2014-03-01

Tribal 2.0: The Great Digital Divide



We are Tribes, we always have been and we always will be. We gang up alongside those who look like us, talk like us, think like us but are not just quite us. We may call ourselves nations, states, societies and communities, but in fact, all we are is tribes unified around one or several common values and united by the motto: Members of the Tribe Come First (regardless of how idiotic, blind-sighted or annoying they are)

In today's connected world one would argue that the barriers maintaining tribal segregation would be eroded, blurred, gone. Perhaps in some measure they are.  Google translate brings down language barriers, Skype saves us the trouble of crossing borders, Facebook puts us in touch with long lost friends...yet we still manage to align ourselves in tribes. We pick sides even when there is no side to pick, we trash-talk the other side over a piece of technology which we don't even own but merely use.

Today's tribal feuds are digital, they live on the web, in virtual space, on the banks of social media channels.
Here's a brief look at some of those I run into most frequently:

  • Mac vs PC:  In the beginning there was the mainframe but who cares about that. This is where the action took place as digital was unraveling itself. It still does in some way but this has been one of the oldest running digital feuds. Countless are the arguments breaking out in college cafeterias, dorm rooms and classrooms between supporters of each with a side dish of sarcasm by Linux lovers.
    This rivalry sparked a series of very successful ads by Apple.

  • Microsoft vs Google: A software company hating on a search engine? what am I missing there? But we all know that Microsoft outgrew its software manufacturer a long time ago and that Google has spread its wings far beyond search. Google's Gmail, Chrome Browsers, Chrome OS and Apps were gaining ground on the supremacy of Microsoft's Hotmail, Internet Explorer, Windows and Office.
    The fans of each side are often arguing the merits of one or the other. My personal observation is that those who emerge from a corporate environment tend to support the more institutional Microsoft while Start-Ups, freelancers, hackers are pro Google. Left in the middle is the average computer user.
    This probably would explain an entire campaign entitled "Scroogled" aimed at taking jabs at Google's array of products in order to portray Microsoft's under a brighter light. Interestingly enough, Google have not reacted to this.

  • Apple Fanboys vs Fandroids: So we've had Microsoft and Apple fans going at it for starters, closely followed Microsoft and Google supporters having their own little thing happening, so it would not be right if we didn't have Apple and Google fans at each others' throats. While I have been an Android user for as long as I remember I cannot deny the merits of either platform. The issue is that of relevance. If the fruit makes you happy bite into that by all means. Both are here to stay, both borrow from each other and the only one to profit is us the consumers. Of course if you ever hoped to work for either company and got turned down, we won't hold it against you if you spent your day bashing their product. After all we are all humans and we can't all handle rejection well.

     
  • Facebook vs Google+: This might be the mildest of all the controversies you can see. Facebookers argue that Google+ is a ghost-town and that Google is pushing it down the throat of everybody who uses any Google product. The latter simply shrug their shoulders and poke fun at all the privacy concerns that have infected Facebook and the type of users and content that is being generated there.
    It's worth noticing that these two giants are probably going to end up doing the same thing. Facebook is spinning off new products (messenger, paper...) from its main platform while Google is connecting all is products (YouTube, Blogger, Android...) via its social platform. I guess it's a wait and see game.



There are certainly other examples to draw on from the House of Tech and the Clan of McSocial (Canon vs Nikon, Xbox vs PlayStation...) but I am sure you can dig-up more on those on your own or even better, give first hand example on your participation in one or the other. What matters at the end of the day is not what technology are you using but rather what are you using the technology for and is it the most appropriate one to achieve the goals you initially set-off to achieve.

I would love to hear your contributions below in the comments on these and other topics so don't hesitate to share your Tribal 2.0 experience.