Understanding the Digital Revolution Through Love in the Digital Age


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In the recent years, we've gone through a steep learning curve on how technology and digital has changed the way people behave, and in turn, we've gone through a steep learning curve on how to innovate to implement digital into the type of work we've always done.

But what's the one, single way that we should really view digital? I explored how love has changed in the digital age by examining the culture of Tinder, the rising popularity of the couple app Between in South Korea, and Spike Jonze's 2013 film 'Her' to find out.

Published in: Technology, Marketing, Travel

Understanding the Digital Revolution Through Love in the Digital Age

  1. WHAT IS LOVE? Understanding the digital revolution through love in the digital age. Photo credit: Her (2013)
  2. We wanted the offline person to translate into the mobile person. - Lako Cho, Co-Founder, Between 2
  3. 3
  4. In today’s world, digital is everything... 4Photo credit: Rey Vladyc Mangouta
  5. +47% In global mobile advertising from 2012 to 2013 ($12.76 B). +16% In global Internet ad- vertising from 2012 to 2013 ($116 B). 5Source: Internet Trends 2014, Mary Meeker Photo credit: Gabe Ramos +58% In mobile app + ad spending from 2012 to 2013 ($38 B) From Spending
  6. 5.2B Mobile phone users worldwide. 1.6B Smartphone users worldwide. 429MM Tablet users worldwide. +47% In global mobile advertising from 2012 to 2013 ($12.76 B). +16% In global Internet ad- vertising from 2012 to 2013 ($116 B). 6Source: Internet Trends 2014, Mary Meeker Photo credit: Gabe Ramos +58% In mobile app + ad spending from 2012 to 2013 ($38 B) To ConsumptionFrom Spending
  7. 25% Mobile usage as per- centage of total web usage. 50B WhatsApp messages sent per day. 5.2B Mobile phone users worldwide. 1.6B Smartphone users worldwide. 6MM Guest stays through Airbnb, and 550K list- ings (+83% Y/Y) 429MM Tablet users worldwide. +47% In global mobile advertising from 2012 to 2013 ($12.76 B). +16% In global Internet ad- vertising from 2012 to 2013 ($116 B). 7Source: Internet Trends 2014, Mary Meeker Photo credit: Gabe Ramos +58% In mobile app + ad spending from 2012 to 2013 ($38 B) To Consumption To UtilityFrom Spending
  8. But what does digital really mean? 8Photo credit: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
  9. The best way to see it is through love. 9Photo credit: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
  10. Because love isn’t what it used to be. 10Photo credit: Say Anything (1989)
  11. Mostly because of technology (and cat pictures). Photo credit: Cheglakov Eugene 11
  12. So here are three cultural trends that help explain digital (not cats, though). Photo credit: Fernando Kohan 12
  13. COURTSHIP RE-DEFINED1/ Photo credit: Jichul Kim 13
  14. A flatter, but not-so-dif- ferent dating world Tinder has now become one of the most popular ways to meet new people. Its ma- jor difference to dating in the past is the effortless volume of options and interac- tions, but its true resonance is how similar it mirrors our behaviour in the physical world: we unconsciously deter- mine attraction instantly on appearances. 14 Tinder is a dating app that allows users to ei- ther swipe profiles of nearby singles left (not interested) or right (inter- ested). If both users swipe each other’s profile right, they’re then connected and are able to message each other. 800 MM Swipes per day (Internet Trends 2014) An evening in NYC on Tinder... 620,000 Swipes 19,000 Matches 60,000 Messages Sent (New York Times) 11 MM Matches per day (Internet Trends 2014)
  15. The New ‘Non-Date’ It’s hard to determine what’s a ‘date’ anymore and if you’ve actu- ally just been on one. Asynchronous communication over phone texts, Instagram posts, and other ‘non-dates’ have cumu- latively replaced how we devel- oped relationships in many ways through dating a decade ago. 15
  16. Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one re- quiring the code-break- ing skills of a cold war spy to interpret. “The End of Courtship?” The New York Times, January 11, 2013 16 Embrace all of the men in your orbit, whether they text or G-chat, whether they’re hunky or grun- gy... and in the midst of this confusing, messy muddle, the young wom- en argued, romance can (sometimes) bloom. “Seeking Love? Find Strength in Numbers” The New York Times, October 24, 2012 “Tinder’s Sean Rad Hints At A Future Beyond Dating,” TechCrunch, Oc- tober 29, 2013 ..the basic mechanism, where two people are only connected when they both express interest in each other, is “a universal thing across friendships, across business, across any- thing.”
  17. TECH AND COUPLE CULTURE IN SEOUL 2/ Photo credit: Kimhwan
  18. A Laboratory for Digital Love Known for its technological advancements over the rest of the world and its unique couple culture, South Korea serves as the perfect microscopic lens to analyze where love in the digi- tal age is headed. 18Photo credit: Jared Lim
  19. 19 Photo credit: CNN Technology in South Korea at a Glance 4G LTE Subway Network Along with subway trains arriving every 90 seconds, transit riders usually watch live televi- sion (through DMB) on their phones or message using KakaoTalk. (New Yorker) Virtual Supermarkets At certain subway sta- tions and bus stops, virtual grocery stores are setup where commuters can scan grocery items and have them delivered to their home. 5.2 Billion Kakao- Talk Messages Sent Per Day And 93% of smartphone users in South Korea use KakaoTalk, the popular messaging app (TechTimes). 73% of the Population Are Smartphone Users The second highest smart- phone penetration in the world, only falling behind to United Arab Emirate with 73.8%. (The Independent) 98% of Households Have Broadband Compared to U.S.’s 68%. (New Yorker) Photo credit: kimhwan
