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All that noise, all that sound November 17, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, technology.
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So my agency is on a decent size pitch at the moment, and we were talking about the acceleration of technology over the last three years as it pertains to this particular company. And we were video taping various people saying different things and so I of course being the narcissist I am went off back to my desk and sat running a monologue over and over in my head, trying to think of something clever to say while being able to toss it off as if it was largely off the cuff.

And then when they came to film me I was on a conference call. And then the opportunity was gone because they’re in a bit of a rush.

The thing I thought of though, I thought was quite interesting, and it was this: the technological revolution we’re going through right now is currently being framed as a change in lifestyle, when what we’re really dealing with, on a really fundamental level, is a change in life itself. 20 years ago, many-to-many communication was basically impossible, and even one-to-many was limited to those who could afford to do it, usually requiring a publisher.

Now anyone can, and because there are still more people in the world who knew life without the Internet than there are who only know the Internet, being always connected is deemed a lifestyle and a choice. As that ratio changes however, being disconnected is going to be seen as a lifestyle and what is currently (at least in some circles, not mine) considered an “other” state, will be the norm.

The norm on the rise now is being able to get a message to anyone you want or as many people you want at any time you want. After thousands of years of relative status quo, it’s changed over night. Which is why I say the web is young, and why I say we haven’t fully grasped all this yet. I could just have a smaller mind than most (it has often been suggested), but sitting and pondering it for a moment kinda blows it to a thousand tiny pieces.

And having said all that, the only thing I can be sure of is I would have wound up on the cutting room floor, with the Creative Director going “Do you really have to do that every time?”.

…I suppose I do…

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Image courtesy of bass nroll, with thanks to compfight.

I’ll send an S.O.S. to the world November 4, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising.
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Tomorrow I’m teaching a course at the agency I work at, titled (long before I arrived) “Today’s Digital Consumer”. The first thing I’ll be doing is pulling out “Digital” from the topic heading, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has read Digital Strangelove.

I’m wrestling with theory vs. practice right now though; it could be a very practical talk, or it could be one of big ideas, and I’m not sure where the common ground is. I feel like it’s a moment for practical advice, for saying things people can take away and do. I also feel like advertising spends too much time just doing, and not enough time thinking about how it should be done.

Regardless, I’m thankful to have an audience that stretches across a variety of disciplines, from media planning to print production, and I’m hoping what comes out of it is a practical discussion, a lively debate and some points of view that challenge my own. It isn’t about being right, it’s about being least wrong, and I’m viewing all of this space right now with a smile and a shrug and a sly nod to a future version of myself who is already looking back and saying “Remember when…”

Image courtesy of the gracious and lovely Hugh Macleod.

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Context of text in the next generation May 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in marketing, philosophy, work/life.
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I read two unrelated posts this morning which both said the same thing; the generation of children who aren’t yet teenagers have an interesting relationship with and approach to communication.

The first was from Fred Wilson who was after a new phone for his daughter to replace a broken iPhone. Funnily enough, she didn’t want it replaced with an iPhone, 2007’s must have toy.

She wants the new crimson red Blackberry Curve.

Fortunately, it looks like I can get an unlocked one on eBay for between $100 and $200.

I wonder what this says? I realize it’s a sample size of one, but I’ve heard that a bunch of her friends have also given up their iPhones in search of a better texting device which seems to be the one feature they value most.

The second was from Simon Chen who said exactly the same thing:

Ask a teenager to give up their mobile phone and see what happens. Actually, I bet if you told any kid today that the new rule of the house is their phones would be restricted to voice calls only (and that the text or SMS function would be disabled), there would be a global revolt. Parents would be locked in cars and basements and all manner of threats would be shouted from every rooftop.

Kids don’t talk on phones anymore. They grunt. But the little f@#ckers can text. Man, can they text.

I am loathe to carry out a conversation via text, I flat out refuse and don’t respond, or else I call if it is really important*. But I’ve seen this behaviour in my younger cousins, and being somewhat pedantic about grammar and punctuation, have certainly seen it carried out in the way sentences are constructed – or rather abbreviated into forms that begin to border on unrecognisable.

With this in mind, I’ve begun thinking aloud (and with no real clarity yet) about what this means for the way the next generation will communicate, particularly how they will expected to be communicated to and how this will impact their interactions with the rest of the world.

For example, is it reasonable to expect “correct” grammar to be taught if it ceases to apply to their daily lives the way it does to mine? Will an essay in SMS or l33t speak be admissable in new communications courses once they at university? More applicable to me, how does that change the nature of text in ads? How do you affect the tone of a piece if not just punctuation but vowels themselves cease to play a part? Srlsy?

I’d dismiss the above as nonsense, except I already see my own generation with hard and fast mind sets on certain things nobody had to teach us, we just knew. The notion of respecting someone because of their title never even entered our minds; what do I take for granted that the next batch won’t bat an eyelid at?

The changing nature of communication is something I find endlessly interesting, even if there are no easy answers.

*Things that are important:

  1. A guitar I simply must have
  2. The girl I’m seeing accidentally meeting the girl I’m seeing
  3. Confusion over which bar we will begin the evening’s festivities in
  4. A Springsteen tour being announced
  5. More as I think of them…