My dad vs. Twitter

5.26.09 :: To be fair, I don’t expect my dad to jump in a ring with Jack Dorsey, anytime soon. Though we have had multiple Sunday dinner conversations about Twitter’s hype and ROI. In his own words,”People need to start realizing these are just tools, not ideas.” Given his 20+ years in the biz (and the fact that he’s my father) I think this deserves some consideration.

Good or bad, we live in an age where people use technology in order to solve human problems. If you feel out of touch with your college roommate, you can follow their Twitter and pick up the occasional twitpic. You might want to figure out a song you’re hearing in Sbux, so there’s an app for that. And, if you find yourself constantly replacing holey socks, you can sign up to get monthly installments delivered right to your door. However, as much as the technological imperative drives us to say it’s the software solving the problem, it’s the human insight that solves the problem. The technology just helps.

Human solutions should always come before technological ones. Every smart, ambitious web-preneur knows this. If we could somehow keep up with all 150 people in our social circle without the web, we would. Instead, we have Facebook. The key is to creating an experience that is seamlessly human. Enter user experience and design. Baba Shelley, at Hill | Holiday said recently in CommArts,

” Fashions of technology will always have a certain allure…but left unchecked as students of human behavior, technology won’t help us as much as we hope.”

Since technology has helped solved human problems so well, we have seen execution and the idea move closer together. Which has encouraged agencies to solicit tech input early in the creative process. (See “The Big Table” in the May/June CommArts). We’ve been lucky enough to have a small group, a technical director with a background in design and a collaborative creative team, so our process is more harmonious than most.

So, despite headlines that say you should connect with your brand fans through Twitter and Facebook, I would go back to the same old questions and human insights about these people. Chances are they will be able to help you. If not, I’m sure my dad can.