Does good tech make you better?

Does good tech make you better?
This is a really interesting topic actually, so good it’s goaded me into writing another blog – after far too long.
Does enhanced tech make for better or more users?
I’m thinking mainly about videographers, editors and the photographic community but actually it relates to most areas of skill, service and business.
Frinstance: I’m in the market for a new car. I call a car retailer and he sends me a video of a new car he has on the forecourt right now, shot on a smartphone. He’s not a good presenter and he’s certainly not a videographer but I get the film just the same. It’s the sort of stuff I’d expect from a 6 year old who thinks (s)he’ll get squillions from a youtube channel he has yet to create. It’s rubbish, but I do like the car, and I like it more for having seen it. But does that make it a good video? No, it makes it a useful one.
Some time later, I’m browsing a post from a colour-grading software company on Facebook and I got a post from a snapper who says “everyone’s a photographer these days – they use lots of tech but if you’re rubbish you’re always rubbish”
Not exactly.
We humans (photographers and others) and our skills do steadily improve over time but as new tech becomes available the market gets wider, more competitive.
When Michelangelo put down his pencil and picked up a brush, he adopted a tech that took him from a jotter who liked  to draw over-muscled Romans and fancy flying machines to the originator of the Sistine Chapel.
Rubbish photographers and videographers will always remain just that. Really good photographers and videographers and one or two really good techies however are getting smarter at making standout films and images but you bet they all use the software – perhaps they have just become good technicians?  Maybe so, but they are still good at spotting, capturing and processing great stuff.
I measure the quality of this stuff by the output.  I hope the work I do is useful but I also hope it’s good.  With film and photography, when I judge something I think looks great, I don’t usually ask what college they went to or what software they used, I look at the quality.   When I’m done, I ask myself if I could do as well as that.
Usually the answer is no, but I’ll keep on trying.

Just how social is social media?

There was a time when advertising was just that; advertising.  You took a brand and you presented it in a relevant and appealing context then you poured yourself a whiskey, lit a cigarette and sat back waiting for your audience to notice it and act upon it.


Then along came Social Media and spoilt the party.

Look, I’m a fan of the genuinely social aspects of Social Media as I sit here writing my blog which will go to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin…  But how influenced are you, the reader, by what I have to say?  I have some experience of brands and advertising but you didn’t know that and you don’t know how much either.  Why would you act on my recommendation?

I learned this week that one ad agency’s social media department has risen from three people to twenty.  And what are they all doing?  They’re creeping about the web helping us make decisions about what brands to buy and where to find them.

But is a paid army of professional advocates contributing to social intercourse or are they just social agents provocateurs?  In the pub, you’re offered a pint, there are four to choose from and a bystander says “that Rusty Bucket Pale Ale is mighty fine – I’d get one of those!” you might listen and give it a try.  But if that person was on duty for Rusty Bucket Ales Ltd and was on commission for every customer he converted you might a) feel a little compromised and b) be a little less likely to buy that beer.

Social Media has surpassed critical mass. It’s the no-brain channel of choice for brands and its effects are subtle, effective, mostly free and often invisible.  But I regret the latest morph of Social Media.  It’s become more insidious than influential and brands will come a cropper if they abuse their social credentials or are seen to compromise their social channels.

The Marlborough Cowboy died of cancer and I hope social media doesn’t catch its own cold.