Overabove Blog

The piazza glistened with just-fallen rain. The cobbles seemed to soak up the moisture and lay a bit more proud – “how good we look today” with all this shine and glimmer. Buildings that had stood here for hundreds of years took it all in establishing the boundaries. Just another day. Another chapter.

I sat with sketchbook in lap, pen in hand trying to visually describe the church I have become so enamored with over the last 30 years. Me and my sketch book, espresso close by and the piazza laying out before me. I began to notice life slowly coming to assemble. Gathering, stopping, pointing as had been done for centuries.

The church stood as moderator. The beacon of attention and the anchor to this little place. A rectangle of space conceived by people to gather, inspire and converse. A social space.

Small groups of people coming together to recount yesterday’s headlines, this afternoon’s announcement, tomorrow’s scandal. Conversations, gestures and interaction. Human to human coming together to be together. Laughing. Emphasizing. Disagreeing and agreeing. But sharing most importantly.

Sharing and liking

How quickly today terms like these have changed their meaning. Now we marketers track shares, track likes, encourage engagement and measure results. We align paid dollars to foster those shares and likes and convince our clients that “everything is great.” We are held to account. Measured.

Technology has changed our lives and that change is only accelerating. Ray Kurtzweil talks about how we’ll experience 20,000 years of progress in the 21st century. Exponential change. Machine intelligence surpassing human intelligence.

Scary stuff but undeniably exhilarating for sure.

So, what about us humans?

We’re still the emotional, intuitive, unpredictable biological organisms that live and breathe and interact with each other. We created all this technology, yet I feel more and more like we’ve lost ourselves. Lost perspective. Becoming increasingly reliant on the incredible technology we have at our finger tips.

This piazza reminds me that the answer is simple. We need to get back to being human. If we remember that behind all that technology, analytics, data and tracking it’s the human to human interaction that has the most value.

Our strategies, our campaigns need to keep this central. This is the key. Become enamored once again with the people behind the digital like, behind the digital share. Remember that we have been coming together to be social for thousands of years and at the end of the day, that is what we need more of. Remember in your strategies and campaigns that there’s a human on the other end you are trying to motivate.

Remember the piazza. Remember to disconnect to reconnect.

John Visgilio

Principal and Co-Founder