Daily Archives: December 7, 2008

The end of digital innocence


Whenever a new medium comes along there is an understandable degree of suspicion and fear on behalf of those whose livelihoods was predicated on the older media.  Silent movie matinee stars with great faces but squeaky high-pitched voices must have cursed the day sound was added to films.   Not everyone made the transition to the new improved film medium.   Directors who had  only directed action now had to contend with dialogue and having to record it.   Sets now had to be quiet.   Cinema organists were suddenly rendered obsolete.  And nobody saw it coming.  Nobody ever sees it coming.

Thirty years later the radio industry was rocked by the arrival of TV.  And fifty odd years later the arrival of the internet has complicated life for lots of industries – the record industry, newspapers, retail, television and television advertising. We’ve all spent the last ten years watching the internet evolve.  And our relationship with it continues to evolve.   And as always there are winners and losers.

But it’s fair to say that even if nobody has a clue where  the internet is ultimately headed and what it will ultimately evolve into, we have at least come to grips with the idea of continuing evolution and permanent change as part of our lives.

The Internet is  no longer the daunting mysterious “thing” once was.    We are all working out what works online and what doesn’t.  Patterns have emerged and they continue to emerge. And one important thing to remember though is that while our little lives have changed drastically, humanity hasn’t changed that much over the past ten years.   People still care about the things they’ve always cared about:  themselves and the ones they love.  And, ideally, have a bit of fun along the way.  All this is reflected in what’s favored online, just as it has always been reflected in the dominant media of the day.  Ultimately humanity will win out.

Adding sound to films made them better.  TV was a huge improvement on radio.  And the internet democratized media and empowered people.  They’re no longer passive consumers of what “the man” dictates they consume.

Look at me.  Having the temerity to presume that someone out there thinks that what i have to say about advertising is as important as what Barbara Lippert or Bob Garfield has to say about advertising.

Who the hell do I think I am?