The digital age is changing more than technology: It’s changing us.
In his most recent book, “We Are All Weird,” marketing blogger Seth Godin makes a startling point: Thanks to iTunes, each of us is now likely to possess a unique musical playlist, unduplicated anywhere in the world. This applies even to your decidedly uncool brother, who once owned nothing but Top 40. We are also less likely to watch network television and more likely to consult Yelp. Do you like knitting with yak fiber or collecting vintage bar coasters? In the digital age, you can find your own tribe. So what? Technology isn’t just changing the way we live our lives. It’s actually changing us. Where we once struggled to keep up with the Joneses – to participate in mass culture and conform to common expectations – we now shape our own little worlds. The effect is both minute and magnificent. In ever-expanding ways, we manipulate our experience. Don’t want to tune in to “The Office” at 9 p.m. on Thursday? DVR it. Or catch it on Hulu. You are the master of your own time. Wondering where you’ve seen actor David Krumholtz before? Check IMDB on your smartphone. Just got engaged? Change your Facebook relationship status – then turn your phone on “vibrate” so the avalanche of comment notifications doesn’t keep you awake all night. Are you utterly, hopelessly lost? Consult your GPS. Not only will it show you your own whereabouts, but it will also direct you to the nearest Korean noodle shop. Now match this reality to your member experience. Are you providing the service your members want – the way they want it, when they want it and wherever the impulse strikes them? If not, get ready. Offering your members e-commerce solutions – mobile banking, remote deposit capture, enhanced branch services at the ATM – isn’t about touting the latest gadgetry. It’s simply matching your services to the reality that already exists. “It’s basically impossible to interact with the future, or the present without determining how digital interactions are going to change the game,” says Godin. One thing is sure: The digital technology that once seemed isolating (Take off those headphones! Stop texting already!) is now at the very heart of human interaction. Need proof? One branding consultant found that people’s brains react to their iPhones the same way they would to an object of love. Now, why would you want to be on the wrong side of that?