The Digital Consumer

The Digital Consumer image StreetWalk Reduced1 300x280I have strong ties to New Mexico and love the chapter in human history that it represents.

New Mexico has much evidence of the natural history of man in its pueblos, its archeological bounty, and its settlements of early civilization: cave dwellings -> tribal communities -> and eventual trading posts.  It got me to thinking about some of the intuitiveness of mankind that has been underemphasized in our digitally normalized life.

We stand on the shoulders of prior generations, but in the age of the digital consumer, how much of that is lost?  What is the new normal – doesn’t always require input from the pre-digital world.   Last year’s high school graduating class was the first to be “born digital.”  They were born after the World Wide Web or http://www “anything” existed.

I’m sure there are many studies, findings and discussions about this; but it occurred to me – watching my own kindergartener – that there’s this notion of a Human 2.0 in our midst.   It is natural for their expectations to be different; they’ve enabled the best digital experiences to rise to the top and have already redefined standards for their generation and ours.

They embody the NetFlix debacle – with the lack of content to “Play Instantly”; suddenly a novel concept emerged: our postman – and he better be here instantly! [the US Mail provided “what’s new” in the digital channels in the form of a DVD doorstop.]

Related Resource from B2CWebcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know

But beyond the under 4-foot tall crowd; we as digital consumers ourselves have succumbed to new norms.

This study by Columbia University’s department of psychology points to the changing nature of human memory – today we don’t necessarily remember the facts and figures of our questions, but we remember the channel in which we are likely to find our answer.

In “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips” in September 2011’s issue of “Science” – Columbia’s Betsy Sparrow says that ‘transitive memory’ is:

“recollections that are external to us but that we know when and how to access.” 

As the level of expectation rises and the barriers blur for what can be available; when, how, who, what and where – what comes to the forefront is the experience of the digital consumer.   They are the channel itself; they continually find new abstract and improved ways to distance themselves from the days of lore.  What impact is this having on new generations of products and services?  Look forward to your comments.

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