I recently read the following claim about young people:
"Young people are unable to see the consequences of their actions — they always choose what benefits them in the short term. They are fickle, and sometimes, they are simply reckless."
A lot of people can probably identify with that analysis: just think about the overwhelming impact of social media and its prevailing trend for superficial experiences. It's a sign of the times — that's one way you could interpret this introduction.
The other (and correct) way is that my introduction is a load of old claptrap. The passage I quoted above is over 2000 years old: I got it from an ancient Roman text, because even in those times, the older generations went on and on about how they simply couldn't get their heads around young people.
Someone recently claimed that some young people choose their travel destinations to have an original location that provides opportunities for stunning Instagram shots. Some people might find that strange, but I find it completely normal.
"What are we selling?", I sometimes ask my team — in my most booming voice and after I've lined them all up to salute the Seauton flag in the morning. Without fail, everyone directs their (slightly bored) gaze upwards, clenches their fists and proclaims in unison: "passion and emotions, oh Great Leader!". Once that ritual is complete, I can retreat to my office tower penthouse happy and reassured, and I can continue to look down on my passionate team while I break new records in my selection of computer games, all the while thinking about the perfect moment to get my perfectly chilled Blanc de Blancs champagne out of my state-of-the-art fridge.
"People say that the world has changed. That might be a good thing — but it doesn't mean the people living in our world have changed too." When I'm invited to talk about our industry, this is a quote I regularly use.
People tell stories and sell stories. We are guided by our emotions, and we're more than happy to use anything at all that helps back up our stories. We are directing the story of our own lives.
It seems only logical to me that young people are trying to construct an all-encompassing story using just a single Instagram photo, and that they spend a lot of time thinking about that photo, even before they've taken it. After all, a picture often speaks a thousand words. It's no different from your Uncle Roger making you sit through three hundred slides from that time he went to Canada to find a few bears in the wild. In fact, I think you'll agree it's a lot more exciting.
Instagram, Facebook (which is already getting a bit old hat, according to some), virtual meetings, holograms, artificial intelligence, human-like robots that can tell a pretty good joke and are more successful at making me laugh than my real friends — I welcome all tools that make it easier to tell our stories and share our emotions.
It's a view I'm happy to stand by — until that state-of-the-art fridge in my penthouse decides I've downed one too many glasses of my champagne and decides to lock itself as a preventative measure, of course!
See you next month, Jan