When technology and tradition diverge
What be the effect on voting patterns if we used digital technology to announce the current vote tally every hour (or every hundred votes).
People would see the direction an election was going and be more likely to be pulled in. Voter attention and ultimately voter involvement would go up, and fraud would be more difficult. [I'm well aware this is a fairly lame variation, there's actually a million interesting alternatives, I just picked a simple one.]
So why don't we do it?
When the secret ballot was introduced, it just wasn't possible to count the votes in less than a few days. So a tradition was established, driven by the technology, not because it was the best way. Now, of course, the technology doesn't need that tradition any longer, but it's still here.
One by one, traditions that supported technology are falling as the technology changes. The simple thank you note, for example, is a long tradition based on the technology of couriers and then the postal service. Of course it arrives three days later, because that's how long it takes. At first, the email thank you note seems too impersonal, too easy, too digital. Then, we begin to appreciate the speed and it become ubiquitous and then expected.
There are huge opportunities for marketers seeking to upend traditions that have outlived their usefulness. Just don't expect it to happen overnight.