The upside and downside of being a Digitite.

July 29, 2011

It’s hard to imagine I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 21 years old.  How could I have gone through high school and college with only a landline and voicemail?  Unbelievable.  I had a Mac laptop when I entered college in 1997. Mac OS8 was all the rage, but all I can remember are those dang flying toasters.  

Facebook and MySpace were but a blip in their mother’s eye, let alone the mere thought of text messaging capabilities. How did we survive? Or should I say, how do we survive now? You’d think information overload would have its consequences.  

Other than the security of being able to call for help when I am stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, life seemed less stressful 10 years ago.  We were able to live life more anonymously and were less trackable. Unless I am buried in an avalanche, I am not all that concerned that my GPS is enabled.  Nowadays it’s as if we all have a GPS chip surgically implanted in our souls.  

Everything changed in September 2011. The need for mobile communication was intensified. The Digitite in me was born. 

For me, the ability to reach out to friends and loved ones from anywhere became a necessity.  This necessity has grown from simply contacting loved ones to obtaining up to the minute news to stalking an old flame on Facebook (of course I never did that but you get the picture). We knew about the Haitian and Japanese earthquakes as they happened. We learned of Chile’s mining tragedy-turned-miracle through Twitter and Facebook, living through every development as it happened.  Within seconds, we’re able to pull up YouTube videos and engage ourselves as if we were right there in Japan, Haiti or Chile, heightening our human connection and upping our empathetic nature to unheard-of and never before seen levels.  We’re becoming more and more desensitized.  At this rate, the word “sheltered” will fall out of existence.  

Our day-to-day interaction and relationships began to change. Text messaging was great for those who don’t like to talk on the phone. It’s also great for the rest of us who may lack the time.  Get your point across in a couple of words. Done. And don’t even say you didn’t get my text because BBM says you read it.  Why haven’t you responded? Time to jump to conclusions.  What?  My friends knew I wasn’t at the movie I said I was going to because I wasn’t thinking and checked myself in at U.S. Airways arena to tweet about the Suns game? Oops. 

I have found myself justifying a lack of keeping in touch with friends and family because I posted on their wall or sent a quick 3 word text message “thinking of you.” It’s not all bad, though.  We’re able to get back in touch with people that we probably never would have been able without social media.  All it takes is a simple Google or Facebook search.  If nothing comes up, try Linked-In. Or Foursquare.   Better yet, try Words with Friends.  I play with my younger cousins in New Jersey.  Even though I don’t actually talk to them, I feel like it counts as communication and that I have a grasp on what they’re up to. What troubles me is that they have an iPhone at 9 and 10 years old. Not to mention they’re probably more tech savvy than I’ll ever be. And to top it off, they’re great at Scrabble. Rematch?

We’re able to keep in touch with everyone, and I mean everyone. From a best friend in 3rd grade to a 7th grade nemesis. Why do we care? Because we can. Why not?  

The world of celebrity has forever changed too. We all know Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton. We all saw Britney walk barefoot into that dirty gas station bathroom. Imagine if the OJ Simpson chase and trial were to happen today. We’d each have our own verdict in minutes. Good luck finding a jury on that one.  

Still, knowledge is power, and these days, we all have the ability to be more than we ever could have been thanks to this ability to interact with each other. Case in point – Perez Hilton, who would’ve had thought that an online blog would take off like it did? Advertisers began to find new avenues to reach potential consumers.  The use of this new online space created a powerful new medium – online advertising. Everyone is connected these days, whether through SMS cell phone alerts, email blasts from their favorite brands, networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, GPS enabled apps like Loop’d or Foursquare. People are glued to their iPhones, iPads, Android Tablets, Wi-Fi enabled notebooks, Kindles – the list goes on and will continue to grow, as will advertising opportunities across this expanding platform. 

Bottom line: This is an exciting time. It’s important to be in the forefront of social media and our constantly evolving online space.  It’s great working for an agency like E.B. Lane as we’re always one step ahead of the curve and looking for that next, best thing.  After all, you have to be a forward thinker in this day and age.  I can’t fathom what the future holds, but I am guessing it will blow our minds.  What do you think? Any predictions?  Who knows, maybe Justin Timberlake will bring MySpace back from the grave … only time will tell. 

So when did you become a Digitite? Have you truly become one with the bytes or do you unplug to keep La Vida Digital at a minimum?

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