“Real friends are the one who survive the transitions between the address books… Phone diary to Yahoo to Gmail to Orkut to Live & Facebook… so all those who are here on FB in my friends list… You are the REAL one’s :)”
I need to give credits to two people before I go ahead with the post.
First is Mr Jeffrey Deaver for his novel – The Blue Nowhere. I read it couple of days back and I think its one of the best books I have read in a long time.
Second is my very close friend.. “REAL friend” actually Anshul Punhani.. for the quote at the beginning of the post. It was his status message yesterday on FB and it truly is an insight as to how social relationships are evolving today.
We all know the world is changing or rather it’s moving… from real world to the Blue Nowhere…. Blue Nowhere is a term coined by Mr Deaver for cyberspace. Juxtapose that with Anhsul’s comment and you will know what I am talking about.
We dont live in the real world anymore. We are the connected generation (generation here is not about an age group but about people who spend more time over the mobile phone or a lap top or PC than in the real physical world).
Back in the old days (no mobile phones or net connectivity) we had few friends because there were only so many people one could meet physically. The first few mins of the conversation used to be spent on checking up what the other person has been up to (no constant checks on the status up dates on FB or Twitter) and then spending time together. Of course lives were also much more laid back in those days. Socializing was the biggest form of entertainment. Nothing much on TV, cinema was down in the dumps and there is only so much you could do with the family.
But today, we live a life that does not have time. Time for family… time for friends (physical life)… Time to watch TV or time to socialize.
Our lives are spent in the Blue Nowhere. We are constantly wired and connected. We have over a hundred friends on an average and we dont have to meet them to know what they are up to. Just check the status message. And of course the lil chat pop windows help in knowing more personal stuff (e-mail too)
It’s the real world for us… the lines are really blurred. Anything and everything is available online… Virtual of course but our communication skills have improved and we can paint virtal pictures that are real. And as Anshul said it unknowingly… thats the real life. People are not known by names… but by their e-mail ids or by the nics… and pictures… and where they feature on the contact list (google chat feature which lists most commonly contacted people up on the list).
Second life is a prime example of how we are creating our own world… Being what we never would be in a physical world… If it was not true, we would not see proliferation of brands being part of the Second Life.
I bet in many cases, a couple probably has more conversation online or over the phone than actual life… given the amount of quality time that is actually spent together…
Many schools have also wisened up to this fact. I may not be home to check what homework my kids have for the day so I can log into the school site and figure out the homework… call up the kids and ensure they finish that by the time I reach home…
Brands are going to lose out if they think that the only way to connect with this reality is just to be present online. There is a huge opportunity which presents itself to the brands which believe that the only way to make the brand be the integral part of their consumer’s life is to involve the consumer in the process of creation – co-create. And The Blue Nowhere is the best way to reach out the specific audience and make them part of the brand.
All of the above sounds exciting… and so cutting edge and modern… but sometime I wonder… is it really meaningful? a hug emoticon can never ever replace the emotions attached to a real hug… the joy or the pleasure that a real smile can give, can never be replaced by an emoticon… Can it?
Our attention spans are getting Twitterized… we are losing connect with our human side (we believe that we are still connected but hell! we are not)
Every single day we get more and more engulfed by the Nowhere. We post pictures of our vacation… post pictures of the new born… its great when the distances can be collapsed online… but tell me… can anything ever replace the joy of holding that new born in our own hands and congratulating the parents?
There is opportunity here too for the brands. Give me that connect… give me the emotions that I dont feel anymore… genuine emotion not depicted by an emoticon. Do not get confused in the chase of SEOs and lose touch with reality.
Embrace the change but do not lose yourself in the change… in the Blue Nowhere…