Has digital media changed your life?
Sep 30, 2009
This post is one part sociology and one part marketing. Social media and digital technology have influenced how we spend our time and forced marketers to evolve how they reach consumers. Americans have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend at social networking and blog sites from a year ago, according to a new report from The Nielsen Company. But where is it going from here?
If you think about other trends that have impacted society, they go through various phases as the trend evolves. For example, I remember when marketing emails had long-form copy in them. People were used to reading letters, so the natural transition was to write an email in letter form. Now images have replaced descriptions, links have replaced explanations, leaving only the bare minimum for the audience to absorb and incite action.
Now we’re in a time of rapid-fire…shorter but much more frequent messages. Between all the digital content at our fingertips (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news sites, etc.) I find there’s not enough time in the day to view all the content I’d like to without feeling like my computer owns me. It leaves me wondering: can we sustain this increased stimulation?
Vendors have stepped up to the plate providing us with tools to better manage our digital lives (e.g., Tweetdeck and the Newstand iPhone app that allows us to streamline our favorite news, Twitter, Delicious and more in a single place). Strangely, it seems the efficiency provided by these tools isn’t leading to decreased consumption, it’s just allowing us to pack more into our day. To support this, Nielsen’s Three Screen Report looks at media consumption across TV, internet and mobile and tells us that with the increased options for consuming media, consumers are actually adding screen time to their day, rather than replacing one screen with another.
Digital technology has changed the way we consume media — the audience has gained control of the conversation and we can watch what we want when we want. The iPhone (and other PDAs) have allowed us to have zero downtime during our waking hours no matter where you are…you never have to really “be there.”
I wonder how our society’s values have changed from digital media. Will we start to miss old pastimes of playing sports outside and meeting friends — in person — for coffee or has it been replaced by fantasy sports leagues and sending widgets to friends on Facebook?
With only so many hours in the day, we’re forced to make a decision. Do you think the rate at which we’re consuming media is sustainable, or will there be another shift in how consumers prioritize their time? And how will marketing evolve with this shift?