I’d like to submit a new word into the lexicon: Mass Technosis. Like hypnosis, it’s when business and industry get hypnotized by the hype of a technology. Mesmerized and led in their actions by hype and buzzwords around technology more than moving forward with a practical understanding or application of the technology. Walking around like zombies, but instead of mindlessly uttering “brains,” they utter and mindlessly pursue the latest tech buzzword at every business or marketing meeting.
It’s when a business or industry looks at technology and its response remains more “wow” rather than asking, “what can we really do with this?”
Or think of it another way, it’s a bit like when you first fall in love. In that first phase, you only see the good sides and good possibilities in a person rather than the negative parts, annoying ticks and faults you may not be able to live with. For a while, everything is seen through rose colored glasses of “amazing,” even when warning signs say it isn’t so great.
Businesspeople and industry are not immune. It’s happened before. Remember the dot-com-bubble-to-burst? We were all excited about the power of the Internet. An irrational exuberance foisted upon any internet-related technology–with little regard if they had business models that could actually make money. An exuberance that had us proclaiming online pet food stores and hyper-mega-transactional (or add the latest buzzword here) widgets were ready to rule the world before their time and the arrival of supporting infrastructure that made them truly realistic.
Meanwhile, the company owners walked way rich–profiting more from hype and our lack of understanding more than a clearly profitable business model.
And it’s happened again. We’ve seen the biggest example of this recently. Facebook’s IPO.
Not that technology is bad. Or Facebook is bad. It’s not. Without a doubt, these maturing technologies are and will continue to revolutionize the world. But like love, when you fall in love with the wrong technology, or fail to see it for what it really is, you stay blind too long to appropriately react to its faults and shortcomings. Often a painful and costly mistake.
With Facebook, people (consumers, business analysts, and advertisers) were in love with it. And to keep the love analogy going, put Facebook “on a pedestal.” A great business model where the law of physics and commerce don’t apply. And if you are one of those people who disagree, you just don’t get how great it (he) is.
Why do people hate romantic partners that put them on a pedestal? You don’t love them for who they really are and it’s hard for the unrealistic lover to cope when the object of their affection falls from such a dizzying height. And in tech and advertising models, when they fall from perfection, people overreact. Broken from their trance, instead of just seeing them normally and working from there. They shout out loud with anger and disgust in how did they ever love you in the first place.
When Facebook whispers of GM’s ad pullout and IPO price warnings brought Facebook down from its pedestal, the market was clearly stunned by it. But really, nothing about Facebook changed, they were only shaken by their own unrealistic expectations. Had analysts and the business community looked at Facebook’s potential more realistically and objectively, they would have seen that, though the social network has nearly a billion users, it’s still a work in progress. Revenue models need to be developed. Proven ad models etc. Great potential that could walk to eventual greatness. Just not walk on water. Or in Facebook’s case, walk confidently (and profitably) into the mobile device space. Currently one of its greatest weaknesses due to lack of an advertising revenue model.
Like I said, technology, especially in advertising is our future. But if we don’t look at technology with critical thinking, we’ll fall into a trance by its hype. And waking up from that is not always fun. Or cheap.