Thursday, 3 July 2008

Why digital isn't about digital

It’s a fairly overused cliché already, but the thing about digital is that behaviour doesn’t really change at a basic level… people are still doing the things they always did – they’re just finding new ways of making them happen.

This reminds me of a possibly mythic story I was once told about an architect who had designed two tower blocks within a campus. During the pitch presentation. One of the clients pointed out, they’d forgotten to lay out the paths that ran between the two buildings… a ha! said the architect, we didn’t forget them… build the towers and the users will mark the paths out for themselves. We’ll concrete them over later.

I was reading a post on potlatch called ‘blogging and its opposite’. I think Will makes an interesting (and obvious – but aren’t all the best ideas) point:

…Media gurus talk about the shift from 'push', broadcast media to 'pull', on-demand or network media, but this shift was always going to throw up some fairly uncomfortable truths about the human condition…
Why does someone link to, forward, click on, bookmark or save a link? The answer is less often epistemological or moral than aesthetic or psychoanalytic. In the age of 'pull media' it is not only the content that is pulled to us by technology, but we who are pulled to it by our psyches and bodies.

I was going to make a point here about an account man who I was in a meeting with a while ago who patently didn’t get this point. I won’t. He’s a dick and I’ve wasted too much time being annoyed by the meeting.

The point
It’s not just about content.
You have to understand the consumer too.
Think about their psyche. Think about what actually makes them tick.
Talk to them on that level and you have a genuine connection.

Digital is not about technology it’s about people’s reactions to it.
Don’t start the process by thinking about online. Think about digital.

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