Going Deep, Digitally

Ed Cotton likes the contrary thinking found in Jonathan Harris’ new piece, “World Building in a Crazy World”. I do too. Very much.
Here’s what Cotton says about the work:

Harris seems to be taking a giant knife to the current internet landscape and stabbing a hole in its heart; slamming the 140 character world of Tweeter, the superficiality of Facebook, the pervasive adherence to minimalism as a web design philosophy and the “bubble effect” of all the conversations and conferences.

Naturally, that sent me right over to find out what this Harris man is made of. Good stuff, that’s what. Like this:

  • “Most online experiences are made, like fast food, to be cheap, easy, and addictive: appealing to our hunger for connection but rarely serving up nourishment.”
  • “We trade self-reflection for busyness, gorging ourselves on it and drowning in it, without recognizing the violence of that busyness, which we perpetrate against ourselves and at our peril.”
  • “But even if we start to crave more depth, we cannot run away to a more primitive time. The momentum of technological growth is too strong for us to prevent it from defining our future. Like it or not, our future world will largely be digital. Instead of fleeing to the forest, we must find the humanity in the machine and learn to love it. If we decide the humanity does not yet exist there in the ways we expect, then we must create it.”

I dare you to write that in to your next brief. The truth is it takes a philosopher to seek beauty and truth, a.k.a. “humanity,” and an artist to make it clear to people.
Brand marketers, typically, are not in the business of seeking beauty and truth. But they could be. And those of us who make commercial art for a living might do our clients (and their customers) a world of good by pursuing a more righteous course.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.