From BeforeComputing to AfterDigital

Given our focus on social media, marketing and all things digital, I often have to explain to people what is it that I do. This becomes harder when I have to explain this to decision makers (or the ‘c-level’)  in organizations that we would love to work with. The following is a reflection on a lot of conversations and often ineffective pitching. 


There is an older person in the room. He/She is talking about how much the internet has changed everything. As they sip on a herbal tea or a faux drink, they talk about how they surf, how many books they buy off flipkart each week and the number of paid for apps that they have on their iPads.That bit is alright. Its chatter, its banter, its harmless.Then they start talking about a ‘generational change’. About how digital is changing us; making us isolated islands in a networked stream. How we’re divorcing ourselves from a reality of over-saturated lived experience. How the ‘Digital’ is not the same as the ‘Real’. That which is felt by the meat is ethereally different from what we create, consume and emote digitally. They talk about spirituality and how the digital can never help them in their ‘spiritual journeys’.

There is an opposition in the air.
Digital Vs Real. Lived Vs Seen. Swiped Card Vs the Bazar.
I wonder if this ‘opposition’ comes from a memory of time ‘Before (personal) Computing’ or BC and if that time has become romanticized; less like history, more like mythology. Since I cannot live BC life and comment on it, I wonder about After Digital or AD. Many years from now how will we romanticize the present? Will we talk about social networking and how old fashioned it was? Will we laugh at the iPhone/Android interface? Will kids start buying our cast off clothing as ‘vintage fashion’? Will I hear kids on the metro talk about how much they like the music from the ‘noughties’?But are these opposing views?

There was an opposition; we used to talk about ‘Virtual Reality’ as an alternative to ‘Real Reality’. Since then though, we’ve moved on. We dont talk about singular opposing spaces, rather spaces that are distinct yet inherently connected. Flipkart still sells ‘real’ (dead tree) books; in fact most online shopping is geared towards a real world product. Kids with guitars can record and broadcast online, but still have to perform live to reach a critical mass. As yet, social media hasn’t come up with a solution to saturday night beer parties or ‘business networking’. Even VR has become AR (Augmented Reality), giving up on recreating the world and instead going for adding more elements to what’s already around us.

I don’t know. But I can’t wait to find out!



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  • aazar

    Nov 5th 2012

    Very well written - this is one of my most favourite blog posts by Head Ant! I strongly agree with you and believe AR has a bright future - since the past is and forever will be romanticized and few of us will always envisage the future in our own way - the REAL challenge, as i see it, is interpreting the present and adding bits of information in real time to make it more interesting and something worth remembering - perhaps even romanticizing about, in the near future! I also wonder, since you posed all those questions, what will BlueAnt use to put forth its digital ideas to the world in the near future - how soon will 'blog' as a medium of sharing information become outdated? And if it does get obliterated into nothingness, what will we use then?

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