Personal Mythology, Making Meaning and Web 3.0
by Dr. Sandy Rosenberg


Below you will find MRA’s unique approach to Social Media Research.

  • Learn about the interface between Personal Mythology, Social Mythology, and Web 3.0.
  • Learn the truth about how mythology is central to marketing on the web.
  • See Brian Solis’ excellent rendering of the thousand-petaled lotus that is social media.
  • Learn about Personal Mythology, Making Meaning and Web 3.0 at Social Media Research.
  • Learn how people construct their own Personal Myth to create their virtual presence on the web.

Dr. Sanford Rosenberg has drawn on the work of Dr. Stanley Krippner and the way in which individuals construct their own personal mythology to create a model that can be applied to understanding the way individuals, companies, organizations, groups, tribes, and cultures create meaning on the web.

The way in which people create meaning and communicate on the Internet can be understood in the same way that individuals create personal mythologies for themselves. Dr. Sanford Rosenberg, a colleague of Dr. Krippner, has applied this way of thinking and analysis to working with all media and now to social media.

The Five Stages of Personal Myth-Making and Web 3.0
How Personal Mythology allows the individual’s experience to become part of the Group Myth

The natural five-stage sequence around which the tasks and activities of the personal mythology model are organized can be easily summarized and applied to myth-making on the web.

1. Identify guiding myth

2. Generate alternative myths and find counter myth

3. Experience of mythic opposition/ thesis-antithesis

4. Emergence of new central myth

5. New mythos and reconciliation

1. First, the individual or group or organization discovers that its prevailing guiding myth (thesis or meta-meme) has become outdated or otherwise dysfunctional.  This is exactly what is happening to many individuals, groups, companies, etc. in the face of disruptive social media and Web 3.0 technologies.

2. This experience leads to, on the personal level,  the psyche generating alternative myths.  Typically one of these new myths gains critical mass as a “counter-myth” (antithesis), and it begins to challenge the prevailing myth.  This experience, on an organizational, cultural, tribal, corporate or family level, can be seen as shattering or illuminating or both.  The individual or group and all of those in the group or organization are called forth to engage in this struggle, which is the third phase.

3. In the third phase of the personal/inter-personal mythologic journey, the two primary myths engage in a dialectic, a deep struggle between thesis and its antithesis.  Often this struggle occurs largely outside the person’s or organization’s awareness, but impacts significantly (often chaotically) that person’s or organization’s perceptions, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

4. Out of this internal struggle, the fourth phase is entered into and a synthesis emerges.  A new guiding myth is gradually formulated deep within the psyche of an individual or the unconscious of the organization or group, which ideally incorporates the qualities of both the prevailing myth and the counter-myth that best support the person’s or organization’s positive growth and development.

5. Finally, this new mythos is then reconciled with the person’s or organization’s life structure and begins to shape that individual’s or group’s thoughts, images, feeling, emotions, choices, and most importantly actions.


At any point in one’s life, any of one’s guiding myths may be going through any of these stages of mythic transformation.  This applies to individuals as well as organizations.  This is true for large core myths of “Who am I, where am I going and why,” of “The work is safe [or unsafe]” variety, as well as highly specific guiding mythic motifs, such as “I’m not a good writer,” or “My daughter will be a champion skater.”  On an organizational level, the overarching mythology may be seen as a cosmology, a theory of the universe that holds things together and gives them meaning for all the members of the organization, tribe or group. The more specific guiding myth or the recipe of that cosmology are the rules such as “Don’t say bad things about the boss.”

The goal of this approach is to discover the core structures of you or your group’s mythology and apply skills and focused awareness to its transformation.  As you move through the five stages of evaluation and analysis, specific tasks and activities are utilized for facilitating a successful resolution of each stage.

We believe that the application of this approach to understanding the disruptive impact of Social Media on individuals, groups, and organizations is crucial to facilitating a transition to a new understanding the impact of disruptive technology on us as human beings, our own personal mythologies and those of the groups we live and work in.

