insights, ironies and idiosyncrasies in communication and design

from the wide, wide world and the world wide web

Friday, 18 July 2008

The new corporate drug?

As this poppy banner stat from their website suggests, Profero are well aware of the addictive nature of the digital world, championing its existence to clients in their drive to market to the world.

I am a member of their church of Digitology. I am one of the converted. I worship daily. (And admire their work – particularly for Channel 4.) But as much as I'm an ambassador for the digital revolution, I'll always be at heart a New Realist (and not just because I live in a 100-year old shophouse in Bangkok's Chinatown and eat rice noodles in dusty local stalls for breakfast) but because I believe there's currency in sometimes viewing consumers as something other than participants – which is the current trend among shops (and blogs) all over. 

As much as people desire to actively engage, contributing to the self-authored contents of Web 2.0, they will always just want to skim or surf through whatever it is that is put in front of them, kicking back and vegging out, selectively consuming, ignoring a lot of what they see on the way – especially when it takes them forever to do so as it does still in many markets of the world. People just often want a (sometimes seemingly profound) dramatic pay off but without the investment of time or exerting effort or energy. And just because we are all into it, doesn't mean they are all all into it. 

As David Mamet astutely points out: "We take pleasure in music because it states a theme, the theme elaborates itself and then resolves, and we are then pleased as if it were a philosophical revelation – even though the resolution is devoid of verbal content. Like politics, like most popular entertainment."

And that obviously includes the web, but Youtube rather than Twitter, Hi5 rather than some hip aggregate site, as large chunks of our target audience – especially in narrowband paid-for Wifi second and third worlds – are still happily mainlining TV or just beginning to withdraw from half a century of its addictive presence.

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