Pseudo-communication leaves us emotionally hungry

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday November 29, 2010 – As Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking tools proliferate, people are acquiring impressive numbers of so-called friends, followers and so on. At face value this looks good, looks like we’re popular and socially involved with all these people.

But we aren’t.

These forms of contact are not real communication. They are superficial, tangential brushes with faceless dots and bits on a cold screen. We may think it’s communication, but it’s a long way away.

Humans are still hard-wired for face-to-face, bosom-to-bosom personal contact. We’re still version 1.0, and we need these emotional supports. Facebook, Twitter, email, texts and accompanying photos and flip, sassy comments don’t supply this emotional quotient. They were never designed to. Not even sexting (which sounds horrible to consider) can do it.

But new generations are growing up thinking this is human intercourse, and wondering why they are still lonely and unfulfilled. As a result, they are getting some of their emotional needs from brands – because the hunger is always there.

What this means for marketing is still being decided; we simply don’t have enough behavioural data yet. But one thing seems sure: it is a further assault on brand loyalty, as if your brand is simply one more item they can simply ‘un-friend’ on a whim. Scary.

I heard one psychologist comment that even with all this information, big events still blind-side us. Moral: Information is not insight, nor is it wisdom.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Greg Hoyos. Greg Hoyos is the principal of GHA DDB headquartered in Barbados.

Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)