(WAYBACK link to the original Personal Mythology method developed by Dr. Krippner.)

The message is:

“If you don’t look inward, you will be left out.”

-Jeremy Kagan, Filmmaker, director, educator

Bioneers New-Tech Media Panel, Pioneer Conference, Marin County Fairgrounds, October 18, 2009


See below some summaries produced by web marketing mavens as a simple way to think about how the web works.

NOTE: They use the words “old marketing myths” vs. “new marketing myths.”  They are completely correct in using the reference myth.  They are completely incorrect in their understanding the significance of the usage of this term.

The myth making on the web is not merely referencing and old vs. new way of organizing information.  It is addressing a deeply rooted need on the part of individuals, organizations and groups to give meaning to their lives in new ways as they are being forced to do these new media.

In order to create the new myth, you need to understand the old one.

The mythic power is held together by an emotional core.  If you cannot address this core, you cannot change the myth.  Dr. Rosenberg’s methods can allow you to identify these key elements quickly and learn how to work with them.  It is the combination of image, language, symbol, meaning and the unconscious mind that keeps meaning in place or can allow it to change.

Marketing to the Social Web Table 3.1 (pages 34-5)

Old Marketing Myths vs. New Marketing Myths

Components Old Marketing
New Marketing
Marketing mindset
Use one-way, one-sided communication to tell brand story. Nurture dialogue and relationships; be more transparent, earn trust, build credibility.
Brand equity Brand recall is holy grail. Brand value is determined by customers: How likely are customers to highly recommend the good or service?
Segmentation Group customers by demographic. Group customers by behavior, attitudes, and interests– what’s important to them.
Targeting Target by demographics, especially for media buying. Target according to customer behavior.
Communication Broadcast style: create and push message out for customers to absorb. Digital environment for interactive communication through search and query, customer comments, personal reviews, or dialogue.
Content Professional content created and controlled by marketers Mix of professional and user-generated content, increasingly visual.
Virality A nice feature but popularity too often driven by flashy presentation rather than content. Virality based on solid content about remarkable products or features that will get people talking and forwarding email.
Reviews Think Michelin Guide: the experts weigh in. Think Zagat or Amazon: users review and vote on everything.
Advertiser/ Publisher role
Publisher establishes channel and controls content to gather an audience for the advertisers who sponsor the channels or programs. Build relationships by sponsoring (not controlling) content and interaction when, where, and how customers want it.
Strategy Top-down strategy imposed by senior management drives tactics. Bottom-up strategy builds on winning ideas culled from constant testing and customer input.
Hierarchy Information is organized into channels, folders, and categories to suit advertisers Information is available on demand by keyword, to suit user.
Payment Cost per Thousand (CPM): Emphasis on cost; advertisers buy with idea that share of voice = share of mind = share of market. Return on Investment (ROI): Invest in marketing for future growth and profitability based on measurable return.

Marketing to the Social Web Table 9.1 (page 118)

Success Metrics When Marketing to the Social Web

Influence on the Media Influence on Your Target Audience Influence on Your Business
  • Visits/views
  • Sentiment of reviews, comments
  • Sales Inquiries
  • Unique visitors
  • Brand affinity
  • New Business
  • Pages viewed
  • Commenter authority, influence
  • Customer satisfaction, loyalty
  • Volume of reviews, comments
  • Time spent
  • Marketing efficiency
  • Navigation paths
  • Favorites, friends, fans
  • Risk reduction
  • Links
  • Viral forwards
  • Files embedded
  • Numbers of downloads
  • Opinions expressed
  • Membership
How compiled:
Free tools: Google, Site Meter, Technorati, Yahoo!, Search Management

Social Media platform metrics

Social Media analysis


Market mix modeling



Click below to see Brian Solis’ graphic rendering, which he calls the conversation prism, a multi-petaled lotus outlining all of the various aspects of the new social media universe.










Click image to enlarge…