Public Perception, Reality, And Narrative Part 3

In the last post, we showed a very simple project, that was designed to gauge employee attitudes towards a rule change in a work environment and also target potential thieves. A lot can be done with a single symbol, even in a simple project.

Constructing A Project 101:

In the field of mass perception management, projects are constructed with the specific goal of bringing about a particular perception of a group or event, within a given perspective. as an example of a complex project, let’s look at how to create a race war in your spare time for fun and profit.

  • Define the PERSPECTIVE SET. A given project might address anywhere from one to several perspectives, though the total number of perspectives should ideally be limited to 3; the two subject groups involved, and a disinterested observer. In the case of America, lets take one of the two major projects right now–BLM/White Privilege.
  • Define the PERCEPTION GOALS. You have decided on the perspectives you wish to change or manipulate, so now the question becomes defining what internal perceptions you want to create in the subjects. In the case of BLM/White Privilege, you want to create a pervasive resentment/ oppression in both subject sets, as well as the perception in each case that the “other guys” are: protected/privileged/manipulative/controlling/exploitative/dangerous/ a threat to a highly personal belief. The objective/ endgame is to create first isolated uprisings, then an eventual widespread conflict.
  • Examine the DISINTERESTED OBSERVER/NON-PARTICIPANT VIEW. In this case, the disinterested observer/non-participant would be framed as How does the rest of the world view the issue? In the context of the BLM/White Privilege project, it might surprise you to know this perspective was left “open”, in that there is nothing in the project construction to push either side of the project. Why is this the case? Because there are other project ongoing elsewhere, and by leaving this perspective open, the other projects can leverage these projects to further their own narrative. This is the most mathematically elegant way to handle a large scale project, and one of the reasons that conflicts on one area of the world can propagate so rapidly in others for no apparent reason. There’s that word, propagate…Arab Spring, anyone?
  • Model Design Phase 1 Begins: Once you have decided on the project parameters above, you get to the fun part. Teams of people with strong backgrounds in semiotics, symbology, memeology, and/or contextual framing begin combing through the immense databases and data point sets owned by the project designers, searching this data using a wide variety of classification codes and filters. Once they have a large enough data base for segment design to begin, the information is passed on to segment design teams.
  • Segment design teams then meet either in person or virtually, and use the design and outcome parameters to construct the full basic model framework, as an equation, and determine using  complicated software, Mighty Magic 8 Balls and fortunes from fortune cookies to find the smallest number of segments that will produce the widest number of combinations with the same outcome range.
  • Segment designers grab a pile of segments, and begin designing them.Some of these designers will only be working with text–creating social media posts, for example. Some design memes, others write the clickbait headlines, some produce the You Tube videos. The vast majority of segment designers work alone or with only one or two other people, and frequently have no idea if their work is going to be used at all, or what the end project is. And in many cases, a segment might seem to be entirely unrelated to the main project–a meme featuring a Trumpcat, for example, could be used in the BLM/White Privilege project easily (they have been), but the memer doesn’t know that. They only know they’re getting paid to make memes on different people or objects.
  • The Isolated Segment Testing Phase: In this phase, the individual segments of the model are carefully tested on a small scale, to observe any visible impact on the subject group.

As an example, a segment design team might take a story about a crime that was in the news in East Podunk, that was basically a non-issue; when you remove the contextual framing that is inherent in any event, the facts show that what happened is absolutely expected.

The Segment Test  Model: Car stalls out on train tracks. Silly driver panics and is so concerned about saving their property they stay in the car. Train splats car and driver. End of story. Before the advent of wide scale mass perception management, a story like this would literally be a small paragraph buried in the Podunk Picayune, and the locals would have said “well, that’s what thought gets you…” if the incident happened at all.

And if you read historic newspapers, you discover these deaths were almost unheard of, because people abandoned the car and saved their lives. When they did occur, they were big news.

However, lets say that in East Podunk, this has happened more than once at this crossing, because there is no crossing signal (and citizens in East Podunk have skewed priorities, created by cultural conditioning). Add in the natural desire of the community to prevent more people from being splatted by trains. Now add the state’s desire to get more federal funding, and that it’s an election year for an unpopular state Senator. The result is a news story that could be presented in a contextual framework like this:

“Amy FluffBunny here, reporting live from the Podunk Avenue rail crossing, where once again an innocent life was lost today…..yack yack human interest trigger: Candy Pureheart, young mother and beloved kindergarten teacher‘s car stalled while crossing the tracks, and she was unable to start her vehicle again before the approaching train hit her. She leaves behind three year old twins….

yack yack, statistics of other fatalities, insert grieving husband human interest trigger and call to action: We’re now at the home of Candy and Pierce Pureheart, where family and friends have gathered to offer emotional support to the grieving husband and father. Pierce, I’m sure I speak for all our viewers when I say my heart goes out to you tonight.

Thank you, Amy. This is such a terrible blow to our family…

Pierce, as you know, Candy’s tragic death is the latest in a long stream of deaths at the Podunk Avenue crossing. How does that make you feel?

