So much of our day to day communications is based on the assumption that most of us within a community operate on the same wavelength. And that we operate within the same cultural context. We latch on to keywords, key visual and aural cues, and our brains fill in the rest.
In the globalised world where communication boundaries are unclear, where communities can span the globe and cross multiple cultures, it is increasingly unworkable to make such an assumption.
A marketing piece that is perfectly crafted for one market can be meaningless or completely miss the point for others. Two people may look like they're from the same culture may in fact be worlds apart in terms of their shared cultural sensibilities.
“Being with your own people” will now increasingly mean “people get the way you think”, and not “people who look like you.” Tribe members need only to think alike.
Nothing highlights this more than moving to a new country. I may look like a Singaporean, but there are clear cultural differences. There are things I would say – thought patterns, references to media and events – that make no sense to an average Singaporean; and vice versa.