Friday, 25 February 2011

The new class system: the "knows and know-nots"

I am starting to think that our relationships with technology may well begin to re-draw class boundaries and put in place a "politics of technology".

Smart users of smart devices are accessing all kinds of valuable services that those not on smart devices cannot access or do not want. The irony is that it might be those who cannot afford an iPhone who would most value a 2 for 1 pizza deal on a week night, a free cinema ticket or 10% off high street brands.

If there aren't the right levels of education across the customer base then we could see a class system not of ‘haves and have-nots’ but of ‘knows and know-nots’….which inevitably does lead to a separation between the 'haves and have-nots'

And that makes for friction rather than harmony within society. Not only do those who aren’t ‘smart’ with technology not get the best value; they don’t get a vote. As social media grows and participation in the political and social debates gets more voluble, there could develop a class of technologically-inequipped people who have no voice – or certainly can only whisper when it comes to having their say.

Services that help educate customers in technology are incredibly important in order to share skills and knowledge more widely. One reason why they shouldn’t become a paid for service. The most generous gesture a brand can offer in the emerging world is to offer learning, share knowledge and help transfer skills between people. Otherwise we will be creating a class of people who might be referred to as the informed and therefore 'Influential Elite".

More to come on this I hope, as I think it will be a defining feature of the next few years; whether in mobile; cloud computing, or TV, there will be those who 'know-how' and those who 'know-not' - two classes of people enjoying different levels of access, value and rewards in the post-digital age.

No comments:

Post a Comment