Is this my very last blog post?

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By Francis Moran

I’m not much of one for doomsday predictions.

In the days leading up to January 1, 2000, when the so-called Y2K bug was supposed to affect everything from cellphones to ATMs and would cause both airplanes and elevators to come crashing down, I kept saying that at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999, I wanted to be in an elevator, in a highrise, next to an airport, talking on my cellphone and with no money in my pocket. I was pretty sure I was going to be all right. As it turned out, when the clock struck that feared hour, I was at a New Year’s Eve ball with the woman to whom I had recently become¬†affianced, and we were more than all right.

So I can’t get terribly worked up about the possibility that some long-dead Mayan timekeeper was the very first person in tens of thousands of years of human existence to be able to peer far into the future and with such precision and foreknowledge that he or she could accurately predict that the end of the world is going to come tomorrow.

Certainly, if I did believe it, I would not be spending my last hours writing this tongue-in-cheek blog post.

I demurred earlier today about even writing a post with such a headline, struggling to find any good tie in between marketing and Mayan doomsday hysteria. I could point to a range of canny marketers who have been cashing in on this hysteria. Like the doomsday kits being sold in parts of Russia that, for about $28, provide the essential comforts to see yourself off into the great unknown — vodka, buckwheat, a can of fish and some other things. Or the escape pods — to where, exactly, would you escape in this earth-bound capsule if the earth itself is to be vaporized? — offered by one enterprising Chinese entrepreneur. Or the vendors of freeze-dried emergency food rations who have been experiencing a sharp spike in business.

But those are just common garden-variety marketing ploys that tell us little except that opportunism abounds.

The only real lesson I think marketers can learn from all this is that human nature and psychology are complex and wondrous things and, the rising application of neuroscience to help us unravel their mystery notwithstanding, likely none of us will ever fully comprehend exactly what will twig humans to act in one way or another.

This is, however, my last post for a week or so. We traditionally shut things down between the holidays, and this year will be no exception. So after tomorrow, we will not be posting again until January 2.

It’s been a pretty good year for this blog. We’ve seen contributions from an astonishing array of contributors and across an extremely wide variety of subject matter. You seem to be liking it: I am hugely gratified to report that our average weekly traffic has about doubled since this time last year, and is up nearly nine-fold since we re-launched this blog in February, 2010.

Please let me take this opportunity to wish our entire community all the best of this holiday season, and a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2013. In lieu of cards and gifts, we will continue our long-standing tradition of making a contribution to our favourite charity, Help Lesotho, an Ottawa-based organisation that is doing incredible work with young women, grandmothers and other grassroots communities in this beautiful but ravaged little country in the mountain highlands of southern Africa.

See you next year.

Unless that bloody Mayan was correct after all, of course.

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