As human beings, we do tech in a big way, every day. We love what it allows us to do, how people can connect, communicate and collaborate. But in today’s world, we’re always on, always plugged in, hiding behind a black mirror. But for an authentic relationship to happen, we need to connect in person. So are we becoming slaves to technology? Is it making us less happy, less ‘us’?
Jane Stevenson, director at Magnetic Storm, shares her concerns of the digital age we’re living in…
Decades ago there was an optimism about the digital age, but it appears to have gone full cycle. People are looking to unplug, to be mindful and switch-off from an always-on world. Psychologically, that’s a game changer. For nearly all of human history, people have been able to find silence and solitude; it was just part of the human condition. Now, we’re reliant on apps like Calm, which is currently valued at $250 million, by the way, to find a moment of quiet.
Yes, there are many things about the internet and tech that are amazing, but there are certain kinds of communication that shouldn’t be via data or video; and people are starting to feel the consequences. Building trust as an individual or brand can only be done in real time and is the outcome of building relationships. If you want an authentic relationship, you need to connect in person. The same goes for brands looking to communicate with consumers; we need to stop hiding behind technology and social media and remember the days of business when there were handshakes, we need human connections.
Many question the future of events because of our altered communication platforms, but I believe the future of events isn’t at risk. It’s certainly going to be disrupted, and for the better, because people are looking for deeper, more meaningful experiences and connections. Events will be measured on return on engagement; it’s no longer a numbers game and is a question of quality, not quantity.
Consider how we have become actors in our own story: we’re living through our screens, always performing, projecting our image and our story. People talk a lot about authenticity, but actually what we’re doing is curating the ego, and that’s eroding the Self. If there is no connection between the brand and the individual, an event may get your brand on social media as photos are uploaded and shared, but is there meaningful engagement that creates loyalty?
I’m not anti-technology; in fact, I love it. However, I’m pro-relationships and pro-conversations and pro-communities. I encourage tech-savviness but use it wisely to enhance not replace. New technologies can be empowering and help us connect, but they can also divide us and make us more lonely and isolated than ever before.