WBEZ Radio in Chicago has been promoting a Facebook app which encourages listeners to "make babies" so they can create a 'next generation' audience for the show in the future. Part of the approach includes going where millennials are going anyway. For dating. For friendship. For communication. And I guess for making babies?
Humm? I thought brilliant and famed adman and DIGO Brands CEO, Mark DiMassimo and I were pushing the envelope with our "Might We Recommend A Little Bondage?" campaign for Offlining.com this Valentine's Day.
While I have fully embraced new technology and many would even call me an "early adapter," I must admit that I question what happened to culture as we knew it, when the norm was not to be multi-tasking the day and night away? I can't seem to find a safe haven anywhere in the world where I don't have to answer an email. I thought airplanes had me covered? And when I want to have an old-fashioned face-to-face conversation over dinner, well... it's tough to find.
Which brings me to Valentine's Day. A day that is supposed to be associated with romance and love... not multi-tasking, Instagram, Facebook and text messages. You don't have to be that old to remember when the boy had to walk across the gym floor to ask the girl to dance. And if you happened to be a shy boy, the fear of rejection may have kept you from ever asking... let alone develop any social skills or grace. We grew up in a day and age where we had to develop those skills through practice or perish. There was rejection. There was the surprise and joy of the mutual crush. There was the "yes, I'd love to dance." There was a little of everything as we grew up and we felt it... in all of its non-digital glory. There was no delete button in our love lives.
And yes, there were even pictures then... so we could remember now. Although you had to wait a week to get them developed, it was well worth the wait. Paul Simon even immortalized Kodachrome film and the Nikon camera. You remember, "If you took all the girls I knew when I was single and brought them all together for one night. I know they'd never match my sweet imagination. Everything looks worse in black and white."
I've always interpreted that song as more a statement of pop culture and how our minds worked on an individual basis. Oh, the ultimate trophy picture of my girlfriend and me in 1976 was the prize! What else did I need in life? I asked her to dance. She said yes. And I had the picture forever.
In between, we talked. Real talk. No text. No email.
Fast forward to today... our attachment to smartphones seems to inject itself into everything we do. You don't have to walk across the gym floor anymore this Valentine's Day. Just send a text. If she's not interested, move along to the next love interest on Facebook. If she is and you can get that Instagram picture up on Facebook, while you change your relationship status, who needs to have a conversation? And of course, there is the instant feedback we get from our technology. Those bings and pings that come from our phones every time we get a text message. When relationships go south, there is no need to break up in person anymore. While it may still thankfully be frowned upon, maybe you don't know the art of the digital breakup or have the complimentary "break up email template"?
Basically, new and young romance can almost be digital... from beginning to end. And fear not, there are even websites to give you advice.
It doesn't matter how young or old you are; putting down your smartphone and just being in love for a day is better. Fun. And if you're not in love... be in like, with a person, not a key on your computer. Try it this Valentine's Day if you can? Take the "Offlining Pledge" and walk across the gym floor in the real world. You might be surprised.