I’ve had to sit through meetings where the latest episode of Glee or the demise of Lost garnered more discussion than the topic we had travelled some 3,000 miles for did.  Now that is brutal.

The fact is, thanks to marketers’ already near-constant bombardment via a host of mediums like smartphones and tablets, but also through the “diehards” like television, radio, and print, we are constantly being distracted and programmed to think “this is important,” when in actuality it’s really not.

Earlier this month the New York Times wrote about how office technology is getting in the way of productivity. While true, the bigger problem is all technology and not just office technology. But as a public relations professional and one who’s often on the side of praising marketing genius, can it be that we’re all victims of our own success?

Maybe.

Recognizing this, perhaps it’s time we work to make board meetings less boring and stick to the agenda so we can all be more productive – and get out of the boardroom and to the bar, where it’s okay to talk about the cover of People, or who watched The View, or what Kelly Rippa was wearing yesterday.

Besides, they’ll be plenty of time to gossip about Gossip Girl –and whatever else – later. Now I’ve got a meeting to attend and don’t want to be late. I’m sure it will be mind blowing – one way or another.

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