Take The Path Less Travelled
The centenary of the end of World War 1 gives us a moment to pause and see the limits of living life in electronic and permanent fast forward
This year is the centenary of World War 1 and while I’m not going to be out shaking a tin, I am going to be doing a little something to mark the occasion. The total number of casualties, both military and civilian, is estimated to be 40 million and anyone who lived through it would have been able to claim a first-hand link to someone in uniform. Today, with no living veteran still alive from 1914- 18, those who can claim such a link are few and far between and with a certain sense of closure after 100 years, there is a risk that we all take a step back in 2019.
At the risk of of trivialising, in this case a brutal, conflict, the world was a simpler place. The automobile had yet to hit mass production, aviation was in its infancy and barely off the ground, correspondence was achieved by letter. In certain ways, there was more time.
Today, life is less black and white and is a far broader spectrum of grey amongst the smoke and mirrors presented through the alleged benefits of technology. Brands have done their best to ensure everything can be achieved in less than 5 ‘clicks’, normally via a device of some kind. Social media, fast fashion, non-stop emails, 24-hour news cycles all compete for our attention to the extent that our attention spans have been driven down to five minutes or less; anything older barely counts as news.
With a myriad of opinions and options, it is not always obvious what is fake news, what (mis) information is being promoted by bots and what and where the truth is. Brands are, by and large, uncool which is why spending on social influencers exists and continues to rise. However, when many are frequently paid or sponsored and not transparent about their relationships, how trustworthy are these independent voices?
With all this competition, the idea of heritage, quality, turning your phone off and handling something tactile and tangible seems old fashioned and positively antiquated. And yet. With brands increasingly suffering from FOMO there is now of homogenisation with the same brands talked about on the same channels by the same people. So, for those who know and read Riddle, it will come as no surprise when I re-affirm our belief in being different. Riddle isn’t about us and it’s certainly not about us following a well-travelled path; Riddle is about the people and brands we talk about which is why we put them front and centre rather than show selfies of the team.
With Silicon Valley execs turning off their phones and banning their children from devices, the medical profession complaining that new student doctors don’t have the manual dexterity required, we believe that while online has its place, there is no substitute for the real world and taking the time to interact with real people. So don’t let electronic conveniences control your life; I’m sure the world will still turn if you wait 24hours to reply to an email and invest time in what’s truly important. Given the events of 100 years ago, don’t count your days, make your days count.