Sunday, 6 January 2008

Digital minds

As the money flows out of traditional communications and into digital ones, I wondered if digital is the better medium. I think it is. Here are a few rough thoughts about why from a cognitive perspective.

1. Interaction means stronger memories

This is a simple point really. In 1976 two cognitive psychologists found that interacting with information instead of just consuming it produced better memories. This opportunity for dialogue gives the internet the edge over monologue media because communications will be better remembered. And interactivity here doesnt mean clicking or hyperlinking, it means forcing people to flex a bit of cognitive muscle.

e.g. LG - Life's Good when... - people completed the sentence and made YouTube videos from that
e.g. Orange Paper Film Festival
e.g. Levi's Mobile Audio Mixer (MAX)

2. Social capital

Why humans have such big brains is something that receives a lot of head scratching by people with the biggest brains. A lot think that it has something to do with being incredibly social creatures; the bigger problems faced by group living drove the brain to produce systems to handle them. Now we have an external system to help support our sociality even more: the internet. Brands that can tap into this should do well and the internet provides the opportunity that has been lacking in traditional media for this to happen.

e.g. Nike+
e.g. Nikon and Flickr
e.g. Times Health Club

3. Virtual living

Schemas are mental structures that allow all humans to use the past to help navigate through the present. They are the mind's shortcuts for thinking, including nuggets of information on, for example, people (stereotypes) and events (scripts). They'll be things like how to program your video, the processes of ordering food in a restaurant or approaching the dating game. They are updated continuously by experience. What the internet can do is let us update schemas virtually for better analogue living. Whereas TV, posters and radio can show and tell us new ways of doing things, the Internet can let us try them out.

e.g. Lynx/Axe - Improve your Game or Get in There
e.g. Nike+ podcasts

I think there'll be more virtual products and brand-behavioural (e.g. Lynx -Improve your Game) stuff appearing. Some examples might be test driving your future car, trying out a new phone, your bank educating you in financial matters (how to start-up a new business etc).

I'll update this as I have more thoughts but there are three reasons why digital is the best.

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