Amy, before this happened to me, I was already trying to get a crossing signal installed there. I even spoke to the Podunk Board about it, and nobody listened. Now, I just want to tear this crazy system down. Too many people have died….

And there you have it, citizens of Podunk. Too many people have died, and the Podunk Board is silent.

Yack yack, story repeated every hour on the local feed of the most popular fair and balanced cable news network around, and discussed on talk radio. Yack Yack UPDATE:

This is Amy FluffBunny, reporting live from the state capitol where angry citizens are confronting a beleaguered state legislature regarding the tragic death of Candy Pureheart last week in East Podunk. I’m here with Jake Snakely the state Transportation director, to get his side of the story. Mr. Snakely, can you explain to our viewers why there is no crossing signal in East Podunk, despite the long string of tragic deaths ?

Well Amy, that is an excellent question. First i’d like to extend my condolences to Ms. Pureheart’s friends, coworkers and family in their time of grief. As the Director of Transportation, I feel a personal responsibility to all of the victims of senseless tragedies like this…yack, yack, 1 minute 30 second more of political talking points (It’s his election year as well). I would love to put a signal there, Amy.

However, the railroad crossing is under the federal jurisdiction, so my hands are tied. I have once again sent a letter to the federal DOT requesting action on this dangerous crossing, and I would also like to see our Senator personally use his influence to get action on this issue…yack, yack, (Transportation Director throws Senator under the political bus)….And Amy, the Governor has also asked our Senator to determine (doubling down on throwing Senator under the political bus) whether or not our request for more federal funding for road upkeep and a crossing signal, and the permits to install one, ( the Senator being told how much pork is expected to save his job) is being acted on…yack, yack…

The Segment Test Begins:

At this point, the story would be given a “click bait” headline on news sites–City officials silent in the face of tragic death…And one designed for Facebook– OMG, look what happened to this mother of twins (graphic content)…And for Twitter– WHERE ARE THE AUTHORITIES? CORRUPTION–R/T . Several different versions of the story from different news outlets would be posted on social media, from as wide a range of news sources as possible, and ideally would include at least one AP direct story (closet thing to just the facts) one left leaning, one right leaning, and one conspiracy/apocryphal site, each with different click bait headlines.

  • Monitoring teams then run semantic analysis on all of the comments in the various places this story surfaces, propagation analysis tracks how far and fast the story spreads, perception specialists monitor the change of headlines as subjects insert their own headlines on Facebook posts, and content/context analysts measure how fast the facts become distorted, while the perception specialists use predictive models to try and guess what facts will be distorted, and how.

In  this case, because the segment test is for a particular project, social media perception manipulators (TROLLS/paid posters) would insert carefully worded comments everywhere the story appeared, based on verifiable/ cited facts. For instance — “Well, railroad crossing signals were supposed to be part of OBUMMER’S SHOVEL READY JOBS…”. Or, “If the Podunk Avenue crossing was in the “right part of town”, there would have been a signal already. RIP Candy, prayers for the family..”

If the segment in question was a targeted segment for one side of the main project or the other, the actual news event would be chosen to reflect that, as would the semantic content and weighting of the comments seeded into the narrative on social media and news sites. This is where the TROLLS come into play, as opposed to paid posters. We’ll get into the main  differences in a later topic.

  • Segment testing ends and the results are analysed, coded, and verified. In a typical segment test, the tracking begins as soon as the data is seeded, and ends when there has been 48 hours of activity below the set “floor” for the segment. As an example, a segment that the designers are hoping will go viral might specify a “floor” of less than 5000 interactions in 12 hours. So when the segment goes below that floor, monitoring will continue until there has been no significant engagement for 48 hours, but the data set that will be analysed immediately will only cover the time it took for the story to begin propagating to the time it hit the floor.
  • The Segment Team Cost/Return Analysis Phase.The math geeks have equations that can determine from the initial size of the seed and the time it takes to hit the floor whether or not this story can be used in a model requiring a viral result, and if it can, how big the seed should be and how much it will cost to use this segment for that purpose. They can also game, using proven algorithms, whether organic propagation will work, and the time frame. They can determine whether the segment has a persistence value–meaning it’s one of those stories people will use later, even years later, in the context of a debate or argument. And whether that segment has contextual value–how useful would it be as a clip in another news story later, in places other than East Podunk?
  • Final Segment Analysis. The results of the above process are sent to/given to the project team leads. 

And even if the segment is considered not useful in this project–it’s still kept if it offers a unique equation, because you never throw away jig saw puzzle pieces. They may not fit this puzzle, but that doesn’t mean they won’t fit a future puzzle.

An interesting tidbit: some people really DO use Mighty Magic 8 Balls, fortunes from fortune cookies, the totals from fast food receipts, or other random variables to introduce organic chance components into a segment.

Next up: The Value of The Tabula Rasa Project















































One thought on “Public Perception, Reality, And Narrative Part 3

  1. Pingback: Public Perception, Reality, and Narratives: Elegant Segments – fortunesthoughts

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