02 8 / 2012
31 5 / 2012
10 5 / 2012
02 2 / 2012
Tomorrow, Suzanne Carawan, VP Global Marketing, will represent etouches at the Bisnow “Association CEO Perspectives: 2012 Revenue Strategies” breakfast seminar. etouches has worked with Bisnow since 2011 to help support great educational programs in the Washington, DC area. We’re very proud to support an event that focuses on associations and new ways to find member and non-dues revenue.
If you are at the Ritz-Carlton tomorrow, please stop by and say hello to Suzanne. She’s spent many years serving the association market delivering technology products as a consultant and advocate. Her biggest driver is to stop the pain that associations experience in purchasing and utilizing software, and to get associations to use technology to make money!
02 2 / 2012
Thoughts from Suzanne Carawan, VP Global Marketing & Certified Tough Cookie
Waiting for coffee. Drip. Drip. Come on—I can’t take not doing anything. I’m already doing heel raises and hamstring curls and knocked off 100 on each leg and the coffee is still not ready… what to do? Answer: grab tablet. Consume info. Check horoscope for possible celestial troubles. All clear. Done. Personal email. Only coupons for baby products that my babies have long since outgrown, but manufacturer still hasn’t taken me off their list (or a smarter play—sold my info off to the next manufacturer that dominates this phase of my children’s life—Nike). Enfamil. Thank God that’s done. There’s only one stop left: news.
Pull up the CNN app. The page comes up—it’s gorgeous. Lots of pics and 25 word headlines. However, they’re not pics. They’re thumbnails for video. EVERY one of them is a video. For EVERY category. Arrrrghhhhhhhh. I know that everyone is telling us that it is all about video and it’s all about mobility, but I wanted text.I can skim/absorb text faster than video and all I wanted is the gist of whether or not today is Mayan D-Day so I can plan whether or not I have to do my expense report (lookit—I’m a realist. there’s good and bad in everything and the pro of having the world end is that you’re free from drudgery including putting clean clothes away and paying homeowner association payments).
While the world isn’t ending today (note: it’s only 7:44 am), what does worry me is this: are we as a human population falling into a new digital Dark Age?
I worry that we are going to lose our ability to read and write due to video. I worry that we will become passive potatoes that fall into the hands of masters of digital persuasion. I worry that we are losing our ability to visualize on our own.
I know all the positives of video. I believe video is an amazing way to reinforce or begin learning, but I worry that we are going to move to a world where there is pre-recorded reality TV and reality TV on demand, but none of it is very live. Worse, very few of us have actually lived it.
Aside from my fear that we are going to a place where we are inanimate players on Earth and just passively watching influential messaging, I’m still a reality marketer and I’m annoyed on a different level at CNN. Namely, why did they take away one of my options?
They’ve taken away the key modality by which I learn: visual learning through reading.
Why does video personally frustrate me? Video often takes too long to get it downloaded and get the bottom line of the story covered. Also, it’s often re-purposed from TV and so the context is sorta off and that always feels weird to me—voyeuristic or something, but disingenuous in some way. I learn by concept first and then back filling in the details, so I like text because I was taught to skim for the concept, mentally highlight it and then look for evidence to support the concept or hypothesis. (Good job, Mrs. O’Connor…still using your language arts lessons almost 35 years later [let’s give it up to the power of a good teacher]).
This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to me considering that the big hype all over the world is that the consumer has power and I should have a say in my experience. I wanted text, but I got video. What do I take away from this? Am I supposed to switch the way I learn and adopt video as the way to do this, or am I supposed to pick up and go elsewhere? Perhaps #1 is the ultimate goal, but what do you think is the most realistic outcome?
Right. I’m outta here.
Do you know what I did instead? I picked up the newspaper and flipped through that and got enough local news that I felt that Loudoun County would also survive the day (although for the richest county in the U.S., we evidently don’t have enough money for full-day kindergarten so our kids will end up being behind in school, but have great clothes and gadgets) and then got my coffee and left.
The point of my rant is this: true, modalities of learning are changing. However, I believe that learning modalities are a lot like marketing channels—namely, it’s all additive. Maybe you would argue that video and text are both classified as a visual modality and I should be able to switch to one or the other. Ok, technically you’re right if I didn’t have choice and preference, but sorry—free will is still flowing today and I just don’t wanna go to all video.
Bad human. Not doing what information providers and manufacturers want me to do.
I know it’s expensive and it’s a big pain. Why can’t all humans just be the same. I’m with you—if all humans were the same, it would make my marketing job a helluva lot easier. (what would really make it easier is if all EVENTS were the same! i know, i know. keep dreaming, but you see how unrealistic that is, right? )
If we’re serious about this consumer-driven world, then we have to be serious about what that actually entails to serve it—a lot of options and a lot of effort in serving up the same info in the various ways that groups of humans learn.
My guess is that we are going into the video dark ages. I’m seeing fewer and fewer humans that are really plugged in and awake. We have more information than ever and more ways to learn, but seems like all the info is driving us into ignorance.
I was at some educational parent night thing for school last night and I heard a great quote (unfortunately, cannot remember the author because text was too small on slide for me to see and see? i need to see info and then I’ll remember). Gist of quote was that intelligence is not what you know or how fast you can learn. Intelligence is knowing what to do when the answer is not readily apparent.
LOVE that. That’s what I’m seeing that is really starting to be lost at a rapid pace. I worry that if everything turns to video, the perception is that all the answers (or THE answer) is contained in the video. It’s tidy. It’s neat. You can’t interact with it other than by making a comment, but oops—unfortunately, we’ve lost the art of writing because we can only tweet and text and while we are masters at abbrev. we can’t spell worth a damn.
The amount that video is pushed now at events, in school, in life worries me for one final reason that also doesn’t make sense to me: video is only as good as your energy supply. We are creating more and more content that is electronically delivered, but the world operates on an increasingly fragile energy grid. Perhaps if we could nail solar power I would feel safer with putting all of our human knowledge on video, but it makes me nervous because here is what I fear: electricity goes out and no one knows how to read or write anymore and the next Dark Ages have begun.
Ok, that was some serious thinking, but that’s what I do. I’ve had it with the fluff video and the super happy-happy social media “i have a great life 24/7” genre of info that we’ve become all-too accustomed to in the event space. I’ve been telling my friends for awhile that I am the Andy Rooney of social media!
The bottom line is this: don’t buy so much into the hype of video and mobile platforms that you forget that what truly gets people engaged is to get them to think. Think about thinking. Make thinking the hype instead of the delivery method. Then deliver thinking in different ways, but don’t take away methods that your thinkers are actually using!
Which leads me to my final question for you: do you know who your thinkers are in your attendee population? in your organization? in your membership? in your customer base?
Now there’s something to think about and no video is going to tell you who they are. You have to find it out yourself. Do it. Develop that kind of intelligence about your attendees or the population you serve.
Then, please, for my sake, write down what you learn.