posted: August 22nd, 2012
From the video above, it might appear I might go on a rant about the older generation using computers.
Today's rant: marketing people, and the people who like to push internet statistics.
Here's a lovely infographic from Ad Age, showing how Obama and Romney use social media. Hey, that's great, and I am sure many media outlets will pick up on it, but it misses something significant. Despite all the commercials, television shows and movies that show the wondrous world of the internet, not everyone uses it.
Do you want a more accurate picture? Go survey poor people who have no computer or smart phone. Go survey older people who might have a computer, but have no idea how to actually use it (see above video). Go talk to people who have no access to the internet (either due to lack of money to afford the service, or due to no access to public services like a library or a recreation center). Hell...go talk to the people who just don't want to be on the internet at all.
For me, living in Los Angeles, I am surrounded by a rather skewed version of "the world". No-talent people (and I mean true no-talents, like "I-took-it-in-the-ass, so-give-me-a-reality-show" Kim Kardashian) who are idolized by equally clueless people. "Entitled" (in both their mind, and their wallet) people who don't go to events (movies, concerts, et cetera) unless they can get a free all-access pass. Snobs who must have the latest music release on vinyl, because that is "the way the artist meant it to sound" (yeah...right...the "artist" wanted surface noise, wow and flutter in their recording - shut up already, and get the CD...if you can find a copy). People of questionable financial backgrounds who violate every traffic law in their late-model (and older) BMWs and Mercedes, who treat being pulled over and fined as nothing, because they can afford it.
My focus right now though, in this rant, is "the world" outside of the internet.
When local TV news says "for more information, log onto our website at...", there's a decent sized part of their audience that can not do that. When music acts offer free downloads of their latest songs, there are fans who will not be able to hear those songs. Hell...look at theaters. People still wait in line for tickets. Kiosks exist for tickets. Fandango and other sites exist online for buying tickets. Still, go to a theater, and you will see people in line. You will see people not using technology, and simply waiting in line.
As a person who makes a living using the internet, I see the potential for what it can be used for, but I also see that there are a lot of people who can not use it (for various reasons). It's all fine and good to talk about "social media" success, but you still have to learn to think outside of the internet. The world is not just the net. You can not just make an internet marketing blitz, and expect success. Your Instagram promotion was cute. Your Facebook "like us" gimmick got you a few likes. That's great, but don't forget that there are people in this world who you are not reaching. You can not forget these people. Saying "oh, they are too old to matter" or "who cares about people who can not afford net access" will come back and bite you in the ass real hard.
Well, not quite the end...
Along with remembering that there is a world outside of the net, we need to work on a way to inform people in general. When I say inform, I mean to share accurate news, and to get people blinded by prejudice, racism and strong religious beliefs to actually listen to (and learn from) what is said. If I have to witness any more ignorant* people spreading lies about birth certificates, past history of candidates, or just vomiting from the mouth every key word that will get the attention of people who don't know better, I am going to explode. No more Palin. No more Bachmann. No more evangelical influence on politics. No more lying about people in public forums when you know what you are doing is hurtful, wrong and (worst of all) will be believed by ignorant people. Can we do that? Please? Can we just have a better way of doing things? Between (far from) "reality" television, talking head idiots who lie and pander on 24 hour news channels, paying the price for an ex-president that almost bankrupt the U.S.A. over an unnecessary war, wingnut bible thumpers, and an ever increasing level of apathy, it's bringing us all down. To quote the late Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along?"
*translation of "ignorant" in the context of that sentence: blinded by a false belief that is so large that a person not only refuses to listen when people point out their errors, but go forth and spread their ignorance to other people so misinformed that they will believe anything they hear.