Being heard in the 21st century

Sometimes blogs are challenging to write because it seems like everything has already been said. Or, more correctly, it’s being said, all over the place, all the time, by everyone.

Information overload via the Internet has gone beyond a novelty and well into the realm of a worldwide social experiment, the outcome of which we don’t know. It’s created a serious philosophical debate for the 21st century. Do we need all this information? Do we need all this information right now? What is the impact of it on our brains and our bodies?

Turning us into a society of anxiety-ridden, impatient information freaks, that’s what. Humans weren’t made to consume so much more information so quickly. Despite what Siri might tell you, genetically speaking, we’re still hunter-gathers by nature.

And everyone is an authority. Don’t believe—or like—a news story you just read? Never fear—someone else with equally impressive credentials and stone-cold facts will be along any second offering a rock-solid counterpoint. Journalism? More like infotainment and opinion represented as reality.

A recent story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch told the story of “dumbphone” users: people who use cellular phones that just, well, make phone calls. The article quotes a Joe Ballard, a highway construction worker and dumbphone devotee. Says Joe, “I’ve been at a restaurant with friends, and me and my girl are trying to have a conversation while they’re all Facebooking, checking this out and checking that out,” he said. “You don’t need to do all that. You should just be out having a good time.”

Or consider Darnell Lee. The Post-Dispatch writes, “Lee, 77, a retired mechanic from north St. Louis County, said he was tempted into a smartphone a few years ago, but quickly got rid of it and went back to a flip phone because he didn’t need all of the smartphone’s features. Lee’s flip phone, held together with Scotch tape, makes calls, sends texts and takes low-resolution pictures. He said that’s all he needs.

“‘If they quit making flips, I’m out,’ he said.”

One author agrees. Again quoting from the Post-Dispatch: “Nicholas Carr, author of ‘The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,’ writes that the Internet has changed the way people digest information, making concentration increasingly difficult. He says smartphones magnify the problem because they keep people connected to the Internet and incessantly divert their owners’ attention from the world around them.”

Meanwhile, you have a business to run, goods and services to sell and customers to reach. And that’s the hard part. How do you possibly rise above the din—the deafening roar of hundreds of cable channels and millions of websites to reach people who aren’t even paying attention to where they’re walking?

In business, creating a differential has always been important. That hasn’t changed. When it comes to reaching customers in 2012, you can’t do what everyone else is doing.

Sure, if yours is a commodity business and you do a high volume, you can cast a wide digital net and sell your widgets. But if your company values quality…if it values customer relationships…if it values more than one-off purchases from a nameless credit card number, then you need something different. Otherwise, you’re shouting into a hurricane.

That’s why Trade Press Service’s model is so effective. While TPS can and does write content for the Internet, our bread-and-butter is bylined articles in print trade journals, white papers, case studies and books. In other words, slow media. Slow in contrast to the hundreds of apps released for smartphones today, but hard-hitting in terms of effectiveness. If you’re interested in reaching customers that value product and service excellence as well as professionalism, we’re here to help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *