It is increasingly rare these days to encounter a car with a manual transmission and many young drivers barely know what it is, let alone are able to drive them. Some of the advantages of driving with a stick shift, such as the increased attentiveness and the sense of being one with the car, and are forgotten or ignored as the convenience factor of automatic transmissions wins more and more people over. There are those who still resist, though, those who swear by the superiority of manual stick shifting.
One twist to this dilemma was introduced last week when I met a parent here in Orange County who said that their kid’s first car will get a manual transmission. Why? Well, then they would at least know that their kid would be so overwhelmed by getting the gear into the right gear, which means that they wouldn’t be sending text messages!
Anyway, over in the sports car segment, customers want a stick shift to allow for more control of the vehicle. Obviously, a Lamborghini driver is not going to settle for an automatic, right? Or? Like I often mention to my students, nothing is obvious in business, especially not ever since Taco Bell launched in Mexico. And, lo and behold, Lamborghini indeed did shock the world in 2011 when they announced that they were dropping manual transmission. One reason for this move was that most orders were already for automatic transmissions! Another that drivers are not as good as advanced automatic transmissions in determining when to shift gear. Little did I know.
Sometimes I wonder if social media is undergoing, or is about to undergo, a similar transformation away from manual to automatic. Could it be that soon there will be people who barely know how to work inside the respective networks at the same time as they are becoming masters of tools that manage multiple social media accounts? If so, will something be lost in the process? Or, is it like the Lamborghini example above, a customer, even an enthusiastic one, is not as good at shifting gears as an automatic gearbox. That is, are the tools getting smarter than us and learning not just how to post content on social media networks, but also when the best time for posting comes around.