Not long ago, I had extrapolated ‘Digital Divide’ and said that it has been followed by ‘Search Divide’. If you haven’t read the opinion piece, here is the link on the Theory of Search Divide.

Just a quick brief on my Theory of Search Divide before we proceed:

Considering everybody has equal opportunity and access to digital and information technology, The Search Divide is defined as the GAP between people who know how to search & what to search and those that don’t.

story tellingCut to the present:
In the last two years a lot of things have happened which will render Search Divide ineffective and replace it with something I would like to call ‘Storytelling Divide.’ Storytelling Divide is the chasm of inefficiency that separates people who know how to present information (storytelling) and people who don’t know how to present information.

Unlike Search Divide, I expect ‘Story telling divide’ to be a long-term differentiation which will decide how big a success or how bad a failure one will be in their lives.

Before I elaborate more on “Storytelling Divide” let us look at a few developments in recent past –

– The Data that’s available in the World has been increasing at a tremendous pace. At any point in time, 90% of the data in the World is less than 2 years old. With so much data, we need to change the way we work with data – simple, linear keyword based search that we all were used to will NOT hold true any longer. To get best results from all this data, a lot more parameters will have to be used in the search query, not to mention relationships between two data points. We haven’t yet started talking about voice search (which will be the next big hit!) at all – which further means longer strings and better context for search. This means we need all the help we can get for our searches.

– Machines are learning from us – our phones, tablets and laptops are learning from us and the learning is only becoming faster and better with each passing day. This means, we all are/will be getting an individually tailored experience on these machines -which is great. Thanks to the cloud, all our behavior on all your devices is/will get collected in one location to provide the same “customized experience” in every gadget we use.

Thanks to both of the points mentioned above, the best situation is when based on your individual behavior; the machines provide you the most relevant data. For sometime both the behaviors will be prevalent – you going towards data by visiting (and other search engines) and data coming towards you. A mild manifestation of data coming to you is already happening. For example:

1) When cricket match involving my favorite cricket team starts, the Live scores push notification from the Cricinfo mobile app reaches me on my mobile

2) My Android phone can read my Gmail inbox, and if I have received or emailed air tickets…”Google Now” will show me weather details, destination details, my flight details etc again on my mobile

3) If I have shown an interest in a particular product, the said e-commerce company can push me ads about the exact same product for as long as it wants. They call it Ad re-targeting.

4) When it is time for me to leave my home for my office, Google Now gives me traffic updates and my expected time of arrival.

With data most relevant to us reaching us, our visits to and other search engines will come down…and ‘Search Divide’ will cease to exist.

When everybody has access to all available information, how you use this information will start deciding if you succeed or not. How you process this information in your mind, and convey it to people – the presentation layer (or the storytelling layer as I like to call it) you use will decide how well you do.

That’s why ladies & gentlemen, please hone your storytelling skills…you will soon need them to stay afloat, let alone flourish.