My first blog post was about hyperstimulation of our communications; and something I said never quite felt appropriate. I wrote the following about the value of information approaching zero, and I don’t think I explained it thoroughly enough:
It is because of this that we see the value of information itself approaching zero. Wait, don’t react just yet! Information still holds its original value, however, due to its accessibility and in the coming case of hyperaccessibility you practically don’t even have to pursue it, it is given to you. That is the role of all these media outlets. The greatest value add of the future rests in packaging, and disseminating information, not in the creation of the information.
To begin the clarification process I want you to think about the difference between a chore and a desire or need. Immediately, “chore”, evokes negative response as your brain pulls up a list of all the unfinished chores you have. Desire is much more positive, it’s something you want, something you must have, and you will do what must be done to acquire it. Need is somewhere in the middle, but there’s an understanding that needs must be fulfilled . . . because they’re needs, otherwise they wouldn’t need to be fulfilled (score one for using a definition to define a term! But seriously, you know what “need” means).
When something is scarce, it can be desirable. When a need is scarce, it is highly desirable! In fact, it might be sought after at all costs! Now that we have a context, we can view the transition from desire to chore.
In the simplest terms: Food is a biological need. When it is scarce it is highly desired. When it is available it is a need. And when it is available in excess it is a chore.
How many people think of “grocery shopping” as a chore that they have to do? Well, if you’re fairly well-off in a 1st world country, it’s quite likely a chore to you. Because food is so available, do you go hunting for your dinner? Of course not. Do you travel to various farms for each type of food you want to purchase? Doubtful. Do you go to a singular location that has packaged, displayed, and prepared the food for rapid and efficient acquisition? Yes, the supermarket.
That was my point about the value of information approaching zero (or in the case of chores, a negative value). Although you may desire or need information about something, it is increasingly becoming a chore to acquire it due to so much information being available. So you seek out a source that can package, display, and prepare it for your consumption.
Sites like Amazon know this, it’s one of the reasons they’re so successful. You don’t have to leave their site. You get side by side comparisons in price, customer reviews, product Q&A, access to customer service all from a single interface. Not only that, but they track your viewing history to provide you with contextual ads while you’re browsing goods so that you can see more things that may interest you. This is how social media managers need to think when preparing or disseminating information to their audience. How can you make it a one-stop shop for your viewers? How can you organize and design the content to be accessible, easy to digest, and readily available?
Viewers have a multitude of options and these options are constantly vying for their attention. So the future of value resides in the ability to get content that your audience wants to your audience in a manner that they appreciate.
Information isn’t worthless, but if your audience feels that it’s a chore to get that information . . . it may as well not exist.