Look around. What are people doing? If you’re at work reading this, chances are pretty good that you and all those around you are banging away on a keyboard, that you’re interacting more digitally than you are humanly. Admit it: when you’re in a meeting, how often are you more focused on checking your email from your laptop or Blackberry than you are on the meeting? In a presentation, how often is the presenter (and often, the audience) more engaged with the Power Point than the humans?
If you’re in Starbucks, chances are that the same kind of thing is going on: people are having coffee with each other, but with a measured amount of Blackberry use.
If you’re at home, odds are you and your family members are connected: not to each other (although I hope that happens too), but electronically to the news, the weather, friends, games, or God-knows-what.
And everywhere, people are talking or texting on their mobiles.
It seems that people now have more of a Digital Life than a real one. And the consequences are profound, in both human and marketing terms.
Philosophically, are we (bad:) giving up more of our ability to connect with other humans because we are now in an era of what former Microsoft VP Linda Stone has dubbed “continuous partial attention?” (Some great notes on that here.) Or, (good:) actually enhancing our ability to connect with everything as posited by Robert Kalin (etsy.com) in his observation that younger generations have grown up with so many digital demands for their attention that there is no sense of “loss of signal:” they can easily manage multiple inputs.
I’m as bad as anyone. I wake up, check three different email accounts, Carnegie Mellon news and info, check the news online, check popurls for the latest, sync my iPod to the latest podcast downloads, check homework and event info on my son’s school website, check what’s going on at the other two’s college websites, listen to my iPod in the car far more than to the radio…and that’s all before the day really begins.
So I’m thinking…how would I reach me? How would you reach me? How would you reach yourself?
Please share your thoughts. Let’s connect humanly and as digital marketers.