How has human communication changed over time?

yeah, it used to be so easy. We talked quite normally: over a casual chat or a romantic get-together, in stimulating discussions or irrelevant debates. Then we started talking to people who greeted us from a digital parallel world.

In the meantime, online people are integrated into our offline communication as a matter of course. We put our heads together and chat with friends on displays. Or we chat with business partners on the other side of the world via video conference. Conversations became three-dimensional. Now it goes one step further. And this step is - epochal.

We are entering a new era of communication
A new communication time has dawned. We're talking bits and bytes that Siri or Cortana or Alexa be called. And as soon as they are a little trained, our digital assistants answer sensibly, politely and well. We have long had dialogues with robots as well. Digitized machines not only give us information, but also commands. We used to have a guilty conscience; today, self-tracking wristbands and apps do it.

Algorithms listen to us, they understand us, turn it into big data and then supply us with what they think we like. It's not just nice neighbors and bad-tempered bosses who talk to us; You can also talk to instructions for use, shop window displays and cars passing by.

Machines talk to cell phones - and sensors talk to everything that has sensors. A piece of tinplate explains to the next free machine tool, in person and as if by itself, what it should become. And while it is being processed in this way, it has a chat with other sheets.

What that means for communication work
The digital transformation, which is overwhelming us with an enormously high rate of change, gives communication a completely new face. It materializes in a global network of billions upon billions of intelligent devices, machines and objects that correspond with each other, with people and with their environment via sensors and apps.

But wherever technocrats operate, there is a risk that everything revolves around systems, processes and data as well as analyzing, monitoring and measuring. The humanity in the customer relationship often falls by the wayside. But in order to advance into the area of ​​enthusiasm, this is exactly what is needed.

Humanity expresses itself in emotionality, in usefulness and in sensuality. It shows the cold technology a cheerful face. It ensures reputation, identification, loyalty and willingness to recommend - and thus also for good new customers.

Because in the end, the real communicative successes take place beyond big data and algorithms. It is not analytics and mathematics, but human knowledge and empathy that lead to the goal, especially in digitalized times.

Communication: a quick look back
In the beginning, nature communicated through biochemistry. The courtship behavior of males and females willing to mate is an impressive example of this. Social grunts, i.e. the Hms, Ahs and Ohs, which are still ubiquitous today, accompanied the early humans. Long distances were covered in the savannah by smoke signals, in the mountains by the yodelling echo and in the jungle by stilt root drums.

Language is a late developer. It has only existed in all its glory for about 100,000 years. Since then, people have been telling stories around the campfire. These shaped and protected the culture of a tribe. Such cultural heritage was preserved for the future as pictures in caves, in burial chambers and on church walls.

From the perspective of the Internet, these millions of years can be described as Web 0.0, i.e. the time without the web. And then came Tim, Tim Berners-Lee. He developed around 1990 at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the CERN, which operates a huge particle accelerator near Geneva, among other things, laid the foundations for the World Wide Web. Since then, every computer has been able to network with every other computer. And the whole world can communicate with each other in real time.

Web 1.0 - the World Wide Web
The Web 1.0 belonged to the company. And it lived entirely in the tradition of classic corporate communication: »Me the provider, you buy! I am talking, you are listening! I decide how it goes, not you! ”The market was flooded with advertising, a monological form of communication. She was shrill, pushy, simple-minded and lying.

You were forced to use the sound, whether you wanted it or not. No sooner had you given your address to a provider than you received mailings from everywhere. Press departments diligently sent their hymns of praise out into the world to tinker with the image. And every complaint was an unpleasant disturbance in the established operational sequence.

Please buy what we came up with for you, was the narcissistic provider message, and then leave us alone! “I don't let my customers tell me how to run my shop,” an entrepreneur told me at the time. I was worried about him then. And they were justified.

Advertising that invades us without asking
The one-way messages went everywhere. "When the cake is talking, the crumb has a break" was a popular saying. But brand stalking, i.e. advertising that attacks us without asking, that ambushes and pursues us, is now definitely out. We are now immune to many advertising formats: We no longer look, we no longer listen. We switch off - or switch.

