"We won't be druv"

Sheepherding There's a saying in Sussex, and particularly in my home town of Lewes: "We won't be druv". Woe betide the bureaucrats if they try to interfere with historic customs or offend local sensibilities. As a result, the area has a reputation for 'stroppiness'.

Until recently, online marketing has been about 'driving' people. Eight years ago I was working for an online marketing agency. We were planning to attend a trade show and one of the directors was adamant about the theme for our stand: traffic. Yep, we had traffic lights, bollards, yellow lines… it's all about driving traffic to websites, geddit? The meaning is clear: we're in control and the audience is passive, bovine even. I didn't like it then, and I don't now.

With the emergence of the social web, things seem to be changing. Marketers are talking more about listening, attracting and engaging consumers.

But the old 'driving' terminology still lingers on, as I see in this week's New Media Age: "An estimated £250,000 is being spent by Yahoo on efforts to drive traffic to its newly designed mobile home page…"

Let's get out of the driving seat, guys … whether we like it or not, people won't be druv.

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