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Keep Humans As Your Focus
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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AdLand is full of people who can be easily distracted by "shiny objects," new jargon, technology practices, and the like. In order to avoid or fight the impulse, we must be able to re-focus on what is important.

Connecting people.

And it's true. Advertising is a great profession to be in. Every day our efforts focus on getting a message out to people who need (or want) to hear it. With our help, businesses and organizations are able to connect with other businesses, organizations, and people. Advertising helps the world go around by engaging people, with people.

But it seems we may be losing it.

Edward Boches recently wrote about the end of human conversation. He highlighted the ways technology has taken the place of many human interactions, starting at the ATM. Now, he noted, people have their smartphones out on the table during dinner, an major etiquette violation no more than four years ago. People are getting more comfortable looking at screens than at faces. Should we be worried?

It's possible. When we cling onto technology, we lose the ability to observe the environment around us. For those in advertising, we may lose sight of how people communicate with each other, or who is doing the communicating. Ad Contrarian wrote a piece about how AdLand is blind. They noted how the biggest consumer market (boomers, ages 50–65), who control 75% of the nation's wealth and 50% of consumer spending, is the target of 5% of advertising.

Blind indeed.

We are not suggesting that having our noses in our computers and smartphones is the cause of the lost of F2F communication, or the reason of the Boomer oversight; but we shouldn't carry on as if it is okay, either.

Many writers and innovators, like Steve Jobs, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, have all said how many of their ideas came from being out and about with and watching people. How can we call ourselves communications professionals when we are not out there being involved or watching communication happen?

Let's keep our focus on humans and how humans relate to other humans. Yes, technology is a means, but just because it makes it easier doesn't necessarily make it better.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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