I have been traveling the world quite a bit lately for IBM (I am for example in Bangalore, India right now) — primarily meeting with digital marketing and communications folks as part of the digital strategy work I do for the company. One of the things that I keep hearing is that “people in my region don’t like to use the web.” There is a kind of dogmatic repetition of this phrase — that business decision makers want to conduct all business in person. That it’s cultural.
But I just don’t buy it — especially when the same marketers show me the trends of digital adoption in their regions rising precipitously.
I think there is real misunderstanding about the way people use the web. I mean, we can say conclusively that there is abundant traffic to our website nearly universally and that our search terms are getting clicks in Google and other search engines etc. So maybe it is not a misunderstanding as much as it is a kind of willful disbelief — and the resulting cognitive dissonance causes a lot of stress. There is such confusion about how to use the web and such deeply ingrained habits around in-person events that we just keep repeating the words “But people in my region don’t use the web — we’re different, it’s cultural” despite the fact that they are patently false. but leaning on the term “culture” stops the argument in its tracks.
Does our goodhearted desire to be culturally sensitive translate into an excuse to do the minimum when it comes to the web….which results in a poor user experience…which perpetuates the cycle?