The Internet causes us to lose our contemplative thinking skills if we don’t unplug occasionally.
What does Amy Winehouse have to do with the Norway terror besides sad timing?
Authenticity. Extreme authenticity.
Sad, yes. Unrelated no. The Norway massacre is infinitely sadder and more tragic that the death of an over-privileged singer, but they are two sides of the same misunderstood coin.
Both people responsible for the tragedies were motivated–indeed obsessed– with authenticity.
For Winehouse it couldn’t be simpler than the confusion that one associates with a God-given gift: Why me? Am I a freak? How do I deserve it? Is It real? How can I test it? Sadly, drugs provided the insight at predatory pricing.
For Mass murderer Anders Breivik it is the his sense of an inauthentic Europe.
Authenticity gives things value, Value can be perverted into a proxy for meaning, and meaning matters. We are all–each of us– seeking meaning. But when acting as a proxy, authenticity becomes an illusory shortcut to meaning.
It is always dangerous and often deadly when authenticity becomes the end itself.
You can read the rants of Breivik and understand immediately that he is off the deep-end. It just happens to be the same deep-end that Amy Winehouse jumped into, confused by the meaning of her talent, I think Amy’s obsession with authenticity is identical to Brevik’s. She expressed it in a lifestyle driven slow suicide. He expressed his obsession with unimaginable horror.
Authenticity is at the root of radical Islam too. That’s why the papers got the Oslo tragedy so wrong in the beginning. In the West we immediately associate death for authenticity most with radical Islamists, even though that is a prejudice that doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny.
Like Charles Manson, Breivik thought his insanity would spark a revolution. My suspicion is that he surrendered so that he could further work to express is mad interpretations of his faith and political ideals. We’ll also likely learn that he left the Norwegian right-wing Progress Party, because he felt it wasn’t authentic enough–not true enough to its principals.
On a twitter page associated with Breivik the following quote was found:
“One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”
The irony, too, is tragic: The quote is paraphrase of John Stuart Mill the 19th Century utilitarian Libertarian. Strange bedfellows indeed.
John Lennon died from the gunshot of an insane person obsessed with authenticity: Mark David Chapman. Chapman had just finished “Catcher In The Rye” whose protagonist is driven insane trying to reconcile the authenticity of the inner life with the utility of social compromise.
Interestingly even the recent banal budget entanglements are stalled by the same problem. Signed pledges to ideology, purity tests, and blind allegiances lock negotiations and keep our political representatives from finding utilitarian solutions to very real problems.
I sometimes get criticized for connecting trivial entertainment news with serious tragic historic events but they help us understand the simple conflicts that drive power and attention. We seek meaning and reliability, continuity and trust.
Attributes so rare they can lead to obsession and tragedy.
That Nirvana killed hairbands dead. For awhile anyway.
Nevermind was released on September 24th 1991. Yes. You are that old.
Many in their 20’s believe Nirvana to be quite uncool. For good reason. They are in their 20’s. Anything cool when you were born, isn’t all that cool. Don’t worry it will come back around. Kurt was awesome.
So is this video.
Here we are now. Entertain us.
is bad news for old editors. The kids, however, will love it.
1. Facebook’s Temporary Web Dominance
This is the Big Trend next year as the new-new Facebook rolls out. The Olds will protest, while the kids couldn’t care less. In the middle though, a notable number of regular people will love having all their communication content in one place. This will create an enormous opportunity for marketers and hackers alike. More than half of whom will completely screw it up. That’s OK. We all learn from our mistakes. You can avoid a few by working extra hard to narrow your focus and segment your audience so that you don’t get stuck in the bottom bin. Relevancy and immediacy are your best shots at earning attention on Facebook.
Facebook will not meet disruptive competition in 2011. Ubiquity is not going to serve them in the long run, however.
2. Communication Fatigue
Facebook, Twitter, and all the other new ways of receiving communications has driven many to overload. Last year I mentioned going off-the-grid as a major trend, and it continues in earnest during 2011. We see it manifesting in a number of other trends that are worth paying attention to.
