Not too many people can own homes these days, but they can have fairly inexpensive access to their digital house in cyberspace, via mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. And then begins the work of keeping up with the Jones’. It’s no surprise that “the next new thing” is all the rage. That’s to be expected with any new technological shift. And it’s no surprise that everything is beginning to look the same… ticky tacky apps, ticky tacky platforms, ticky tacky thinking.
What we are seeing is the homogenization of us as the next ‘cash crop‘ – the livestock in the stacks, as Bruce Sterling called it at his wrap up to this year’s SXSW Interactive. The stacks – Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google – are the walled gardens to which we all provide the content and information that allow them to sell us and our data to advertizers and marketers. The good news – they all crumble eventually (remember Netscape, AOL, My Space?). The bad news – not before turning the Baskin Robbins multiple-flavors, multiple-toppings potential of the Net into a bland vanilla-only offering; and us along with it!
That’s the herd mentality of marketing – get them in line, wanting the same thing, and serve ’em up. “Would you like that in white or black?” Make no mistake, advertising and marketing are the biggest drivers of tech and our futures. And we need to resist it the same way we resisted TV and magazine ads. We are becoming the product and tech is just dressing us up to all look and think the same.
As Jaron Lanier says, in You Are Not a Gadget, “Funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one’s anus to one’s mouth.”
I saw a good quote the other day that puts it into perspective…”Sometimes I pretend to be normal. But it gets boring, so I go back to being me.”