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Paul, great post.

Someone asked me the other day about technology's ability to change behavior, and I can never think of a better example than the credit card. It has radically changed our notions of what money is and how it is to be spent/saved/abstracted. Turns out that if you take away the plastic, people actually eat healthier, too. Consumption becomes conscious again.

I know the recession just ended, but this feels like the 1920's to me. Or the Great Gatsby, since I didn't actually exist in 1920. It feels like we're wearing the affectations of who we want to be, the world we want to live in, and while we do so, this rising tend of reality is coming to slap us in the face. The next 100 years will no doubt be a tumultuous time in America, if not abroad, and we do not seem to be gearing up for it.

Excellent post. Worth multiple reads. There was a book published a few years ago (by O'Reilly, somewhat ironically) that might be of interest to those who want to explore these concepts: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596526801/

Thanks, Bud. Agree that we're in for some interesting times as we continue to learn to adjust to the new pace of the world and all that this brings.

Andy, thank you. And thanks for sharing the link to the book. Going to check that one out for sure.

Paul, this really resonated with me. I've made a concerted effort to remove myself from social environments like Facebook and Twitter to try to get back to the real part of my life like my family and being "present" in my own life. And it has had a very tangible and meaningful impact.

To further the credit card insight, I've done some work with a major credit card client and their research shows that people spend more when the pay using the "tap" credit card readers. Upon hearing this I realized how much I love the ease of taping to pay and how the speed of it makes me feel like the interaction was literally less real. There is just something so satisfying in life to just "push the button" and move on. But it can be equally satisfying to put in some serious sweat and tears to get something done.

I agree with you. Step forward to start making things more real we have to start having Self awareness.

Firstly, what an outstanding presentation by Jenka, so thank you for introducing me to that.

Secondly, I'm not sure that technology detaching humanity from reality is a new idea, but the context you put it in, that of storytelling and our over-indulgence in narratives, is fascinating.

There's a book by Donald Miller http://www.amazon.co.uk/Million-Miles-Thousand-Years-Learned/dp/0785213066 which explores this idea and suggests that if we want a more interesting life, we should create a better story! Personally I'm not sure that crafting a narrative out of our lives is ultimately ever going to work, not least because the aspect and perspective of the 'narrator' (i.e. you/other people) tends to change with the wind.

But for brands, knowing the deep level at which people engage with narratives is essential.

Thanks for the comments, Michael and Jim.

Marie - Thank you as well. I have read Miller's book a few times... I think you noted my presentation at Planning-ness in a post on your blog? No matter...

Not sure if you've read Miller's book, but his point is not that we're crafting a narrative out of our lives in the traditional sense of writing a story but that if we look at life as a series of stories that support a bigger purpose for our lives (a bigger story), then we may open the door to living a better life.

His point is based on the idea that we're all playing a role in a master story (where God is the author from the beginning of time) and that if we want to have a life that inspires others to tell stories about us within that story, then we need to do things that are worth talking about.

He also says that the people who have the grandest stories are the people who do completely selfless things in the face of insurmountable odds, even when that means creating more difficult situations for themselves.

Anyway... I enjoyed your post on "story planning." Glad to find another person interested in the role of story in what we do.

Ah - indeed, you introduced me to Miller's book - I bought it promptly after reading your presentation and getting inspired. Apologies for the oversight; I am so engaged with storytelling and reading so much on the theme right now that I am beginning to lose track of my sources...

I understand the master story idea, and I think that whether or not you engage with it in a religious context it is still a useful grounding device. I'm introducing some planning tools to my current agency based on the idea of an underlying brand narrative that supports multiple, multi-faceted stories (i.e. individual campaigns, social objects, or simply conversations). The underlying purpose you mention on my blog is a crucial part of this but I think it's also about having an overarching structure, or 'rules of engagement' that define the operating world (or 'setting') that promote 'suspension of disbelief' and entry into the brand universe.

I will eagerly await your additions to the body of thinking on storytelling. It's such a rich and vital area for brands, and for people.

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