Much like our indifference to other drivers when we are wrapped in gleaming steel and chrome, our digital indifference to “the other” grows. This seems ironic in light of our own growing number of machine-mediated personal contacts and social-graph. On-line bullying will continue to shock us in 2011 as more and more people distance themselves from each other with technology. This creates a specific problem for customer service managers as human-to-human contact becomes potentially more confrontational. This is important to marketers as social customer services (SCRM) becomes more integral to the marketing process.
Location Services were all the rage in 2010, but now as the mobile device gets more sophisticated, location services will go into the background. Despite their best efforts, Foursquare and Gowalla and their kin will slow their uptake. Location services will work in the background as more people check in with out “checking-in”. The key to success with check-in services is meaningful reward. Until that arrives in the form of more sophisticated couponing, there is too much risk in announcing yourself.
2. A Social Media Dip ?
The global uptake of social media will continue to mask the real story in 2011.
Managing information flows and trying to teach machines what is and isn’t relevant really is fatiguing. Maintaining attention is getting tougher. The loss of efficiency is enormous but just as attention wanes from friends, it gets more and more commercialized. Social media becomes a highly effective collaborative tool (with it’s own social codes and cues) inside the enterprise as collaborative software hits mainstream adoption this year. Yes. If you want to make someone hate what they love, pay them to do it. In 2011, social media grows up and becomes work – just like in real life.
We watched this trend closely last year and see it only heating up further. In 2011 enterprise communication tools get simpler to use, more focused in their application, and more easily integrated into Business Intelligence reporting.
3. IPTV and On-Demand Programming
If you have kids, you already see this trend emerging. For those who don’t run a cable company’s head-end– or have kids– the impact of NetFlix has yet to be felt. It is very real though– even if you don’t watch TV on a PC, iPad, or other device. Heavy users of IPTV are hogging your bandwidth, ISP’s claim, and scaring the crap out of everyone in the content business. Now, there is real competition for the set top box. If you have fallen in love with all-you-can-watch programming for 7 dollars a month (plus broadband) be prepared to be frustrated as the war for on-demand TV programming heats up to uncomfortable levels for everyone.
In my eyes the most important story for 2011– that came in 2010 –was the peering dispute between Level 3 and Comcast and its implications for net neutrality. When you couple that debate with FCC and FTC approval of the Comcast’s merger with Universal, it’s clear that consumer content and marketing communication strategies must adapt in 2011. Key to adaption is finding programs that integrate content and brand. With attention at an all time premium, segregating content from advertising is more risky than ever.
4. Improved Legacy Media Advertising Revenue
The economy is turning around and advertising revenue is a great indicator that the world is not ending. While election and issue advertising over-stated revenue growth in the 3rd quarter, year-over-year things should look much better. The Recession is over and inflation is just around the corner. Meanwhile for many re-emerging businesses, investment in marketing communications will look smart again. With all the digital distractions, simple advertising will feel right– even with unmeasurable results. Still it will be hard to find an ad that isn’t somehow tied back to a digital element. That is where the value will be claimed.
5. Crowd sourced programming for radio
Jelli and Listener Driven Radio are only the beginning of this trend. Technology gives radio stations new abilities to turn programming over to the listeners in a way that makes the once-derogatory term “jukebox” an antique. These services- and those that follow- are destined to grow in popularity at a very rapid pace. Now if radio can only figure out how to monetize it, it could be a very big deal for the once-beleaguered legacy media channel
6. Print’s Migration to Digital
As tablets grow in popularity, print has an opportunity to recast itself. Corroboration is an essential part of the new media landscape and truly effective content strategies from trusted content brands will help people will find their way out of an ever more sticky echo chamber.
I think the most important thing to remember is something Fred Wilson said at the end of 2010 “Restricting access to content doesn’t work. Someone else’s content will get filtered and curated instead of yours”.
It’s all about a better ad model for legacy media. Accountability is essential if print can find pricing models that help advertisers justify costs revenue will return, even if margins take a little longer.
