Ed Booty

Majority report: looking through the digital hype

This post originally appeared as an article in Viewpoint at the end of 2011. Briefed to one of BBH London’s smartest strategists, Ed Booty, as a deliberate polemic, it’s a provocative argument designed to question our assumptions about the constant pace of change. We like being challenged (we enjoyed Matt Edgar’s post last year along similar lines) – please let us know what you think in the comments.

Author: Ed Booty, Strategy Director, BBH London

Image: Seattle Space Needle, by Patricia Kranenberg (via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence)

It is commonly accepted that a digital revolution is afoot. We have entered a brave new networked world. Individuals are empowered, social movements cannot remain contained and knowledge is free to all. Data is making our world more intuitive, bespoke and rewarding. We are mobile, always on, always entertained and hyper-social.

Things appear to be going swimmingly and never has the future been so clearly mapped out for us. It’s sexy, creative, inclusive and exciting. It’s one big SXSW festival.

Nothing new so far, and it does all sound rather good.

Maybe it’s too good to be true?

Unfortunately it is.

Advance apologies to neophytes, digital evangelists and west coast entrepreneurs. It’s time for a reality check. The speed, scale and depth of the so-called digital revolution has been wildly exaggerated.

What has caused this mirage of revolution?

Behind the hype, what might a more realistic vision of a digital world be? (more…)