Google and Facebook Are the New Gods, But Jesus Died and His Name Was Steve Jobs.
Today sees the publication of Havas PR’s new Prosumer Report, ’This Digital Life’. Looking at the post-technology era it investigates how consumers and the trend-setting ‘prosumers’ are reacting to an age in which digital tools are seemingly omnipresent and asks how healthy we think this is.
As a digital addict I felt the report was refreshing and, even, shocking. People all across the world are experiencing the same digital anxieties as myself, the ones I try to suppress. You know the feeling, the guilt as you check in to a restaurant before you say hello to your date, the photograph you ‘like’ on Facebook of the old friend you’ve not physically seen since you left school.
But these anxieties concern relationships and actually the report uncovers some more philosophical concerns. The highlight, for me, is the comparison between religion and technology looking at the facets of omniscience, community, knowledge, self-examination, good-works and prophets.
Living our lives in the open, under the mantra of this technological force, can see us devout ourselves to achieving more Klout, to having more re-pins and to – literally – gaining more ‘followers’. In turn, we become the prophets for the demi-gods themselves, such as Google, Facebook and Apple.
Hyperbole, certainly, yet it’s tongue-in-cheek and a reminder that our behaviours aren’t as ‘free’ as we think they are, despite the mobile world.
In fact, as Kevin Slavin points out, we are living under an ever increasing ‘tyranny of algorithm’ in which 57 signals monitored by Google act as filters for what we see, read and do.
So it’s no surprise that 69% of prosumers in the report worry about society’s lack of community and interconnectedness.
Is it the closer we become online the further we become in our real lives?
Well, no, not really. In the report we can clearly pinpoint a trend to wanting more privacy, a better quality of information and from a break from relentless progress. It’s not a rejection but a natural progression as people cope with a new age of information freedom and ever increasing time pressures.
The new way forward will be for marketers to help consumers achieve a long-term satisfaction and escape the quick rush which is currently the norm.
I believe this requires a return to the values of the old British community and incorporates respect, tolerance, disciple and family.
Give people an idea, let them connect in the digital and physical world and invest in this as a community of ideas. It’s an adjustment of our current lives and a chance for reflection, to help us enjoy our digital life again.
Now if you can please re-tweet this and ‘like’ it as quickly as possible, that would be great…
By Jon Welsh