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Communicating With Technology Plus Humanity

Communicating With Technology Plus Humanity
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Communicating With Technology Plus Humanity – Magic and Surprises

In 2024 we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Crystal Clear Communications blog. To celebrate our anniversary with you, here is the first blog we ever posted, back in 2014. In boldface, we add new observations from 10 years later.

It’s fascinating: how humans use new technology to communicate. When humanity meets technology, there’s a lot to learn.

The purpose of this weekly blog is to explore what happens where technology, communications, and human behavior intersect. What unexpected behaviors pop up? How do we balance technology with human needs? What’s working, what’s failing and why?

For consumers and businesses, technology transforms how we connect, learn and buy. For marketers and communicators, technology transforms how we sell and what we say.

When Martin Cooper placed the first mobile call

with a 2-pound “brick” almost 50 years ago, no one knew how big (or small) mobility would get. No one imagined a phone as tiny and powerful as an iPhone. Even the communicators on Star Trek were bigger.

Now billions of us rely on tiny smartphones and handy tablets. We see them as extensions of ourselves. In surveys, people say they would give up coffee or sex before giving up a smartphone. We love our smartphones so much that we will even risk our lives to get a smartphone back.

Magic moments happen in telecom and tech every day. Yet most of us take all the magic for granted until a device or network or app fails. Then we get mad; we expect it all to work all the time. We each learn to adapt to new technologies in our own ways.

Until recently, people learned new technologies at work.

We discovered new tools such as email, broadband Internet, and teleconferencing at work, then brought them home. When we needed to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom and competitors helped us get through.

In. the old days, the IT department set the agenda. Workers followed.

We gained radical information access, 24X7 connectivity, and nearly limitless mobility. Along the way, we sacrificed call quality, privacy, clear boundaries between work and life, and perhaps even a bit of humanity. I believe the pendulum is swinging the other way now … humanity and authenticity will make a comeback in the decade ahead.

Today, people drive the adoption of new technology.

Employees who brought smartphones to work changed the game. IT departments learned to cope with what they couldn’t stop: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

Now, IT departments follow agendas set by employees and customers. This change, just beginning, will continue to affect communicators, marketers, and technologists profoundly for years to come.

New technology spawned new buying behaviors. Today we search the web before buying a new car, camera, or book. We compare retail prices with Amazon prices. People check user reviews for social proof.

We pay attention to what peers say on social media. As foretold by Christopher S. Penn in 2019, peak social media appears to be behind us. Increasingly, users see how their privacy can be violated, so they become likelier to lurk than to post.

Technologies appeared and disappeared:

  • Cellular networks advanced from 4G LTE to 5G. Wireless broadband became real. 
  • NFTs (non-fungible tokens) appeared and disappeared quickly — with 95% losing their value.
  • It’s too soon to say how cryptocurrencies will play out, in this moment after the fall of big players and before regulators have made their countermoves.
  • The promise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) became the biggest story of 2023. Here are AI insights from Andrew Davis and Paul Roetzer.  

For marketers, generative AI is the big question ahead. AI can be used as a word predictor to churn out cheap undifferentiated content. AI can be used to generate deepfakes so good that almost everyone is fooled.

Or AI can be used as a human-guided tool to make uniquely meaningful, authentic, and differentiated content. That’s our plan going forward.

Consumers now set the agenda for communicators and marketers,

just as they do for IT. That’s why communicators and marketers need to adopt new technologies and adapt to the new buying behaviors they enable.

Applying new technologies is vital for communicators and marketers. But by itself, it’s insufficient for success.

Because as much as technology changes, humans remain the same. 

Buyers are gaining increasing control of markets through growing access to information. So we need to better understand the human side of the equation – what really happens when new communications technology meets real people?

This blog will continue to pose questions, present ideas, and offer insights for communicators, marketers, and people who love telecom and tech. I hope you’ll enjoy the blog … and share it vigorously!

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