Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Life in Graphs

Who doesn't like graphs? Pie-charts, curves, 3-D, shaded areas... they are cool and they are so easy to hide behind, because people trust charts. Really: you can put together a 5-page report and they still won;t be convinced, but as soon as you pull up a graph, the audience is yours. We are such suckers for visual information nowadays. Well, the attention span has decreased in general to the size of a tea spoon, hence no song longer than 4 minutes or an e-mail longer than half a page. Why was I telling you this? Ah yes - back to graphs. I have got an e-mail from a friend (thank you, Bruce), which intended to heighten my spirits, and it did. After I laughed for a few minutes, I actually started realizing how seriously true those charts were, and now I am going to share a couple of them with you.

1. Home gym. When we buy something like this we give ourselves promises. Nearly New Year resolutions. Signed in blood. Breaded and dusted. What happens a few days later? It's like with children and puppies. Your kid will cry your brain out that he or she wants a little doggie, and will call you the best dad/mom in the world the moment you buy the craved pet. Two weeks later you will have to walk the poor creature yourself. Attention span is not to blame in this instance, but rather the desire for novelty, which is rapidly becoming the plague of the 21st century. It is the desire for novelty that makes us buy more and more, transforming us into a consumer society. Also, we want everyone to know that you have just bought the latest home gym, so consumption must be conspicuous, otherwise it's less fun. Thus, next time you go shopping, make sure those D&G letters are really big and are featured in a prominent place on the piece of clothing you so ardently wish to possess.

2. Lemons and Facebook. I have already posted a number of blogs on Social Media and 2.0 applications. Consider how dependent we are becoming on those seemingly innocent websites: LinkedIn (now you are almost expected to have a full page there with recommendations and professional societies mentioned in order to land a good job), Facebook (if you are not there, you are risking to miss all the cool events, friends' updates, and more often people consult Facebook for contact information of their connections) or Twitter (the best web marketing tool ever). Is it going to get worse? And by "worse" I mean "better". No, I guess I mean "worse".

3. Vibrating friends. We are surrounded by gadgets. There is not a single meeting/class/dinner/picnic/bull run that I have attended, where there would not be anything beeping, zooming, ringing, stroking or vibrating. It is haunting, really. Well, my ring tone is haunting too (Vertu - the best!), but in a good way. Have you noticed how many times people check their Blackberries, iPhones, youPhones and other pieces of technology to see if someone still remembers of their existence in this universe. Maybe global connection is in fact total disconnection and the only thing left that is real is the broadband?

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