With the debate over the long tail all but over the new debate centers around curation or the collection of meaningful relevant content ordered in a creative way that brings value to each element collected. Facebook will become a center of curation in 2011. Measuring that curation will have marketers awash in data that could provide astounding customer insight. Will we get that? Will we be able to afford it? Those are essential questions for 2011.
For businesses and individuals just becoming social, Curation is a useful short-cut content strategy almost anyone can use to increase attention. the keys: get good at sourcing and get narrow. “Narrow your focus and broaden your appeal” was never truer than it is in effective content curation.
Good curation seeks authority. Authority has become the ultimate attention economy status symbol. in 2011 people go beyond seeking just an answer or a point of view but the correct answer and the best-informed (or most similar) point of view. Authority becomes the holy grail for the search engines and content providers. Trouble is, machines still can’t understand the words and content as well as they can scan it. Not even close. This metric will improve as we roll through 2011, but it is hard to know how useful it will really be; as issues like sentiment and context elude machine-driven analysis.
Authority is the win for legacy media in 2011. It is at the center of its value proposition. To leverage, legacy media needs to crank out more content–open up the firehose all the way. Get it branded and get it out there– but avoid the temptation to seize the browser . If you can’t void using stumbleupon or ow.ly take great pains to find a new method of measurement and avoid caging your audience with frames.
With so many sources of information how do you know who to trust–particularly when all the sources you read are biased at best and partisan at worst?
A few years ago I worked on a study at the CDC to understand public perceptions of “Public Health”. Part of that research was understanding how people internalized information as true. One thing we learned was that most people need to corroborate information. They need to see the information repeated in multiple places–not just a single source–regardless of the expertise or credibility associated with first source. That’s one reason curation matters.
News– Content is tough. Speed and accuracy win. News organizations need to learn how to sell speed and authority to their sponsors. these things matter. People like to be believe they are the first to know things. but even more importantly they want to fell right about what they have learned.
Shopping– Purchase dissonance hurts everybody’s business. There is always risk associated with converting cash to goods or services. For the past 100 years branding helped reduce that risk by giving the buyer the sense that they knew the good or service though recognition of the brand. Now, in addition to branding buyers have the ability to corroborate pricing and performance to reduce purchase dissonance even further with collaborative buying.
Announced at Salesforce’s dreamforce this year, this tool is going to drive small and mid-sized businesses to the cloud in ways no one could have predicted.
This is one of the more elegant and profitable use of the cloud. Salesforce stock shot up in 2010 for good reason. Getting data in a universal and easily accessed state is the goal for technology over the next 5 years at least (if not forever). That’s why Database.com was- IMO- the single biggest product launch announcement in 2010. In 2011 I think we’ll see lots of examples why.
Adobe air and its spawn have been way underrated in their importance. As Facebook becomes more important to most people’s everyday lives, ways of navigating through the noise of pointless status updates and marketing incompetence become essential.
Further, enterprise IT has to recognize the threat and value of Facebook to the business. Apps to the rescue. With irreversible trend of a mobile workforce and the work / personal digital identity conflicts in full reveal the only solution in the near term is a fat (local) client. Developers rejoice: you really can commit to building for the box again. Just make sure the box can move.
If this sounds more like a 2009 forecast to you, you’re caught up in the hype. Apps have yet to really penetrate the enterprise. Legacy software is a big reason for the slow uptake. That roadblock will start to come down this year.
12 Outlawing Anonymity
What good is looking into the future without a scary part?
While the debate about wikileaks continues into 2011 the lesson for our dear leaders is clear: End Anonymity Now . In return for the ability to keep ourselves insulated and entertained we seem to gladly trust huge amounts of personal data to the providers that be (regardless of their political affiliation). This is disturbing to a few of us, but not disturbing enough to most of us. Those with nothing to hide may have a lot to lose.
Of course we know anonymity is a thing of the past . It’s also different from privacy. But there is an important difference between anonymity being difficult and being illegal. Everyone will begin to understand that difference in 2011.
