Connection without knowledge

Interesting post up at Brian Solis’ blog. Don’t yet have a mobile device myself, which always makes me feel old and outdated reading posts about mobile, but that’s neither here nor there.

This observation caught my eye:

Indeed. Think about all of the events leading up to this moment today and the role your smartphone or tablet played in helping your discover, share, communicate and learn. You might in fact, be reading this on your mobile device now. The reality is that growth in mobile is blinding as consumers break the shackles of their PCs and expand beyond the reach of wifi to keep them connected to information and people anywhere and everywhere. This is an important moment in the evolution of mobile as it no longer simply about communication or smart communication. Mobile is causing a fundamental shift in society where consumers are evolving into connected consumers. This connected mindset is empowering as people take advantage of on-demand access to not just information, but other people, opinions, shared experiences, and a bevy of apps and resources to help make more informed and efficient decisions than ever before.

Emphasis all mine. I agree wholeheartedly but there’s an important distinction: being informed does not necessarily follow being connected. Now, I’m biased because a lot of my thinking is about political stuff, which is governed by a set of rules totally different from those which apply to consumer products, but still.

For political information, the brave new media world poses an interesting contradiction: never have there been more information outlets and yet getting relevant, useful information has not gotten any easier. In some respects, it’s probably gotten harder. You can read articles from CNN, the New York Times and the WSJ about different candidates tax proposals and never have any clue whether the articles assume a baseline with or without the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. You’ll have to read Bob Somerby to be aware of that little extremely important issue. On other issues, most notably Social Security and “entitlements,” major news orgs like the WaPo won’t just fail to inform you. They’ll actively mislead you. Gotta dig around in the weeds of the Internet to find a cogent explanation about those issues, many of which are listed at sites that the vast majority of Americans have never and will never even hear about.

But consumer products are different, aren’t they? If a new toy has lead paint, that won’t be turned into a political football and be disputed by half the country’s misinformed electorate. Right?

Yeah, I think so. But just remember, at least as a general principle: being informed does not always follow being better connected. And that fact might yet pop up in the consumer purchases arena at some point or another.


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