Digital intoxication and digital detox: where is the gigabit society going?

Dirk Ziems

The gigabit society is shaped by data. But what does that do to us? Three questions put to the market researchers Thomas Ebenfeld and Dr. Klaus Schulte from concept m:

What is the gigabit society?

Ebenfeld: With regard to the use of data we come from a pioneer society – the internet is a young technology. A large part of today’s generation actively discovered the worlds of data, found their way around these, experimented with the innovations. They gradually grew into the digital environment. These people thus have a pronounced identity with values that developed outside the digital universe and virtual networking. The pure gigabit generation, on the other hand, has had a digital umbilical cord from childhood. The swipe-and-continue phone has almost become part of the body allowing smart access to the world. This certainly raises questions but we only know tendencies as answers.

Which questions?

Dr. Schulte: Living in the world of data shapes the character. Virtual identity is part of the self. Personal emotions are digitalised, experiences shared. At the same time this generation are media, brand and consumption professionals in digital intoxication. They are quick to make decisions and are faced with constantly alternating offers. Changes are their daily life. The basic principle of stability is lacking, however.

What are the consequences of this?

Ebenfeld: We are still operating in a realm of conjecture. Questions of identity, of reflection, how far we will and want to become entwined with data play a role. And there is already evidence of this: every trend has counter-trends. There is already a “back-to-analogue movement”, the “digital detox”.

But are there bridges between the two worlds?

Dr. Schulte: Sure, for example people get together on Sunday to watch the antiquated but trendy “Tatort”. On TV and on the second screen, via Twitter and co., it is the evening murder of all things that becomes the uniting experience. The culprit is identified and the intact world overcomes chaos at the end.

Ebenfeld: This gives us the principle of stability. But the complex example shows that the mechanism cannot be transferred at will.

The interview was held at the  VODAFONE Enterprise Plenums in October 2016.


More information on the topic can be obtained on request from: thomas.ebenfeld@test.local and klaus.schulte@test.local



Dirk Ziems
Dirk Ziems ist Experte für tiefenpsychologisches Marketing und berät auf Basis von Markt-, Medien- und Kulturforschung weltweit Unternehmen und Konzerne in zahlreichen Branchen und Ländern. Als Mitbegründer der Global Research Boutique Concept M und der Marketingberatung Flying Elephant begleitet er Themen wie die Adaption von Erfolgsprodukten in neuen kulturellen Kontexten, das tiefe Verständnis neuer Konsumgenerationen in China und USA, die Transformation der Werbekommunikation in der neuen digitalen Medienwelt oder die Neuorientierung der Brands in Post-Corona-Zeiten. Dirk Ziems ist auch als Gastdozent an verschiedenen Universitäten tätig.

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