The Everything Ages Fast campaign for Brazil’s Maximidia Seminars features fake vintage ads for Youtube, Skype and Facebook. It got me thinking about changes in society over the past fifty years or so. Before the world went digital, people read or watched a glittering product promise, or they heard about some new wonder-product from their neighbours. They saw ads, courtesy of clever Mad Man-type folk, and they bought the promise. Then they told people about the promise.
There were no digital reviews. No back-channel conversations on Twitter. No information. Man, what a quiet world! The ads showed showed something amazing, and boy were people amazed. But now society has become digital and we’re buying stuff we can’t necessarily hold. We can buy something and have it instantly, but we can’t always touch it. And we no longer believe the bullshit false promises.
We want to see for ourselves. Value is about what we learn, experience and find out for ourselves. We don’t like being told, but to an extent we don’t mind being guided. We want to make damn sure it’s the right product before we dive right in. We’ll flirt with just about anything, but for a deal we need a whole lot of trust. One of the reasons for this is permanence. We can’t hold stuff anymore, and that same stuff stays with us – weightless – forever.
Put something and Youtube and it’s there forever. Delete your account, and it’s not really deleted. A whole lot of ones and zeros persist in digital memory, creating an untouchable archive of our lives across a web of digital services. Don’t tell me my stuff on Youtube will last forever. Tell me that if I want to, I can hold it and break it, and it’ll actually be broken.