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Are you a customer? As a customer, is your experience of life any different than anyone else’s? OK, granted – we are all different and unique…but not that different. As humans, we share some amount of common expectations and some amount of common hope. Seems to me that the notion of common expectation and common hope that – arguably – we all share – and certainly do as users/consumers of technology – needs to drive and power the filter that allows us to analyze what is new and adds value as opposed to what is new and doesn’t.

I refer back to my posting on the Olympics and content a few weeks ago. Many wrote that this was going to be the digital Olympics. TV was going to be sidelined – finally – and most of the world would see/hear/read or watch in the “new way”.

Let’s leave aside the fact that even printing is digital today – and that I still don’t understand why it’s not TV if I watch it on my computer screen (another topic for future discussion – my parents view of TV; mine and my kids’ has been totally different yet completely the same). The implication of the pundits was that “just watching” was old, tired, uncool and that the experience of being able to click around your computer, not the event, was the real experience.

Start here. According to studies, 8% of the audience at most experienced the events through streaming technology on their “smart” devices vs. the rest of the world who just sat back and (“dumbly”?) experienced the action.

Now let me be clear and head off the knee-jerk responses – I am also ready to bet that a huge number of the 92% of the dummies also used the web sources to check facts; get more information; see repeats or stuff they missed; look up viewing times (interesting…) and in general enhance the sense of knowing that adds excitement to the viewing.

You know what I mean – you are with friends watching the finals of the Balance Beam and you are the one who knows how points are allocated and who won against the most odds in past Olympics. You make the call on the shaky landing and your friends are amazed at how much you know…

The point is that we are still having the wrong debate. Why would we pit large screen viewing and the energy of group dynamics against the experience of small screen interaction? And don’t tell me that one is interactive and the other isn’t – hard to beat the interaction of a group of friends cheering and yelling and, yes, “leaning forward” and sitting on the edge of their chairs – as they use their body language to propel their favorite athletes towards victory – maybe…and that of course is the point.

So next time you get confused think of this:

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.
~Alice Kahn

There you have it. I don’t see the debate – its holding us back – time to embrace the humanity in it all – if technology enables…its people who enable technology…

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