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I had the luxury, on Friday (December 3rd) to take part in TabLife TO“a half-day conference that explores how tablets are changing the way we live, work and play”. The program was jam packed with brilliant people sharing brilliant insight. And, if you came to read this for an update on the technology, that’s not quite the angle I’ll take… (At the bottom of the post, I’ll list a few blogs you can check out from my fellow audience members at #TabLife who are chatting about the tech itself.)

In particular, I’d like to share a couple quotes that to me, were hinting at redefining consumerism. Yes I used the “C” word. Before we go there, let me share these quotes (please note – quotes are paraphrased):

  • During the first panel of the day, over a debate about how tablets are (or are not) changing the world of media, Matt Hartley, award-winning Toronto-based journalist for the National Post says: “These (tablets) are still consumption products. Though some people will use them to create, the bulk of the market is consuming – video, blogs (and other) information – through their tablets.
  • In this same panel, when asked about the “death of the library”, Bob Stein, founder and co-director for the Future of Book says: “Well, I don’t want to talk about the death of the library – I love libraries. The library of the future will be more like a museum – a place where we archive these things that we love (books); and will also be a social place, where people can come together as communities around books and stories.”

There were definitely other brilliant thoughts but for me, these two stood out. What these made me reconsider is how we define consumerism.

With the recent economic woes, consumerism is often viewed as marketing’s “ugly duckling”. According to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, consumerism has 2 definitions:


The view is that Marketing focuses on definition #2, and not only feeds consumerism; it somehow creates it.

Based on all the social goodness oozing “out there”, I would suggest that creating consumerism – in the way it’s traditionally considered – would likely not be a good thing. Consumerism implies – truthfully or falsely – greed and over-consumption (think BP). Of course, the BP example is a dramatic one to make the point, but that is how we view this concept.

Now let’s return to my half-day conference at Rogers for TabLife TO… Matt Hartley and Bob Stein, among other fantastic speakers talked about how tablets (the subject du jour) were changing the media game. What really struck me was how the technology seemed to be changing the consumerism game. Particularly, WHAT we are consuming that seems to have changed. We are consuming information at breakneck speeds; and we are consuming as much social anything we possibly can!

And the thoughts get deeper… If we reflect on my previous post: What’s your Why?, then not only should WHAT we are consuming be important, but WHY we are consuming it should be critical. And, this is where marketing/marketers can carve a new path and reputation. If we can solidly tap into the WHY and provide the right elements for consumption, then we are likely ahead of the game.

So – let’s see. The bulk of the people reading this blog are likely from the wonderful world of marketing (as am I). I would love to know WHY you consume information, or anything – likely at breakneck speeds – online or on mobile or on tablet (essentially, in a way that is NOT tangible)?

Add your comments below too.

Looking forward to the results and writing the next post!


As promised, here is a list of blogs and articles presenting information from TabLife TO:

And, if you just must get more, do a Twitter search for #TabLife.