In a recent New York Times article, Texts without Context, writer Michiko Kakutani explores the effect that digital media is having on our culture. The author reviews a number of books that point to how “online collectivism, social networking and popular software designs are changing the way people think and process information.”
In essence, the premise is that bits of the volumes of information we receive via email, social networking, the Internet, and all our other sources, are dumped into our brain’s hopper, chopped into smaller bits, and quickly recycled through our perception filters, and then regurgitated by us back out into cyberspace. No fact checks. No credit to the actual authors of any of the information. Just a mashing of information bits to create our own new reality, which we share and spread.
The article suggests that the news media, in its haste to meet the growing demand for “real-time news”, now simply speculates about what might be happening, rather than spending the time gathering, reviewing, and then reporting actual facts. The blending of news and entertainment is creating more polarization…more subjectivity…less neutrality.
Growing attention deficit disorder and overwhelming incoming information from millions of sources. No more originality. No more creativity. At least…that’s the premise.
Or…is it something else?
Is it harder to get your prospects’ and customers’ attention in email, and other marketing efforts because information is now processed differently? Is there now a greater need to move directly to the experience they can anticipate through your product or service rather than processing information in “the old way.” Instead of sifting slowly through all of the data before reaching any kind of a conclusion, is the brain now simply trained and ready to jump into the experiential aspect of the information?
There is ample evidence…real data…gathered and analyzed through scientific methods…that reflects the importance of connection in email marketing, over data distribution. Creating a connection, in today’s digital world, means your email marketing efforts must allow the recipient to actually immerse themselves…to feel the experience…of what you have to offer. To visualize…see themselves… having…achieving…being. That kind of connection.
It also means seeing themselves as part of a larger group or network.
The question is…will belonging…in the new digital world…become more important than thinking for oneself?
Will more “socialization” through the world wide web make us less…or more? Will it “dumb us down” or bring us to a new level of awareness and enlightenment?
In email marketing, you have the opportunity to do more…or less. You can provide links to detailed information that will allow individuals to immerse themselves into a niche experience. You can allow them to explore their own creativity by building their own programs…designed to let them grow and experience your products at their own pace…in their own way.
Rather than creating mediocrity, I believe email marketers have the opportunity to create something else…opening a whole new world of experience…collectively and individually.
Perhaps personal enlightenment and amusement are not dead, as the authors quoted in Texts Without Context seem to suggest. Perhaps…collectively…we are simply experiencing them in a new way.