A lack of data security, consumer fraud and corporate scandals have destroyed the last of our trust. We no longer believe the flowery prose in glossy brochures, the siren singing of the squadrons of salespeople and the hype of radio gong advertising. We feel disturbed, we are bored and no longer allow ourselves to be fooled. Printing sales and continuous advertising rain are no longer welcome. Our valuable time is far too valuable for that.

Nonetheless, advertising planners still think they have to babble and shoot us in order for their advertising to land in our heads. What a crap! A lot doesn't always help a lot. What is badly done does not get better with more, but even worse. And a lot of the wrong things are sometimes devastating.

If only the providers would finally understand: Loud, stupid, conventional advertising, as we currently find it everywhere, will soon no longer exist - because nobody wants to see or hear it anymore. Of course we will continue to love advertising, but only those that show us that they love us. Communication means beguiling people, not disturbing them.

Web 2.0 - the social web
Web 2.0 postulates a new generation of the Internet based on the version numbers of software products. Since the beginning of 2000, social networks have enabled a broad exchange of opinions among users and an unhindered flow of information without the involvement of the company.

The whole thing has speed and is lively, complex, confused. New things are constantly being born out of such chaos. Creativity, openness, speed, collaboration and equality are the decisive parameters. All of human knowledge is available to everyone. Customers now have full price transparency and access to all information about the offers on the market.

Web 2.0 has heralded a revolutionary process of democratization. Power has shifted from businesses to customers. Significantly, the seemingly technocratic term Web 2.0 was pushed into the background quite quickly. Today we are talking about the social web.

Not only has it provided a new type of infrastructure, but it has also initiated a change in values ​​that extends far into the economy. The course is no longer top-down and inside-out, but outside-in and bottom-up. Today products are developed with the help of consumers and brands are managed with the help of customers. Together with the employees, they are the new management consultants.

The power of the sharing economy
In the past, feedback could only be obtained with the help of costly market research from selected test persons, but now the whole world can give instructive feedback. But many companies see the social web only as another communication channel that they can easily fill with messages.

The chance of interaction is wasted. Because social networks are not milking machines, but free heart rate monitors, dream catchers, reputation makers, bond catalysts, digital prospect enchants and customer enthusiasm optimizers par excellence. And they are a service tool.

Online networks also reinforce what is fed into them. And they intensify the personality of a company - for better or for worse. The transparency is now so great that unethical behavior is more expensive than ethical behavior in the long run. Even corpses that were buried very deep years ago are now being put on the public's dissection table. Nobody can get away with fog machines and whitewashing these days.

The philosophy of liking and sharing, which is common practice in the social web, has not only made new business models possible, but has also significantly changed the understanding of internal communicative cooperation. The younger generation in particular has long understood how poor you stay when you keep knowledge to yourself, and how rich you get when you share it.

Web 3.0 - the mobile web
In 2004 when Nokia dominated the global mobile phone market with a share of almost 40 percent, the then CEO Jorma Ollila made a serious mistake: "There is no market for mobile Internet via cell phone," he announced at a press conference.

And when Steve Jobs 2007 his sales target for the brand new iPhone announced, said a NokiaManager sure of victory: "Ten million cell phones are nothing, we'll sell them in two weeks." At the beginning of 2014, the miserable rest of the Nokia-Mobile communications division Microsoft sold and then pulped.

The beginning of the Web 3.0 era was heralded with an aesthetically pleasing housing, a display that you can caress, mobile access to the web and an associated app store. This invention, which links markets and people into an ecosystem, can be seen as a pioneer of the disruptive movement.

For the time being, the smartphone will act as the control center of our digital life. We currently pick it up an average of 214 times a day for a total of 90 minutes - usually within 15 minutes of getting up for the first time. But looking around and not forgetting can be quite annoying. And having to constantly recharge is tedious. Ten years from now, we're sure to find it pretty silly walking around with a phone to our ear.

The dematerialization of objects is advancing
Initially, the smartphone caused a dematerialization: records, books, photos, tickets, keys, money, alarm clocks, notepads, business cards, identification papers and much more are in them. It has become the umbilical cord between online and offline. We carry around half our lives in it.

