Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Posted by Jake Rosen
Maybe it was because I was re-reading "Groundswell" or maybe it was because I was curious about the digital capacity of a place that had such a sharp contrast bewteen beauty and squalor, but I asked some of the locals about their use of social media. I wasn't surprised to hear that social media is not a commonly used technology in Akumal. When I said the word "Facebook" to a group of four guys it was returned with two confused looks, one indifferent response and one "oooh Facebook, ci." I inquired what that meant and found out that the lone guy in the group that knew Facebook wasn't a member, but had seen adds where brands communicated that they were on the social media platform. They were more concerned about buying their groceries, fixing their palm roofs or paying for a new bicycle tire (their primary method of transporation) than the computer or mobile technological devices it would take to operate social media. There also wasn't much need to connect with the outside world. In Akumal, most communications happen face-to-face and there isn't much need to communicate with people that you wouldn't see in person.
This isn't a grand revelation, nor will it affect marketers in any way. Brands aren't marketing their products to people that can't afford them. This revelation did give me pause to ask "why am I so wrapped up in a technology that only a small percentage of the world can truly use the way it is meant to be used?" Sometimes, in the world of business we move so quickly that we don't stop to think about the big picture. I think it is important to put some perspective in what we do and think about if the people in a place like Akumal, Mexico care about the tasks we devote 50 plus hours a week to.