2014 The year we focus on what is missing

Welcome to 2014!

I am working on a series of articles that will spend some time exploring what we are missing because of seeing too much. No, this is not an article that is focused on Big Data, not even small data, rather the other side of the equation.

Let me start by asking a few questions:

1 - Who did NOT send you a holiday card this past year? You might be able to quickly think of one or two friends/families, but did you get them all? Are they ok? Forgot? Too Busy? Upset with you?

2 - Which one of your friends/business contacts seems to be missing from the usual banter? You know, a simple ‘Like’ or Retweet, comment here or there?

3 - Who is not at the Gym, Spinning Class or the Book Club (This last one is easier, right?)

There is simply so much information coming at us, at a pace that is hard to absorb, what are we going to miss because we do not have the time or inclination to look around. Frankly, what scares me more is the lack of inclination. Increasingly, the signals we see are what others want us to see. While our experiences are ours, and cannot be given, they can be guided, even skewed. I am not only talking about advertisers or marketers, I am talking about friends, family and peers. In the business context, this might be the internal social stream (pick your favorite vendor).

Further, this is also a bit of a warning, that it will be easier and easier to hide in plain site. Not through lack of participation, but very controlled participation. I admit, I have done it. No, not in a malicious way, but pushing out information and hiding other information. Location based checkin is an interesting example. If you are in a competitive sales situation, do you want everyone to know where you are? On the internal network, jump in just enough to let the world think you are there - same for Twitter maybe even Facebook.

Sure, businesses have done some work here with respect to customers - but it is not good enough and it needs to get better. For large business, you will get the occasional email “Hey, where are you, please come back” (undertone - “Please spend money”). What about the product in use scenario? Yes, in the digital space, this can work as well, but we are not there, we actually have a long way to go.

Welcome to 2014!