Embraced by those people, just as we are, we no longer have to keep monitoring ourselves as to whether we fit in with the mainstream. Or even youth culture. I can be totally comfortable jawing with the over-60 about our struggles keeping up with technology.
That shift is called by Jon Evans on Tech Crunch as "The Great Fragmentation." Here is his article.
We can live out our little lives in digital and perhaps even real communities of Zen Buddhists (there are myriad schools of Buddhists), former attorneys who were forced out of BigLaw, quilters, recovered alcoholics who did that without Alcoholics Anonymous, gay couples exploring adoption overseas and comebacks from financial ruin.
So, what are the implications for communications professionals? Here are some thoughts:
Stop being smug about demographics. Targeting has become a lot more complex. Big marketers like Sony know that. For instance, in customer service for its PlayStation4, it frames communications choices to align with each specific culture around the world. For instance, Americans might prefer social. Culture X might still want to complain via phone.
Figure out what sandboxes you can play in. With so many groups - this goes way beyond niche marketing - there are limits to our ability to understand the communications touch points of A, B and C. After stumbling badly with certain segments of Millennials, I have returned to playing in the sandbox of leadership. We share the same mindset. The compensation is what I am used to.
Research before taking the deep dive. With so many different groups filtering data, the knowledge base might have changed. Don't go into a meeting or conference phone call without spending a couple hours doing a literature search and a couple more thinking about what has changed and what could change.
Explore how human beings are getting what they need emotionally and spiritually. Address those touch points in communications. In some ways we remain a lot of alike. The current meme is: Search, and not in the Google sense.
In both business and my personal life I have become more cautious. Emotional Intelligence (EI) demands that we hover around a group, virtual or actual, to figure out what their values, modes of interaction and biases are. Then, we can experiment with tactics to do business or simply hang out.