Rethinking Our Relationship To Technology

As I reflect on what I’ve read so far in Alone Together, I’ve come to a few conclusions and have some concerns. The theme of the book is so far has been relationships between humans and robots and the effects of robots on human-to-human relationships. I thought since I grew up without robotic friends that I might be immune to “confiding” in robots. I’m not.

AIBO - Wikimedia Commons

I may not have communicated with a Furby or an AIBO but I use Google every day. I use their robots. When someone approaches me with a question that I don’t know, I respond, “Have you googled it?”

Twitter is a wide-open sea of information and a great way to interact is by asking questions. I’ve often been conflicted because it’s much more efficient to just ‘google’ it. You don’t have to wait for a response with Google; you don’t have to investigate links that people send you; you can get right to it. Sure Google can answer basically any question but it doesn’t beat human interaction.

[quote]The selfobject is cast in the role of what one needs, but in these relationships, disappointments inevitably follow. –Sherry Turkle[/quote]

The sad part is that I’ve been relying too much on technology and worrying about how quickly I can accomplish something. I fear that Google and Twitter could become selfobjects…Well, I’m not so much concerned about Google, but Twitter is about relationship building, interacting, and discovering; not using it when I need to.

Do you find yourself relying on technology more than human interaction? Any other thoughts?

Alone Together – Shocked in 3 Pages!

My Parents' first phone
My Parents' first phone - Motorola Microtac Lite II

Remember bringing home your first cell phone? It feels like a LONG time ago but in scheme of things, it wasn’t really that long ago. We can all agree that technology has evolved at exponential rates in the past 20 years.

As my cousin said yesterday, I’ve had “one foot in, one foot out” as a digital native. Born in 1985, I have a pretty unique perspective on this discussion. Sherry Turkle also has a unique perspective on technology in the past two decades. She has children growing up in the digital age.

I just picked up Alone Together yesterday and I’m already creeped out! I’ve made it through the Author Notes section and part of the Introduction.

The subtitle itself is fairly disturbing too: “Why we expect more from technology and less from each other.” Even Sherry seems disturbed by her research.

[quote]I leave my story at a point of disturbing symmetry: we seem determined to give human qualities to objects and content to treat each other as things.[/quote]

In 2005, Sherry took her then 14 year-old daughter to a Darwin exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. When looking two giant tortoises from the Galapagos Islands, her daughter said “They could have used a robot.”

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

So far it’s shocking and enlightening and I’m technically only 3 pages in! It’s time to dive in and I can’t wait to report back when I’m finished.


Fear Marketing Works, But You Don’t Need to Use It

“Every 10 seconds an American home is robbed.” Farmers, to be fair, that’s a bit of a stretch. In 2009, it was roughly 20 seconds. And it’s an average.

If that’s shocking, so are insurance company sales practices. Yeah, this isn’t a new subject but social media still is.

I caught this on Twitter Thursday, a tweet from Farmers Insurance.

Farmers Twitter

Social channels have given each of us a new voice and an opportunity to get our message right. It’s a chance to build trust in our brands and build a positive reputation.

Insurance is one of the least trusted industries in the world along with banks and financial services. These industries are the only ones on the list that make their money by selling money and projections. A business model like that naturally has more marketing challenges and selling fear is not the strategy.

Let’s learn a lesson from Farmers that marketing fear sends a big red flag saying “DO NOT TRUST!”

Fear marketing works, but you don’t need to use it…unless that’s your niche.

What they could be doing on Twitter is talking with followers about their product, which eases worries and fears, not increases them.

[quote]Scaring people (scaring good customers) to make $100 is stupid. It hurts your brand. It makes it less likely they’ll open the envelope next time. And most of all, it’s wrong. -Seth Godin[/quote]

If you’ve found fear marketing to be a positive influence, please comment and share your thoughts. How would you market a product that sells money and projections?