You can’t please all the people…

Bill Bernbach

Reading one of Nick Cave’s excellent Red Hand Files reminded me of the Bill Bernbach quote that I shared on LinkedIn back in 2016.

Fast forward four years and – right now – being bold feels like a dangerous activity. Cave himself hits the nail on the head with this quote:

“…what songwriter could have predicted thirty years ago that the future would lose its sense of humour, its sense of playfulness, its sense of context, nuance and irony, and fall into the hands of a perpetually pissed off coterie of pearl-clutchers? How were we to know?”

Barely a day goes by without an example of public bear-baiting on social media – despite calls for restraint in the wake of Caroline Flack’s death.

The way people orchestrate something akin to a digital lynching when someone expresses an opinion that doesn’t appear to conform to the mean is reprehensible.

However, I have also seen remarkably reasonable debates on both Twitter and Facebook between people who completely disagree on an issue – one about Quentin Tarantino’s alleged misogyny manifesting itself in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood sticks in the mind.

But the world is built on people swapping stories and ideas, which more often that not come with a difference of opinion.

We are human. We think. We don’t all have the same opinions. We should be comfortable that sometimes people don’t agree with us.

What we must guard against is how (and possibly where) we choose to discuss and evaluate those ideas.

By and large, I have found myself unwilling to voice an opinion online. And if a straw poll among friends is anything to go by, I know I’m far from alone.

Meanwhile in the comfort of a group I know, I’m willing to put something potentially contentious out there, safe in the knowledge that I won’t become Public Enemy No.1.

I’ll leave the last word to Nick Cave again…

“I would rather be remembered for writing something that was discomforting or offensive, than to be forgotten for writing something bloodless and bland.”

Why aren’t we allowed to ‘delete’ any more?

DeleteThere’s a new class of apps available to business professionals, allowing us to delete emails and other electronic media for good, rather than archiving them forever.

It’s an interesting concept; the ubiquitous nature of social media means that any inappropriate or unintentional communication can be beamed around the world in the blink of an eye, potentially ruining a company and a person’s career for good.

The ability for us to expunge those mistakes would seem to be a good thing. And for many a blessed relief. But there are those who would wish that people who’ve made a mistake should never recover.

Forget wearing a hairshirt for a couple of weeks, months or years – once you’ve committed that ‘sin’, that’s it, as Jon Ronson discovers as part of his article in The Guardian.

Unconscious mind

Most people – especially those in positions of responsibility – aspire to high standards and for the most part adhere to them. Continue reading “Why aren’t we allowed to ‘delete’ any more?”

Why this year’s ‘big digital trends’ will still be here in 2018

Last week I gave a presentation at work about the big Digital Trends that are engaging the best minds in the online world.

I wasn’t setting myself up as some sort of futurologist or digital guru – merely keeping people who don’t spend every day up to speed with what’s happening and how it might affect Age UK.

What struck me, however, is that almost none of what I was talking about was particularly revolutionary. For all its visionary nature and apparent speed of thought and action, digital trends take a long time to reach a tipping point and become – at the very least – common currency.

Let’s take one example: Mobile – when I worked at AOL back in 2005/6, everyone was talking about how mobile was the next big thing. Well, to be honest, it’s only just got here.

In fact 2014 will be the first year that mobile (in which I include tablet) finally overtakes desktop usage – talk about a long gestation period.

Another example is ‘big data’. That’s been a term that’s been bandied around for a couple of years and is only now coming to the forefront – although the concept and the practice are two very different things.

As for the ‘Internet of Things’ – the term was originated back in 1999 by a Procter & Gamble brand marketer called Kevin Ashton.

Why the delay?

So why are these trends taking their time? The obvious reason is money – in many cases, any large brand who wants to get involved first has to wait to ensure it’s not a flash in the pan, and then commit a large amount of money, time and resource to get it in place.

The other main reason is that we’re often waiting for the technology to catch up with the idea. Mobile has only become such a powerful trend with the convergence of high volume of tablets and smartphones, plus better connection speeds.

And the ‘Internet of Things’ was a marketing fancy in the first place. It’s taken the likes of Google to buy Nest for $3.2bn this year to really take it mainstream.

So don’t be surprised if you go to a presentation in 4 years’ time that is still talking about ‘personalisation’ and ‘real-time’ as being big trends. Digital doesn’t move quite as fast as everyone thinks it does.