The Sneaky Nature of Large Scale Behavioral Change

So our TV went on the fritz Sunday night and a quick check showed I had to replace a bad Comcast HD DVR.  Anything involving service from this deservedly-maligned company gives me significant pause, but the thought of missing “Modern Family” spurred me to pursue a DIY option.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonThat in itself is newsworthy.  But that’s not the story.  The story is that I used my iPhone to take a few photos of the input configuration on the back of the machine.  And so last night, when I hooked up my replacement DVR, I called up the photo to wire it correctly.  And by golly, the thing actually worked.  Candidly, I still can’t believe it.

But forget my momentary and entirely uncharacteristic triumph over Comcast.  Consider the meta implications of that action–my smartphone has quietly but permanently replaced my pen.  We are visual people, we like visual diagrams, and so I took a shot of the wiring.  Just like I took a shot of the parking section I used at the airport.  And the chairs we thought of buying for the living room.  And the name of that great bottle of wine at dinner.

One fascinating, year old post on the 1000 memories blog lists a number of mind-blowing facts that prove that lots of other people do what I’m doing.  Two years ago, we were already uploading over six billion photos to Facebook every month.  At the time, their photo collection numbered over 140 billion–10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress.  Estimates indicate we have taken 3.5 trillion photos since the medium was invented.  Today, what we photograph has changed (no cost snapping encourages usage), as has how we take them, most likely with our ubiquitous smart phones.

My phone is my alarm clock.  My phone is my window into Facebook.  My phone is my notepad and a dozen other indispensable tools.

And I don’t particularly like using the phone.

But somehow this happened.  While we weren’t paying attention.  And the axis shifts, ever so subtly, to a new norm.

It’s clear that getting ahead of, or at least in line with, those shifts is ever more critical in this advertising business.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson