A New Account of Personalization and Effective Communication
65 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2001
Date Written: September 16, 2001
The effects of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the information economy and society is an issue that is attracting increasing attention. Marketing and brand management scholarship is exploring the implications of ICTs for brand proliferation and product differentiation. Communications researchers are considering the future of mass media in cyberspace, the effects on democracy and regulation of new Internet peer-to-peer computer software, and the appropriate code for regulating speech across different media. Macroeconomists are struggling to adjust national accounts to adequately recognize the price and output effects of ICTs and to understand new trends in total factor productivity measurements. In addition, studies of economic growth in pre-industrial Europe are starting to emphasize the economic history of trading costs, transaction costs, and market integration, all factors related to information and communications.
To better understand such questions concerning the effects of information and communication technology on daily life, this paper explores over the past millennium given names of a large number of persons. Analysts have long both condemned and praised mass media as a source of common culture, national unity, or shared symbols. Given names, however, indicate a large decline in shared symbolic experience over the past two centuries, a decline that the growth of mass media does not appear to have affected significantly. Study of first names also shows that action and personal relationships, along with time horizon, are central aspects of effective communication across a large population. The observed name brand differentiation and preference for personalization over the past two centuries and the importance of personal activity and personal relationships to effective communication are aspects of the information society that are likely to have continuing significance for industry and social development, economic statistics, and public policy.
Keywords: names, given names, first names, national accounts, information economy, information society, symbols, culture, shared, common, information, information technology, communication, communications, technology, technologies, economic growth, economic history, economic development, media, mass media, productivity, personalization
JEL Classification: D80, L15, L50, L82, L96, M3, N1, O1, O3, O4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation