I was recently surfing through Amazon and could not stop thinking about how dramatically online capabilities have altered traditional shopping. You no longer have to leave the couch or ask an associate if they have more sizes in the back. You may not bring a friend, but who needs one? Algorithms pull items according to your taste and other shoppers post lengthy reviews that can reaffirm or negate your concerns.
This reminds me again of that Winston Churchill quote used by Sherry Turkle in Alone Together: “We shape buildings and then they shape us.” Computer’s reshaping of culture goes beyond shopping – it creates new consumer expectations for all brands/companies.
“We shape our building and then they shape us.” Sherry Turkle closes the intro to her book Alone Together with this Winston Churchill quote asking that consumers think about the impacts of technology and whether it serves “our human purposes” (19). With this approach in mind, let’s consider how technology reshapes our interactions.
What is the preferred medium for communication? Turkle spotlights the proliferation of emails as well as text and instant messages, and even uses the phrase “avoid the voice” (206) to address the decline in face-to-face and phone conversations. Before pointing at Gen Y speed texters, understand that the screen communication trend transcends generations. It also applies to interactions with family, friends, coworkers and customers.