A Little Thinking

In this Internet era, the spreadability and accessibility of information seem to became the most essential thing in the business domain. Brands and advertisers are trying so hard to increase their exposure in the network of social media. In order to promote their product or service and achieve commercial success, companies throw themselves into the constructing and development of social media. For example, they create or use controversial hot topics to gain attention and discussion, which means they are making the active community become much more dynamic, or chaotic. Honestly, some of them surely bring us a lot of entertainment and fun. But from another perspective, I doubt that some of them are just making a mess.

The actual world is so huge, which keeps refreshing our knowledge everyday. But more than that, the realm of our virtual world is much wider and unlimited. The modern lifestyle forces us to live with a variety of efficient digital media which make most of people become more like one-way information acceptors. Form the first moment I wake up in the morning, I keep staring at different screens until I fall asleep. It seems there are endless things have to be know everyday, I enjoy it, and feel exhausted about it at the same time. Every time I see the number of unread messages in my various social media accounts and RSS reader, there will be a trace of panic appears deep inside my heart.

I believe that I am not the only person who feels struggling about this information overload environment. Our world and our media environment may be too fierce and aggressive, working like a overloaded uncontrolled machine. Whether those highly spreadable information are always creating a beautiful world? Whether those things come too easily and too directly are still as good as we imagine? Whether loneliness and shortage is always negative?

I suddenly think of a story I read in China one year before. It was a really romantic story about loneliness:

A software programmer said his team used to design an iPhone application called “bloom”, which tried to create a new slow dating experience. The app asked two people to plant a flower together but they were not able to talk with each other at the beginning. It would take quite a long time to grow a bud, and then these two strangers could see the information of each other. In short, each step of the relationship would be a really long, slow and hazy process. Besides the mysterious soil, only god knew what would happen. There was no doubt that this app failed in the market, it took a year for them to absorbed only 1000 users. One day the team finally decided to stop this stupid project when every team member nearly forgot the app. However, to their great surprised, they found there were still 6 people using this app and logging in just before they wanted to shut down the server! The team was so curious about who these 6 people were, but it was such a pity that they had deleted the code and program from all their phones and computers. So nobody could now the identity of those 6 interesting people, or whether they had known each other. Moreover, since the app had never been tested too much, actually none of them was sure that if those 6 people could finally meet each other. Nothing but just plant a flower, what a indescribable experience. The whole team could do nothing to them, even just tried to send them a thanks message. So the team leader changed his mind, he kept the server working for these 6 lonely but interesting spirit. “If they didn’t quit through this whole year time. I think they would never quit.” Said the leader. Exactly, this is the point of the story. How patient and positive these 6 guys are to deal with the bore, the uncertainty, the loneliness of this special relationship. They make this unsuccessful app so romantic and poetic, like a little lonely planet in Le Petit Prince.

So I am just doubting that, the high spreadability of our media, our information seems not always so reliable and positive. On one hand, it makes the world too real. When you want to know something, you have all access to know it. Sometimes even you are not so interested in something, the high developed social network may force you to read, listen or watch about it(like you can see things your friend “like” in Facebook). In a way, curiosity and imagination are losing there soil and land, since the social media seems just trying to show and explain things to you  so eagerly instead of encouraging you to discover and find your own answer patiently.  So on the other hand I think it also makes everything so suspect when you never have enough time to establish a deep relationship with them.

As a role of consumer, individual may get a huge benefit from the vigorous media. However, as the role of living person, I believe most of us can notice the confusion, trouble, anxiety or disturbance caused by the media. The first time I heard about the concept of ‘living person’ was in a speech held by Dentsu, the largest advertising agency in Japan. They believe in the recent age, marketers and advertisers should no longer see normal people as ‘consumers’, sounds like some kind of lower animal that can be easily controlled. Today is far away from the age that everyone is struggling for food and survival, now we have our own personality, lifestyle and value system. Brands and companies should transform themselves into the role of daily companion and partner of every individual, try to live with them and establish a more human relationship. As a friend, you shouldn’t be so noisy and selfish. Space and freedom are always the most essential thing among all the relationship. Inner peace is indispensable for everyone. So the media and advertisement shouldn’t always try to burst into people’s life and emphasize their sense of presence, sometimes just slow down and be quiet may create an unexpected mutual benefit.

I am not trying to stand in the opposite of spreadability, I totally believe its scientific help for marketing and advertising. But as a normal people living in a common city life, sometimes I am just  tired of being dominated by the media, like facing to a huge wave in the ocean. It doesn’t mean I want to turn off all my electronic devices and move to the countryside. I am still a man full of curiosity and energy. So my confusion is more about the experience and relationship between us and the new media, can it be less intense?

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