For years, prosaic consumer products sought to puff up their appeal by boasting they contained “secret” ingredients that improved their performance. Colgate toothpaste had Gardol, for instance, while Dial soap had AT-7 and Certs breath mints had Retsyn. Now, confronting consumer anxiety over the economy, the giant insurer Geico is for the first time rolling out a secret ingredient of its own: Warren E. Buffett. The financier controls Berkshire Hathaway, the company that has owned Geico for more than a decade.
In the era of the real-time Web, information travels at a greater velocity than the infrastructure of mainstream media can support as it exists today. As events materialize, the access to social publishing and syndication platforms propels information across attentive and connected nodes that link social graphs all over the world. Current events are now at the epicenter of global attention as social media makes the world a much smaller place.