Digital must support the physical

Love this piece from RSA.

It shows how we can isolate ourselves within digital networks and increase the silo mentality rather than try to increase the transparency. The same dangers may prevent themselves when implementing social technologies and without strong ‘human engagement’ to support the digital engagement many deployments will fail.

I strongly believe the digital world is here to support the physical world that we occupy. We must resist the temptation just to confine ourselves away in the digital social networks but use them to support our real physical world and the relationships and beliefs we develop. In many areas of life digital interaction would not succeed without some physical, real-life human contact.

The 2012 Obama For America (OFA) campaign was the culmination of the president’s belief in the power of neighbourhood action that he acquired as a community organiser in poor areas of Chicago in the 1980s. That faith in bottom-up organising was combined with a massive digital database to produce a campaign that was simultaneously hyper localised and rigorously centralised.

He created a matrix of field officers that were concentrated in the swing states. The Obama camp believed a strong missionary fervour that friendship, contact and the personal touch are how you win elections.

The deployment of adoption of social tools is not about technology. It is about building the right conditions; champions, advocates, support networks and contact points that ensure the purpose of the deployment (generally breaking down silos or barriers, increasingly transparency and knowledge sharing) are successful.


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