Modern Romance – A book review

To start off with, I read this book for two reasons, but I’m sure you’re not going to believe me. My reasons are a little like saying I installed Tinder, just to check out the functionality 😉

Be that as it may, the main reason I read this book was to see how technology has changed the world, and in this case, the way people date or find a partner. The second reason is because I really like Aziz Ansari, the American actor and comedian.

 

Technology is changing the world

To start off with how technology has changed the world, you don’t have to look further than your own behaviour. In this case age does not play that big a role, unless you’re my father who still loves his old Nokia phone.

Technology has changed the way we interact with the world around us and the people who live in it. Things are not the same anymore. In the work I do as a communication strategist, I always try and highlight two facts. The internet and technology has fundamentally changed the way we need to interact with our customers, and we need to adapt if we want to remain relevant in today’s crowded market place.

 

It seems ok today to ask someone out via a text message.

One of the ways Aziz mentions that technology has changed behaviour, is that it seems ok today to ask someone out via a text message. Phone calls are being phased out. These changes in user behaviour just seem to speed up and it’s worth noting that “this is an insanely fast transformation in how we communicate”. Text messages did not exist when I was younger, so we had to call, or even visit.

Phoning someone to ask them out would seem insane to the young people of today, as would asking someone out via text message seem to the older generations.

 

What seems insane to one generation is the norm for the next.

One chapter in the book was about Sexting. This is when the topic sex, which could be words, photos, video and so on, is included in the digital communication. Again it is important to note, that the older generation did not grow up with this technology, so find it especially difficult to understand the why’s and how’s. I include myself in this group, because I am still trying to get up to speed with SnapChat, which just seems to short and temporary for my liking.

One case in the book was about a school where the teenagers were taking photos of themselves and sending it to their friends, posting them on social media and sharing them online. It got so bad, that a formal police investigation was started.

What the police investigation did not expect, was the response from the teenagers that were questioned. The teenagers didn’t seem to care, and didn’t understand why the grownups were acting so strangely towards what they did. Again the reaction from both camps, young and old, shows that both don’t understand each other. And unfortunately there is no right or wrong. The only thing that is certain is that technology always wins.

 

Acting normal

One of my favourite chapters is the one on text messages and how ridiculous we as people can be when we’re typing text messages to someone we’re hoping to date. Desperate in some instances. Scary in other. And as Aziz says, think about saying what you’re typing to the person face to face. That will most definitely minimize the amount of idiot messages we send. Again, technology has changed the way people assume they can behave. We’re doing a lot more on our mobile phones than we did before, which means less and less face to face interaction. Where we’ll end in the way we’ll interact is anyone’s guess.

 

And finally

The challenge for us as marketers is to understand the technology, and the impact on our marketing strategies. What too many older marketers do is stick their head in the sand, and pretend it’s still the 90s. Doing things the way we used to do it seems to be a recurring theme. Maybe it’s because we’re stuck in a part of history that we understood, and where we felt comfortable. The typical “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” response.

Another theme seems to be to employ young people who is thought to understand “all of this”, and help the company or brand move forward. Although it can help, it is still not the answer to changing a business and the way they interact with their customers. The change needs to come from much higher up in the organisation.

 

It’s a complex web of devices, platforms and user behaviour, that needs some serious attention, if we’re going to expect some serious results. I hope you would buy this book, it’s a great insight into the world we live in today and the way it will be different tomorrow and the day after that. And also if you’re still dating, there’s some great tips 🙂

 


 

If you’re still not convinced to read this book, then check out Good Reads, for their review.

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices.