It’s interesting how disconnectedly connected society is becoming with technology. It still trips me out how two people can walk or drive together with their noses stuck in an iPhone. It is the great thing about broadband. High-speed access to the internet means connecting with hundreds or thousands of people across the street or across the globe while maintaining a non-intrusive physical distance.
The technology can be used to piece together your favorite types of music without having to do what we old heads did back in the day: buying whole albums on wax and suffering through an artist’s less than inspired songs before hearing our favorites. Or allowing radio stations to determine what we were going to hear. With this command over content choice and a set of earbuds to block out the rest of the world, we are easily creating our own spaces.
Young people appear to be taking the ability to disconnect from the norm to how they live their political lives. A recent article in The Economist describes how fewer young people in rich countries are turning out to vote. They are increasingly disconnected from the “better of two evils” platform their electoral systems may be offering. As a group they have a preference for putting together their own choices and creating their own world as we discussed earlier. They don’t spend the time connecting to politicians the way older generations do, and a politician has to have the ability to create a brand and communicate that brand effectively to young voters in order to get their attention.
Most politicians haven’t gotten this yet, although one could argue that Mr Trump has and ironically has used broadband and social media to promote his brand. Hillary Clinton never figured out the branding or the social media connectivity issue and paid for that mistake in the polls.
Providers of communications networks are in a great position to take advantage of this change in attitude. T-Mobile and Sprint understand how important branding is because the need to stand out when you are the number three and four wireless carrier in the industry, creating a recognizable brand is crucial. The carriers know that whether an 18 year old wants to be absorbed in their own little world by running music access apps or someone selling items online wants their type “A” personality extended to as many consumers as possible, the networks are there to serve them.
Politicians could take a chapter from a wireless carrier’s playbook.