  20. South Korea’s Couple Culture at a Glance 20Photo credit: www.couplemotion.com Diary Day (Jan.), Valen- tine’s Day (Feb.), White Day (Mar.), Black Day (Apr), Rose Day (May), Kiss Day (June), Silver Day (July), Green Day (Aug.), Photo and Music Day (Sept.), Apple Day (Oct.), Movie and Orange Day (Nov.), Hug Day (Dec.) The 14th of Each Month... The 14th of every month represents a couple’s holiday. The Couple Ring After 100 days of dat- ing, couples typically buy “couple rings” to publicly display their relationship. However, married couples typically do not wear their rings after marriage. Couple’s Outfits While PDA isn’t very popular amongst couples, letting everyone know that you’re a couple is. Matching outfits from head to toe can often be found in public. Celebrating Every 100 Days Where as North Americans typically celebrate one-year (and two-year, three year, etc.) anniversaries, couples in South Korea celebrate every 100 days. In fact, keeping track of the number of days since the first date is a com- mon practice (“D-Day”).
  21. Between: The New Couple Ring Between, which is now used by more than half of twentysomethings in South Korea, aims to provide the fundamentals of a ful- filled relationship by tackling memory and communication, and the combination of technology and couple culture of South Ko- rea has allowed Between to reach its poten- tial by becoming an integral and intimate element of relationships. 21 Between is an app that provides couples “a beautiful space where you can share all your moments only with the one that matters.” 7.45 MM Downloads at the end of May 2014 (Venture- Beat) 510 Mins. Spent on the app per month on average. (TechCrunch) 1 in 5 Couples in South Korea uses Between. (TechCrunch)
  22. 22 Do you want to Between? The use of Between in South Korea has shown that the app has embedded ideals such as trans- parency, trust, and monogamy through its plat- form. In many cases, the common expression of “do you want to be my girlfriend?” is now replaced with, “Do you want to be my Between?” “In April, while the K-pop super- group Girls’ Generation was con- ducting a backstage interview for a television show, the phone of one of the group’s members, Hyoyeon, emitted a telltale bloop - the sound that notifies a Between user that she has received a message from her beloved. Gossip sites lit up with the news: ‘Hyoyeon confirms that she has a boyfriend on TV broadcast!’” (“The Love App”, The New Yorker, 2013)
  23. There’s a paradox implicit in products like Between – technologies intended to help people regain what they’re losing because of technology. “The Love App,” The New Yorker, November 25, 2013 74%“Couples, the Internet, and Social Media,” Pew Research, February 11, 2014 of adult internet users say the internet has had a positive impact on their relationship. 23 Date nights are great, but relationship experts say it’s the little acts of kindness that matter more... An app could make gestures like those a little bit easier. “Why Don’t We Have a Monogamy App?” The Cut, February 14, 2014
  25. What did a technology film about love tell us? What we learned more than anything from ‘Her’ was about ourselves as humans and how our personal re- lationships grow, all through a por- trayed relationship between Theodore Twombly, the main character, and Samantha, the operating system. 25 “A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his ev- ery need.” (IMDB)
  26. Satisfaction Through Technology As the relationship between Theo- dore Twombly and Samantha pro- gressed, we clearly saw the emo- tions that Theodore developed were real, which raises the question: How significant can interactions through technology replace certain constitu- ents for love? 26Photo credit: Her (2013)
  27. Are We Already There? Although we won’t be finding A.I. op- erating systems on store shelves any- time soon, what ‘Her’ showed us is that a large portion of our needs in love can be satisfied with interactions through technology, and to some ex- tent, we’ve began to already see this through the increasingly popular demand of couple apps and the ways it has significantly helped with long distance relationships or couples with busy professional lives in a way that has never existed in the past. 27 You & Me AvocadoCouple Between
  28. [Technology] may mod- ify the way we go about meeting our basic hu- man needs, but they don’t change our fundamental human needs. “Love in the Modern Age,” The Creator’s Project, January 17, 2014 28 I think that [Aaron Schildkrout, co-founder of ‘You & Me’] is right. I’ve had some of my most emotionally intimate and hon- est conversations with friends and romantic partners on mo- bile devices. And while virtual chats and hugs will never be the same as their real-world coun- terparts, they can come awfully close in a pinch. “I Had a Nice Time With You Tonight. On the App,” The New York Times, April 5, 2014 Any sort of love is what connects people to feel like they exist. Charlyne Yi, Musician/Writ- er/Comedian
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  30. 3030 Now with cultural observations from Tinder, Between, and ‘Her’ in mind, what’s the one takeaway about digital?
  31. The conversation should no longer be about ‘traditional’ and ‘digital.’ 31Photo credit: Andreas Paehge
  32. Because digital has woven into our everyday lives. 32Photo credit: Martin Pokorny
  33. 3333 Instead, we should think about how we can create for people who live in a world where both physical and digital exist on the same plane to satisfy our human needs.
  34. 34Photo credit: Jaroslaw Frycz
  35. 35 By Trung Ho @trungho on Twitter or trungho32@gmail.com Inspired by Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ and Lauren Collins’s ‘The Love App’ Resources The Creator’s Project The Cut eatyourkimchi.com ‘Her’ (2013) Internet Trends 2014 (Mary Meeker) TechCrunch The New Yorker The New York Times