Two weeks ago I graduated from Boston University. Actually I graduated almost 6 months ago and have been working here since January. Regardless, two weeks ago I put on the cap and gown and sat on a hot field sweating along with a couple thousand of my closest friends.
I have not been paying much attention to the BU community since finishing school back in December, so imagine my surprise when I found out the commencement speaker was Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. His commencement address touched on many topics but what was especially interesting was the humanness of this technology focused speech. After touting the greatness of our modern lives and the technology that goes with it, Schmidt reminded us of the undeniable truth that “technology is just a tool.” It may be important and powerful, but it is still only a tool.
As Schmidt put it, “computers don’t have a heart,” but humans do. We have both a great advantage and a great responsibility (hey, isn’t that from Spiderman?) to use this technology ethically, efficiently, and honestly.
This has large scale implications of course, but on a digital marketing level this message is perfectly in line with what Overdrive preaches and practices every day. In the SEO department we optimize sites to improve rankings while providing the easiest and most accurate user experience possible. In SEM we target our ads to appear at the exact moment that a consumer looking for them. In online media we plan our campaigns to run engaging creative in places relevant to the consumer. In social media we bring users relevant content and engage them in sincere discussion. We represent our clients ethically, efficiently, and honestly.
Schmidt also touched on innovation because, after all, it takes innovation to harness technology and use it according to the standards he laid out earlier in his speech. As we all know Google is in the business of innovation. And as a company, so are we. We are constantly looking to evolve and adapt to serve and represent our clients and their customers in the best way possible.
There was a lot of wisdom packed into Schmidt’s 20 or so minute speech, but I will close with one of my favorite parts: “Life is not lived in the glow of a monitor.” He then encouraged us all to turn of our devices for an hour a day and just live. His point was comically punctuated by live video streamed onto the big screens set up around the field of dozens of graduates sitting before him texting, Facebooking, and even talking on their mobile devices. And if the Chairman of Google says it is okay to unplug, then it is okay. Probably. I think….