MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Connected Awareness

Peggy Dau - Monday, August 25, 2014

Last week i wrote about our addiction to connectivity, which when thinking about it further led me to consider what we could call connected awareness. With our addiction to devices and their apps, we have a heightened awareness of our friends likes or dislikes, to the behavior of celebrities (which broadly include movies stars, musicians, athletes, business leaders, politicians, etc.), entertainment trends (Hollywood, social media) and news. If not for social media, connectivity and awareness, ALS would not have raised $80 billion, yes that's a B!  This is a great example of connected awareness. The ground swell of ALS awareness has been astonishing as anyone from a friend, neighbor or family member to celebrities happily dumped buckets of ice and water overt their heads. Thanks to our addiction to connectivity where we scan the news or social sites while waiting in line or traveling, we are more aware than ever before.

There's a downside to connected awareness. This is exhibited by online bullying, lack of sensitivity (consider Zelda Williams's experience after her father's suicide) or  mis-statement of facts, to name a few. With a potential for groupthink mentality to set in, connected awareness can lead to negative behavior. Hopefully, that will be the exception. Brands, non-profits and politicians hope to capitalize on increased connected awareness.

The media and entertainment sector is and industry that's quite open about its goals to optimize on the connected awareness of its audience. In the TV space, a lot of attention has been paid to Social TV, the second screen and OTT consumption. Nielsen reported earlier this month that 25% of TV viewers were more aware of programs due to social media interactions. The second screen is used to become more aware of product advertised on TV, actors in the program being watched, statistics related to a live sporting event, or to engage with friends. Connected awareness is driven by tweets and Facebook posts.  

In fact, Nielsen has begun measuring the reach of these platforms. Awareness is not about the person sharing content, it's about who sees that content. Looks who's tweeting and what content is driving their activity. It's not wonder that advertisers are actively seeking insight from social networks.

Our connected awareness is influencing our thoughts and actions. We are stimulated by opinions from others about about TV shows, movies, concerts, vacation destinations, restaurants and more. We seek input from others either socially or via text or in some cases, email (which many consider of very old school communication tool). In any case, we are often doing so via our mobile devices with an expectation for immediate response. This expectation is borne from our connected awareness. We anticipate that our friends are accessible, online and ready to influence.

I anticipate that, very soon, we will see some type of connected awareness barometer. It's about measuring more than tweets or Facebook updates. It's more that a Klout score. It's understanding where we connect to obtain content and what action we take upon its receipt. Imagine that as we enter the next presidential campaign cycle, broadcast networks and campaign advisors will be seeking every advantage to understand and to influence the connected awareness of the voting populace. 

How are you connected?  When are you connected?  Where are you connected? And, what do you choose to connect to? Our very connectivity allows for collection and measurement of data. That data leads to a different kind of awareness, but awareness that is still driven by our connectivity.  How has your connected awareness shifted with increased access to smartphones or tablets?

What's your perspective?