Missing the ride?

The last section of Interstate 40 was completed here in our home state of North Carolina, connecting Raleigh to Wilmington.  With this final stretch of road in place, Charles Kuralt reportedly said:

“Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.” 

In many ways, this quote is reminiscent of musings often uttered about emerging media.  New forms of media are constantly being introduced that can whisk users to far-off places; yet, many people assert that this is at the expense of the true human experience.

How often have we heard people say the following?

  • “Children talk to their friends via Skype. Yet, they are starved for true face-to-face interaction.”
  • “Search engines are replacing academic research.”
  • “My son and I used to play football.  Now he plays Angry Birds.”

Those who use emerging media can read a book before it hits the shelves.  They can discover new music without fighting concert crowds.  They can see Japan without ever getting a passport.  Yet, naysayers would contend that these users are travelling along without truly seeing anything out their windows.  They are getting there faster but are missing the ride.

Keeping with “the ride” analogy, consider last year’s Toyota Venza ad.  In this commercial, a young girl boasts about her 687 Facebook friends.  She compares this to her parents’ nineteen friends, and accuses them of not truly living.  Her rant is juxtaposed with footage of her parents enjoying life together – with actual friends. While she sits at the computer, they get out of their Venza and bike through the mountains.

To make matters worse, the girl looks like a zombie.  She appears to be hypnotized by new media, and she is self-admittedly unable to read an entire article.  She is a testament to those who think social media is killing all that is human about us.

It’s time to introduce a detour to this line of thinking.  Here at the Off Forty advertising agency, we are firm believers that emerging media does not detract from the human experience.  Rather, it helps shape it.  The new channels we all have at our disposal give us fresh and exciting ways to interact with one another.  They also give you powerful methods of connecting with clients and promoting a valuable brand experience.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) & Social Media Online reports how the instantaneous qualities of new media can help efficiently address consumer needs.  Along these same lines, small businesses like yours can use online surveys and polls to gain insight into clients and track their feedback.  And, you can make your customers feel special by providing “something extra” in the form of an interactive contest or innovative discount.  The list goes on.

Throughout the “Word on the Street” blog, we will be looking in-depth at how emerging media can help you shape meaningful relationships with the world of consumers.

The view out the window is beautiful.  Enjoy the ride.

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