Revolutionary Measures

The internet – too much choice?

Bangor Pier, Bangor, North Wales

Bangor Pier, Bangor, North Wales (Photo credit: timdifford)

I’ve just been booking my Summer holiday and like most people nowadays turned to the internet to sort everything out. And some of it was fun – such as using my iPad and Google Maps to zoom in on unsuspecting French villages to check exactly how far a potential holiday home was from the beach and how close to major autoroutes. But after trawling through what felt like hundreds of properties on multiple websites to read reviews and get the best possible house at the best possible price I eventually wondered if it was really worth it.

Instead of spending extra hours surfing and comparing could I have just saved the time by walking into my local travel agent, giving some basic details and letting them do the rest? If it all went pear-shaped I had someone to blame (compared to which I’m on the hook if the villa of our dreams is next to a sewage works) and while I’d have paid over the odds I’d not have to experience some of the truly unhelpful travel/tourism sites that seem to litter the web.

I appreciate I’m coming over all Luddite here, but it made me think of a broader point. The internet has revolutionised our lives and made it as easy to book a weekend in Bangkok as one in Bangor but overall it hasn’t really saved us any time or removed stress. Think about car insurance – 15 years ago it was a question of going to a broker or renewing with your existing insurer. Now you can spend days tracking down the best deal and then playing off two companies against each other as you haggle to save an extra £5 or so.

Essentially we’re stuck in the middle – we want the benefits of the depth and scale the internet gives us, but even with search engines finding what you want is akin to locating a needle in the proverbial haystack. You’re more likely to find a cute kitten instead. What we actually need is a way of making the internet smart so it understands about us, learns what we like/dislike and uses this to run our lives – like an enormously powerful Amazon recommendation engine. Or alternatively I should find someone I can just outsource my holiday planning to……………

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May 8, 2012 - Posted by | Marketing, Social Media | , , , , , , , ,


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