“Underneath it all, a master content strategist must be an advocate and a diplomat. We must advocate on behalf of the end users, the business users, the stakeholders, and the content vision itself. And we must use diplomacy to influence a wide range of people over whom we don’t have any actual authority.”—A List Apart: Articles: Tinker, Tailor, Content Strategist
“The development and evolution of motion graphics enables news organizations to communicate with some of the most cutting-edge and effective methods in digital media today. However, as always, the most important thing to consider about new tools is not the tool itself, but its effectiveness in helping tell stories in the best ways they can be told.”—Motion graphics: New weapons of visual journalism – The Society for News Design – SND
When I go on campus tours, I often marvel at all the facts that flow from the mouths of student tour guides—names, numbers, statistics, and obligatory tallies of the library’s books. The personal stories I hear from students are often more memorable than all of that data, however. In other words, a good story can help those facts go down easier.
Brainstorming can yield some great ideas. When we put our minds to it, we can come up with all sorts of things. But unlike playing in the playground, the sand castles we build in real life have to be things people can live in.
Sometimes in a frustrating situation, I find that it’s easy to…
“Can Twitter really be useful in academia? Tweet This SIG! will cover everything from Twitter basics to advanced uses in higher education. Participants will walk away with a deeper understanding of this powerful real-time communication tool along with a Twitter toolkit to help get them started on a new and exciting Twitter adventure.”—
The Instagram community re-enforced our existing notion that content is king. The photos we posted with a deeper meaning got more of a reaction. People often describe Instagram as a “photo version of Twitter” but it is much more. Not every photo is worth a thousand words, but the closer you can get to that thousand the more of a reaction you will get.
A study commissioned by Time Warner found that “digital natives” — people in their 20s — switched media venues 27 times a non-working hour (for example, switching from TV to phone while sitting on the couch.) That’s 13 times during a 30-minute TV show.
Thirty people participated in the study, and researchers monitored them for 300 hours. Participants wore eyeglass cameras and biometric belts. “What they are looking for is engaging content, and they dismiss so much stuff,” said Dan Albert, SVP at Chicago’s MARC USA agency, in an Ad Age article.
This post is part of “How We Will Read,” an interview series exploring the future of books from the perspectives of publishers, writers, and intellectuals. Read our kickoff post with Steven Johnson here. And check out our new homepage, a captivating new way to explore Findings.
Clay is one of the foremost minds studying the evolution of Internet culture. He is also a dedicated writer and reader, and it was natural that we would ask him to contribute to our series to hear what he could teach us about social reading. Clay is both brilliant and witty, able to weave in quotes from Robert Frost in one breath and drop a “ZOMG” in the next. So sit down and take notes: Professor Shirky’s about to speak.
How is publishing changing?
Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.
In ye olden times of 1997, it was difficult and expensive to make things public, and it was easy and cheap to keep things private. Privacy was the default setting. We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public. Now it doesn’t take professional skills. It doesn’t take any skills. It takes a Wordpress install.
The question isn’t what happens to publishing — the entire category has been evacuated. The question is, what are the parent professions needed around writing? Publishing isn’t one of them. Editing, we need, desperately. Fact-checking, we need. For some kinds of long-form texts, we need designers. Will we have a movie-studio kind of setup, where you have one class of cinematographers over here and another class of art directors over there, and you hire them and put them together for different projects, or is all of that stuff going to be bundled under one roof? We don’t know yet. But the publishing apparatus is gone. Even if people want a physical artifact — pipe the PDF to a printing machine. We’ve already seen it happen with newspapers and the printer. It is now, or soon, when more people will print the New York Times holding down the “print” button than buy a physical copy.
The original promise of the e-book was not a promise to the reader, it was a promise to the publisher: “We will design something that appears on a screen, but it will be as inconvenient as if it were a physical object.” This is the promise of the portable document format, where data goes to die, as well.
Institutions will try to preserve the problem for which they are the solution. Now publishers are in the business not of overcoming scarcity but of manufacturing demand. And that means that almost all innovation in creation, consumption, distribution and use of text is coming from outside the traditional publishing industry.
What is the future of reading? How can we make it more social?
One of the things that bugs me about the Kindle Fire is that for all that I didn’t like the original Kindle, one of its greatest features was that you couldn’t get your email on it. There was an old saying in the 1980s and 1990s that all applications expand to the point at which they can read email. An old geek text editor, eMacs, had added a capability to read email inside your text editor. Another sign of the end times, as if more were needed. In a way, this is happening with hardware. Everything that goes into your pocket expands until it can read email.
But a book is a “momentary stay against confusion.” This is something quoted approvingly by Nick Carr, the great scholar of digital confusion. The reading experience is so much more valuable now than it was ten years ago because it’s rarer. I remember, as a child, being bored. I grew up in a particularly boring place and so I was bored pretty frequently. But when the Internet came along it was like, “That’s it for being bored! Thank God! You’re awake at four in the morning? So are thousands of other people!”
“I think video on fundraising sites is expected and it seems almost standard to include clips about how a school uses private support for an exceptional student experience. Again, I’m told donors want highly produced, professional quality video. Is this because that’s what we always show them? Or, is there a scenario where a student-produced (think YouTube quality) video would be equally compelling for a campaign? Would it be more authentic? Do donors want authentic?”—Campaign Websites: I have some answers but I also have a lot of questions. « Susan Talbert Evans
Today’s This American Life led with a selection of Ten Commandments for unlikely and rather specific audiences. There were the Ten Commandments for Gold Miners (“thou shalt not pan out gold from another’s riffle box”), for umpires (unsurprisingly, “keep your eye on the ball”), and Paris…
“The purpose of the modern organization is to make it easy and natural and expected for people to take risks. To lean out of the boat. To be human. Alas, most organizations do the opposite.”—Seth’s Blog: Organized bravery
“The organization of tomorrow must forget about the future and focus on today because that’s when the future is happening. It’s now. Right here and now how adaptive are we? … The future is not about the large or small. It’s about the flexible and adaptive.”—From built-to-last to built-to-change
Digiday highlights USA Today’s approach to app development. USA Today is the only “big 3” publisher (WSJ, NY Times, USA Today) to not charge for content on any device, relying exclusively on advertising:
Newspapers are experimenting with different ways of distributing content on…