As social bots become more widespread and AI is driving ever more "personalised" but actually impersonal communication, our desire to interact with other real humans grows. As Anne-Marie Slaughter says in her excellent article "We crave actual physical connection to neighbours, colleagues and fellow townspeople, even if digitally facilitated."
What I found interesting about this statement, as a Business to Business communicator is that neighbours, colleagues and townspeople are all people. There is no craving for a connection to a brand.
This reminded me of a conversation I had last week with the CEO of a London Tech recruitment company. He spoke about how he frequently emails useful content across to his key contacts in order to advance their discussion and contrasted that with his company sharing the exact same article with the same person, also by email, in a newsletter. He felt that the first was materially important to the recipient and moved his company forward. The newsletter, with the same information, gets only around 2% of recipients even clicking to the article.
Being remembered, not by a cookie or a CRM platform but by another human is becoming increasingly important. This suggests that the role of salespeople building networks and communities will continue to be critical, even if they are "digitally facilitated".
More immediately, our new tools are destroying both trust and truth, creating a hunger for community and authenticity. We crave actual physical connection to neighbours, colleagues and fellow townspeople, even if digitally facilitated. Going local will also be an important way to recover a belief in truth. With the decline of traditional trusted intermediaries, and the discovery that social media account holders may well be bots, we will crave verifiability.