Qualitatively Speaking – Digital and the Family Dynamic
How do you feel about the submersion of communication into the digital realm? With the influx of digital connectivity, researchers are on both sides of the fence, but looking toward the same direction of learning.
While some people call it spam, I call it a blessing. Random links to sites, new platforms and case studies tend to get passed my way on a regular basis, and a recent one really caught my eye. A post by Copernicus Consulting (who I was unaware of before reading this article) featured content from a case study they are working on with Ryerson University on mobile phone use and its effect on the family.
I tend to hear the majority of commentary on the constantly-connected lives we lead today condemning the loss of personal interaction and interpersonal relationships. Now, I honestly see these viewpoints as having a ton of merit and having sound reasoning. However, being of the Digital Native generation, I also see how digital technology and communication (you know those crazy interwebz toys like The Facebook and The Twitter) are enhancing and taking interpersonal connectivity to a higher level than we have ever seen before.
The at a glance finding they share in the brief write up talks about how technology is actually helping to bind families together. The example of quick text messages empowering husbands and wives to share tidbits of chatter back and forth in moments throughout the day, when they could not otherwise use vocal conversation to connect, shows the seemingly positive effects of today’s technology submersion. It also highlights the importance of the simple SMS features that house a great deal of today’s conversations.
A nay-sayer to the viewpoint of technology being a greater connecter could easily argue that those moments of texting sweet nothings to a loved one occupy ample time in which one could be talking to a co-worker, listening to the presentation, or chatting with the boss in the in-person setting. But, how much different is it from passing notes in grade-school? This form just allows you to keep from having your “Dear Darla…” note read in front of the class! Where was texting when Ms. Field so eloquently ruined my perfect proposition of asking Jane to the school dance…after I had worked up so much courage?
Qualitatively speaking, regardless of your view on this, it is important to recognize how technology is more than just a new way for us to ask survey questions or record a focus group. It presents a fundamental evolution of communication, and personal interaction.
The ways in which we interact with our family, friends, colleagues, brands, and environments has shifted in a way that must be noted by researchers today. It changes the way in which we must not only approach the art of observing human behavior, but also the way in which we try to analyze it. Do the original theories of consumer behavior and psychology stay true in modern times? Or, must we examine new potential paradigms that may fit the “modern brain” exposed to iPads and Droids? When we live in a world where everything appears to become ‘connected,’ how do brands and companies need to stay relevant and top of mind?
These are the questions we should ask ourselves as researchers, and these are the types of thoughts and theories I love to hear discussed! So, what do you think?
Til next time!
Enjoy this - Baby with iPad