As a bouncer, it can warn us on its own: against unfair or overpriced offers, against market participants we don't like, against food that we cannot tolerate, against human abuse and the destruction of the environment. It can save lives in emergency situations. Above all, it makes everyday life easier for us - professionally as well as privately.

From the depths of the virtual space, our mobile comrade fetches additional digital information in real time on the waiting display. While you wander through the area, he receives information about restaurants whose cuisine you like, reports to friends in the area and tells you about the sights around.

As if by magic, our smart companion reveals where you can find your favorite brand at a special price or a voucher to download to lure us off the street and into a shop. And while our gaze wanders over the displays there, our digital helper is already checking the reputation of the retailer, the ecological attitude of the providers and the prices in comparison.

"Mobile first" is becoming unavoidable
Mobile information from the web is increasingly becoming the basis for purchasing, usage and life decisions. From the supplier's point of view, completely new marketing concepts can be developed through localization, personalization and real-time. And so the former mass communication is now a 1: 1 communication (one to one).

There are no longer any steerable masses if you can call up the information you need at any time and from anywhere. With electronic help, everyone now receives their own newspaper, their own television program and an individual hit list when they query search engines. And from now on he will also get his very own personal view when he goes to a website.

I saw how far that is today on my last birthday. There was a on my computer Google doodle (the graphic above the search box) with candles and cake, and when I hovered over it said that Doodle: Happy birthday, Anne. Even though I know, of course, that algorithms talk to me because Google picks up my data: I liked it.

Web 4.0 - the Internet of Things
Step by step, the Internet is conquering all places and devices in everyday life. Sensors that wirelessly monitor, monitor and control machines, products and objects are now spreading rapidly. In the Web 4.0, every object becomes a sender and receiver at the same time. Everything is networked with everything (everything to everything).

While Web 2.0 connected people with one another, while Web 3.0 focused on mobility and digitally-based purchasing processes, Web 4.0 is about the digitalization of all areas of the company: development, production, logistics, workplaces, sales concepts, customer service, service processes. Everything will be smart and connected in the future, i.e. intelligently linked with one another.

Would you like an example? In a smart restaurant it will soon be like this: Table to smartphone: »I expect you, as ordered, at 7 p.m., everything okay? Ah yes, I see you've already made your way. «Smartphone at table:» Yes, take the side street this time, there is a traffic jam on the main street. I'll be ten minutes late. "Car at traffic light:" Please switch to green for me. "

A little later, table at the smartphone: “I see you'll be here in two minutes. Wheat beer, as always? I'll let the tap know. By the way, you already have 0.2 per mille in your blood. I also recommend a mixed salad. Your vitamin levels are pretty much in the basement. «Smartphone at the table:» Thank you, very caring, as always. «Table at the car:» Take parking lot three, it's reserved for you. «Wheat beer tap at Ober Giovanni and door:» I would be then so far. «Hologram in the door:» How nice that you are here, Ms. Schüller, welcome back. Giovanni, your favorite table and a wheat beer are already waiting for you. Enjoy the evening with us. "

Man and machine will merge
Every stage of the evolution of web use has changed consumer behavior significantly. The driver of change is the respective technology. It will enable forms of communication that still sound like science fiction today. So at some point in the not distant future people will merge with machines and brains with computers.

Even if that sounds creepy today, enough people will hardly be able to wait to try out every technological advance. The positive experiences of such early adopters then result in new demands on all players in the market. We have been expanding what is humanly possible since we humans have existed. Self-optimization means the benefit, the advantage is the goal.

In addition to climbing ever higher technological levels, the digital transformation should also strive for ever higher ethical levels. Trust is perhaps the most important value here. Above all, if you want customer data, you have to trust that customer. In the future, those providers will be in the lead who can prove that they protect the personal data of their customers in a credible manner.

Transparency and sovereignty over your own data are important points. To do this, you should be able to view, change and delete your data easily and at any time. A recent one Forsa-Survey on behalf of Silverpop has shown: 71 percent of those questioned would like to have both knowledge and change access to their personal data record. But only 10 percent of companies grant this to their customers.