888: ‘eight hours labour, eight hours rest, and eight hours recreation’. That was the motto in the nineteenth century for the forty hours work per week campaign. However, with the emergence of smartphones, this well-known equation might have changed: according to the latest reports, 97% of people between 18 and 44 have an electronic device and devote 3.2 hours a day to interact with it in a cross-cutting way. Are we moving from the 888 model to 885-3? What are the paradigms of this revolution and what do we need to do as a company?
– Together, but lonely
After studying this issue for more than a decade, the specialist Sherry Turkle realised that devices have so much psychological strength that they change what we do, but also what we are (TED, Connected but alone?). We enter the era of serious difficulties to maintain the complete attention. The irruption of the screens in all areas gives the occasion that we are together, but alone. Thus, social networks offer company without the demands of friendship, with a channel of communication that always listens. And, sometimes, “even with machines that pretend to interest us”, she explains. Science fiction has already given us novels about it as A.I. (Spielberg, 2001), Her (Jonze, 2013)or the magnificent Black Mirror.
Another magnetic attraction of hyperconnectivity occurs in that they present us as we want to be. Since messages can be edited and photos retouched with filters, the complexity of human relationships is cleaned with technology. In the ’60s, cinema directors such as Federico Fellini proposed just the opposite: the errors stayed in his films because he wanted to reflect “the imperfection of the life in the screen. If life isn´t perfect, why I should show it that way”.
Recently, Mark Renton, the fictional character of Irvine Welsh in Trainspotting, summed it up in his updated monologue:
There are two positions amongst this reality:
- A negative current, in which it is proposed to live the more disconnected.
- A positive current, in which the adoption of gadgets and networks broadens the way we understand the world.
– Embracing the change, with a social vision
There is no doubt that this digital revolution forces all companies to transform their messages and business models. As an example, last month I worked with our team on a project for a large lottery company in Europe. The core matter was based on the problem of traditional games in the under 40´s, as these weren´t attractive enough to move them to spend their money.
Together with the client, we did a workshop in which we observed the need to create a new tool that manages communication channels and, thus, fit the demands of the public with relevant and contextualised messages. Yes, it´s a way of reducing marketing costs, but also to reduce the digital footprint of the message in these 3.2 daily hours of Millennials consumers in its devices. Efficiency in the message its part of the social responsibility of any company.
At the end of the day, it is not about denying the change. The locomotive can not be stopped with one hand, but all the actors involved can evangelise in the use and implementation of projects with corporate social responsibility behind digital technologies.
Choose life, like Renton.