The curse of digital knowledge
As I said before, I love the Internet. I’ve been working 8 years in digital. I’m curious and I try most things out. Or at least, I make sure I’ve got a pretty good understanding of what it is and how it could be used. I have never been on Second Life but I get the gist of what it is and (how little) brands can do with it.
But, I’m not a geek. I use the Internet to get what I want and shop like most people. I understand the point of twitter but refuse to be on it. Out of work, you’ll rarely find me on it.
This is an important point.
It seems to me that we, as in those who have been in the industry for many years, have become cursed by our own knowledge of the Internet. That we are so immersed in the Internet that we basically forget what it’s like for ‘normal’ people, i.e. those who don’t spend most of their time awake on the Internet.
This is just a thought. It was triggered reading the Mental detox Ian Tait went through; not using a computer, ipod etc. for a week. I was really surprised to see how immersed he was and how difficult it was for him to spend a week without technology (just thought I’d say I do love his blog http://www.crackunit.com)
But let’s go back to the curse of knowledge. A concept from the Heath brothers’ book, Made to stick:
The More You Know, the Worse You Become At Communicating That Knowledge
Lots of research in economics and psychology shows that when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it. As a result, we become lousy communicators. Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know. So when he talks to you, he talks in abstractions that you can’t follow. And we’re all like the lawyer in our own domain of expertise.
Read the rest of the article here.
So here’s a question to all of us working in the digital industry, and I do include myself here. Have we not become so blinded by our love and knowledge of the Internet that we forgot how it is not to be? Are we not guilty of having made a scary online world for non-digital savvy clients?
And are we really developing online strategy and creative that make people want to go to our websites rather than using new technology just because we love it?
We definitely need a solid knowledge of the Internet to make ground-breaking online work, but can we still see the wood for the trees?
Most people use the Internet. But they probably only check a handful of websites, rarely click on ads, don’t visit viral websites and are certainly not on Twitter.
Which reminded me of that quote:
“Even a cursory review of past forecasts reveals that most technological forecasts have been dead wrong. Most of those forecasts fail because the forecasters fall in love with the technology they are based on and ignore the markets the technology is intended to serve and the fundamental needs they sought to satisfy.”
From the book Megamistakes.