To me, a self confessed old-fashioned content-creator turned aspiring-blogger, authoring regular posts is challenging, to say the least. It has little to do with the lack of desire or subjects to write about; rather, it is related to the fact that to me, a blog entry is a mini story, with an introduction, characters, and a well articulated point of view. Consequently, to put this product together, one requires the appropriate amount of time. Because time, unfortunately, is something I have in a very short supply, I often chose not to create the product for fear it would not meet my self-imposed quality guidelines.
Enter Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or Gowalla. Spice them up with mobile devices with built in cameras using GPS. And here you go: instant storytelling, update and opinion-making with a push of the button. Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so just checked in at Grand Buffoon, their favorite French restaurant. Check out the picture of the amazing Crème Brûlée, made with our brand new excellent smartphone of choice.
Three sentences, at least four opinions, instantly shared to 500 Facebook friends and an equal number of Twitter followers. In short, your entire social graph.
Arguably, each of the communication styles has its merits. Pushbutton updates and short blog entries allow higher frequency, in turn increasing virality – good and bad, as evidenced by the perils of several trigger-happy Tweeter users. They will likely be read and shared by a larger number of people, as the world is gradually learning to think in 140 characters or less. They will instantly reach younger folks, who use them as near-real time communication means. On the other hand, the short format does not allow for a thorough discussion of pros, cons, recommendations and consequences – something that the old fashioned story excels at and something I strongly believe is necessary when forming strong opinions or dishing out advice to your peer groups. Oh, and with the short format you can’t really get a chuckle out of the point of the story…
Why is it important? It is that reconciliation of old and new, on-line and off-line, that drives many communication decisions in the corporate world, especially with respect to consumer goods or services. What is the best way to tell your story? With a well researched piece like the New York Times or with an user-uploaded video a-la Youtube or TMZ? Will you target across geo-lines or age groups with a particular communication paradigm? When will certain phenomena catch up with people of any age, arguably like Facebook? Isn’t it better to wait? Or to adopt?
For me, it is my propensity to write a story, which requires a longer time, that is making me think of the best ways to communicate with our clients and friends. For CEOs and Marketing Directors, it is one of the key pieces of their corporate strategy they keep struggling with on the a daily basis. And in their quest they sometimes come to advisers like us to see how they could use technology to improve communication in the new connected world.
For now, I seem to have fulfilled the size limit for a longer story, so I can safely check out. For my next updates, please check my Facebook. I will pushbutton from Foursquare…