I used to be a deal shopper. I’d spend hours researching the best deal, most likely only shopping online. I’d make a purchase from a nondescript online store. A few weeks later (I was too cheap to pay overnight shipping), my purchase would show up conveniently at my door.
All this was great, except for one thing. An absolute lack of customer service. I enthusiastically bought CD’s (CD’s!!!) online from CDnow.com and thought it was efficient that I wasn’t hassled by brick and mortar employees asking me, “Can I help you?”
Purchasing CD’s wasn’t the only thing you could do online. You could “chat” with your friends on AIM or ICQ. Forget the phone, that’s so 1992. You could have a real-time conversation without having to do much more than lift a finger. Now, with social networking, you can do more than chat. In fact, you can live an entire life without having to leave your house.
Something has changed, though. Now that I’m in my 30’s, I no longer crave the convenience of online as I once did. I’m willing to pay a premium for quality service, for someone to tell me what they think about a product, or how a product performs long term. As much as I like Facebook and Twitter, I’d much rather organize a backyard BBQ. It’s the human interaction I’m looking for, and I don’t think I’m alone.
I don’t have any stats or research to back it up, this is just my gut talking, but I think we’ll see a trend where people start getting offline more and more. A trend where face to face begins to beat out screen to screen. A trend where we start acting like humans again.