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FIDM Hosts Digitaria: Less Digital a Digital Trend?

Kristina Eastham | Digitaria
By Kristina Eastham , Digital Strategist | @kreastham
Nov 3, 2011

Digitaria’s hip headquarters is the 12th floor of DiamondView Tower in downtown San Diego, but the third floor of our building, home to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s San Diego campus, is hands down the building’s trendiest. Bright colors, open design, plush comfortable furniture, a library and large outdoor seating area -- what’s not to like?

So Digitaria was excited to lay out some digital trends for these fashionistas, after they invited us downstairs to do just that.  Last night FIDM hosted students, alumni and community members for a panel on “Digital Trends in Design, Entertainment and Social Media” with Digitaria’s Michael Brown, VP of Media and Entertainment; Stephanie Shkolnik, Social Media Strategist; Paul Drohan, Senior Creative Director and Tom Siebert, VP of Communications.

After showing JWT Trendspotter Ann Mack’s “10 Trends for 2011 in 2 minutes” the panelists, moderated by FIDM’s Katherine Slauta, Director of Education, and Jesse Negrete, Library Reference Specialist, dove deeper into digital trends and best-in-class examples and fielded questions from the audience verbally and on Twitter.

Panelists originally planned to discuss the most relevant trends to Digitaria and its clients, like digital retail interactions, gamification and the collision of digital and physical worlds. But as an open conversation, Paul, Stephanie, Michael and Tom received questions around the equally relevant idea of “de-teching.”

Maybe it was just a ploy to hear digital marketers say ‘we need a break from technology too,’ or meet a senior creative director who sometimes ‘hates gadgets,’ but we all have an undeniable need to turn our devices off. Consumers need a break, even in a room where the audience was checking smartphones and tweeting questions. The interest in “disconnecting” reinforces the trend and shows there’s an opportunity for brands to capitalize on “de-teching” while still finding an innovative way to bring customers a traditional experience.

Others wondered about the fate of consumers who aren’t using emerging technology. What if you don’t have a smart phone? Will brands leave these customers behind?

Tom’s painfully true response was “What happened to the guy who kept riding his horse when everyone else was driving a car? He got hit by a car.” We help brands embrace “the next big thing” in order to provide their customers with a better experience. Some digital trends catch on; others don’t. Some brands thrive on serving the “lowest common denominator” while others target early adopters and digital trends to pave the way with their success stories.

Whether people adopt it or not, whether we need a break from it or not, technology is here to stay. According to Ann Mack’s trend report, technology is the one area where people aren’t cutting costs or making sacrifices. Technology is changing the way we do everything from shopping to interacting to thinking. More often than not technology provides us with new opportunities to drastically improve our quality of life. But as with anything new, proceed with caution and take a break once in a while.

Here are some links to some of the articles and videos referenced during last night’s panel:
A creepy, personalized Facebook experience at Take This Lollipop
Is Google making us stupid?” article referenced by Tom Siebert
Ballet Storefront Video in France
Gamification of Recycling
Shop via QR code in Tesco’s South Korea subway station

If you have further questions about last night’s topics, tweet us @digithoughts.