Have We Lost The Power To Communicate With Humans?
I recently watched a TED Talk given by a fellow marketer talking about how he was getting people from all over the globe to work together on a single project. First he'd find an interesting piece of content on the world wide web, then through his blog, he would ask people to interact with it somehow. In some of these experiments people would take pictures and post them, others would sing their response, and one responder used Google street view to walk to a place that meant something to them when he was young.
I was amazed at how open people were to a complete stranger. In another one of his experiments he asked people to give him there user names and passwords, thinking no one would. He had to shut it down because so many people were sending him their information.
Is society accepting the fact that we may never have to have a face-to-face conversation again? We can buy almost anything online. We can communicate with people we know via chat, message, email and video. Through the internet we can visit places we never thought possible and we can gain access to never before seen places. We can even meet our next spouse or cheat on the one we have. And more easily, we can telecommute or ework from the comfort of our own homes.
This is a conundrum for me. I started my career in the old world of marketing with focus groups, creative meetings and brainstorming sessions. My first experience with a personal computer was an Apple II in the U of U library. Computers were for typesetting, you'd lay out your type with the help of your Apple II, run it to a service bureau on a floppy disk, and actually have to interact with a live human being. When you wanted a photograph for an ad, you had to hire a photographer, not pull out your smart phone. Throughout the world of marketing there has been human interaction. Now I have to make a concious effort to interact with a live person.
The problem I am having with interweb communication is that I'm getting used to it, I'm starting to like it. Hell, I'm selling it! And it works.
After this blog article you will be offered an eBook. At this point I haven't yet decided how this article will go, so I haven't yet decided which eBook to offer you, but there will be one. I will ask you to give me some information about yourself and I will accept this information as payment for information on getting to know me and what I do for a living... a little piece at a time. If you are a marketer, you can learn how I do things, if you are looking for a marketer then I will try and persuade you to my line of thinking, little by little.
The point is that you and I will get to know each other. You will read about me and in return you offer up your information so I can get to know you. It's a type of internet currency that we all use. It's no secret, we know what is going on. If you can tell you don't like me right off the bat, then you won't even introduce yourself. If you think we might have a chance, you'll fill out the necessary information. Seems a little cold doesn't it?
Well you know the guy from the TED Talk I spoke about earlier, in one of his experiments he took a .mp3 of some guy's voice, asked a bunch of people he didn't know do re-mixes of this voice, compiled all the recordings he received, then had some unknown-to-him designers create a CD cover, asked his fellow humans on the internet to find this guy, by only his first name and the recordings. You know what — they found him.
He then flew to Philadelphia to meet this guy, presented him with his CD and made a new friend.
I've had much the same experience with Inbound marketing. I've met people I would have never met, most of them I'm glad I met. I'm interacting with countless people I don't yet know. In my past life I would have never had the opportunity to meet and interact with so many good people. Many people have responded to my posts and I always try and respond back. Some people call me and some ask me to call them. In some instances we may set up an online meeting or if you're local an in-person meeting. In any situation, I'm communicating with people I have never met, but we will get to know each other and hopefully it will be a lasting relationship.
This is the way we now do business and I like it. It is at a much faster pace, I'm not sure this is such a good thing for the industry, but there are a lot benefits to speed. What I'm trying to say here is that communication along with marketing has been forever changed by the internet. I'm just becoming a different person because of it. It has been journey and I have made some mistakes but I have ended up in a good place doing good things for good people and that is what really matters.
My fellow inbound marketers along with myself are the some of good people you will run into out there in cyberland. We stand for truth, transparency and education in all things. We hate people that use the internet for evil spamming... wait a second that is my next blog post "The Inbound Manifesto".
Stay Classy Marketeers.