I discussed my feelings on some of the aspects of music and writing here. And what this prompted almost to a person were questions on how I viewed the debacle that took place with the Apple™/ U2 free album sent to every new iPhone™. Where the album was placed within their music library for free without the customers firsthand knowledge or consent. Here’s how I answered it…
First off, the whole “I’m offended” meme that ran rampant in which droves were complaining because they received something for free but weren’t asked was in my eyes a little disingenuous. I mean as one of my favorite comedians Joan Rivers would say, “Can we talk here?”
I really don’t think it had anything to do in any aspect with U2. Sure it’s possible the many that complained were either too young to know who they are, or live on some remote island. But far too many (including both U2 and Apple) then, as well as still, continue to be focused on the wrong issue in my opinion.
I use this one particular issue as an example because that was one of the many lines repeatedly touted across media as to why people were complaining. You saw lines like, “WTF! Who the heck are these guys anyway?” Like I said, “c’mon…”
With all that said, I feel it did give an insight into exactly how the iPhone or other mobile devices are now viewed in today’s society. I think there was a great lesson buried within that debacle as far as I can see and was missed altogether by most. And not missed in the sense of “just not paying attention.” Rather, in missing or even understanding of exactly what was exposed.
In broad brush terms: The smart phone, regardless of brand, has now replaced what was once thought of or identified with “part of your identity” as in say a car, a home and items like that. Even down to the smaller things like, a diary, a secret box, or secret garden.
Whatever it is we now know one thing clearly: it’s personal – deeply personal. As well as revered. And who enters, or who we let see or touch, is inviolable. Period.
Let me describe it this way using the car example.
If you had let’s say a “cool car.” Even if we knew one another. If I decided in the middle of the night to add a really cool cup-holder to the console without you knowing as you slept and had your car parked in the driveway. Locked. Can you see how one might take a little issue with that?
The cup-holder might be secondary, I’ll argue it’s for the very fact I entered your private or personal effects without permission and circumvented your locking of it that would make you take umbrage.
Even if the cup-holder is “the most awesome cup-holder since cup-holders were made” you might for what ever reason not like it. Or, not even drink liquids in your car. The umbrage might go to outraged when you find that not only don’t you like it or want it – you can’t remove it. Which by the way was also the case in this very debacle and the real critical factor for outrage in my opinion.
This is how what one thought as being a nice gesture turns into “WTF were you doing in my car in the first place! Who gave you permission? What were you thinking? Get that piece of #### out of my car before I call the cops on you for breaking and entering and destruction of personal property!”
Again, see how this can move from good intentions to bad idea quickly?
Same thing let’s say if the local grocer decided to do something wonderful for all their clients and gave a free turkey to every household. Everyone would think that is just terrific. Yet, if you came home to find that turkey had been placed in your refrigerator by some store clerk whom entered your home while you weren’t there – or anyone else? Thrilled will not be the term that comes to mind.
Think this doesn’t apply to even the youngest of demographics? Just try to give a wonderful thoughtful gift in the manner of sliding into the back of a 13-year-old’s diary say a $10.00 bill.
Just put that bill in the back of their secret diary to be found by them when they least suspect it as in “a surprise.” You’ll be thinking “I’m such a great parent! I give my kids money when they don’t even ask me for it.” Then…
I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts what you’ll hear will be something more reminiscent of the 13-year-old screaming bloody murder for you “violating” their personal space in a “How could you!!!” tirade.
You can plead to them how well-intentioned you were and to believe that you never even opened it. Yet, it won’t matter. It’s the act you were in their “personal space” is all that will matter. You don’t belong anywhere near it unless “invited.”
The ability to give away promotions or anything else is far from dead, and I believe will be used in even more instances going forward. And yes directly to “the personal device” aligned market.
However, the key take away from all of this was the demonstration of exactly how most people feel about their devices. They truly are just as personal and have many of the same attributes that one would expect if dealing with someone’s home, car, and other personal space or item.
Just because you have the ability to deliver a present in fabled Santa Claus fashion doesn’t mean people wouldn’t be both offended, as well as outraged, while calling for the authorities if they found you standing in front of their fireplace with a new expensive gift as they woke from their beds.
That’s fairytale land. In the real world – if someone wakes to find an intruder dressed as Santa Claus in their home? They’re going for the armaments first. Trust me.
If the U2 album would have been released as “To all new or existing phone users: You are entitled to download for free the blah, blah, blah as our way of saying Thank you for choosing us just click here, blah, blah, blah.” All of this would probably never have seen the light of day.
In this manner or form I think there would have been no fuss, and maybe even some great press. But, you learn as you go, and we are now still in learning territory. But (and it’s a very big but) there was a lesson to be learned here – and one that should be well remembered.
Personal devices such as phones and others are just that – personal. Just because you may believe you have an opaque understanding with your customers where you may have access or something similar, (as in there’s some line in a contract) you need to tread very, very, very (did I say very?) carefully.
People know instinctively if they did find you in their home or personal space for the reason of dealing with, or in answering to an emergency, there’s a fine line of accepted understanding. e.g., To find your landlord in your apartment because your hot water tank let go and was pouring water across the floor wouldn’t warrant you feeling violated or something other.
Yet, when it comes to interactions with customers where you can enter these now identifiable personal devices at any time: You would be best to view them as just that – personal. (that also goes for peripherals such as email, apps, social networks, et al)
To do anything less will only be seen as some violation of privacy – regardless of the good intentions that were trying to be displayed.
After all, just remember: A landlord has the written right in most tenant leases that they may enter that dwelling at any time. However, If they do it without the lessee’s knowledge or without a real good reason?
Consent in the paperwork goes out the window. As far as you’ll be seen going forward? You might turn a once happy tenant that viewed you in a pleasant light – to an angry customer that now just views you as some creepy landlord they need to get away from.
© 2014 Mark St.Cyr