There will be clamoring for a clearer definition of journalist. For the last decade bloggers have been able to get press credentials with relative ease, that won’t be the case going forward. Consider that Universal/Comcast merger mentioned earlier, and the threat of investigative blogging and leaking to the legacy media. Conspiracy is hard, but shared interest is easy. In 2011 we’ll be asking “who benefits” a bit more often.
Fortunately, leaks will be impossible to contain and secrets tougher to keep. New sites will emerge and old ones become more well-known. My bet is that in 2011 the government will continue to embarrass itself with Assange and others who would take his place. Transparency wins. Let’s hope that’s more than rhetoric in 2011.
13. What’s Next–
If you were in early-in to social media you are a winner– if you weren’t, you’ll find the value of your social media efforts dubious at best.
Novelty wins the digital marketing ROI war– plain and simple.
Here’s the secret to burn on your frontal lobe: If you are early to adopt a communications method or channel, you win because there is less noise and less expense– even though the perceived risk is higher. Remember that when you are reviewing mobile marketing strategies or thinking about QR code promotions this year.
Trends I’m not watching in 2011: 3DTV (gamers only– bigger next year), “augmented reality”(not till 2015 at least), and the ever-escalating mobile device feature/benefit claims war (yawn).
Read more social media predictions here
Much has been written about Miley Cyrus and her recent change to distance herself from her Hannah Montana character. It was ta terrible idea as the New York Times points out today.
So last month, when Ms. Cyrus released her post-adolescent anthem, “Can’t Be Tamed,” her once-adoring fan was unimpressed, unmoved by, among other things, the singer’s sexy music video.
“It was weird,” Perry said of Ms. Cyrus’s bird wings and black ribbon corset. “I feel like she acts 25. She looks so old. She is too old for herself.” She, like others her age, has had enough. First-week album sales for the more adult “Can’t Be Tamed” tallied a mere 102,389, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales. That was 72 percent less than her 2008 solo debut, “Breakout,” and 33 percent less than last year’s “Time of Our Lives,” both of which were popular with teenagers.
Readers of my book will recognize this failure to be utterly predictable. Ms. Cyrus and her strategists should never have equated sexuality with maturity. Kids are generally alienated by the quantity of sex in their media. The movement to conservatism continues on the young end. Not only can Taylor Swift sing better– her style is more on pitch as well.
This is just so brilliant I had to steal it from Mashable– mostly so I won’t forget it.
You shouldn’t either.
Ricky Van Veen’s 10 Web Content Urban Legends
Myth #1). People will want to watch your branded content: Why would anyone watch this? If you don’t have a good reason, don’t make it. If your goal is 75% to entertain and 25% to sell a product, you already have a handicap.
- Brands need to be flexible. IE, College Humor is a racy site — so if you want to partner with a media outlet like this, its content will be racy. Embrace that. To remedy this issue, you can present content that is not explicitly branded, and then reveal your involvement later.
Myth #2). People will be patient with your content: 35% tune out soon after starting to watch a web video. Also, one third of web activity is executed while watching TV.
- So, get to the point — quickly.
Myth #3). People will find your content: Your video will not necessarily go viral. Over-saturation is not the key, either.
- Have a strong seeding strategy.
- Team up with an established brand or platform.
Myth #4). The Internet is a level playing field: A link on Drudge Report yields more results than some dude’s blog.
- Tap into power users.
Myth #5). We have no idea why things go viral: There are no rules for making a viral video. But all viral videos give the user a reason to pass it on. This all has to do with identity creation: What does passing this video on say about me?
- College Humor has a hit strategy: Only hit for nines and 10s.
- The shorter the better.
- The hook comes within the first 20 seconds.
- Sweet spots College Humor taps into: Topical issues and “Candycorn” (cultural touchstones that everyone knows, but doesn’t actively think about).
Myth # 6). Experience beats documentation: We have a new generation that puts documentation above experience. It’s all about Flickr feeds and Facebook status updates. It’s basically high-tech bragging.
- if you’re a marketer, create experiences that allow people to show off how cool they are.
Myth #7). You should build your own community and tools: The web values simplicity and openness. Don’t limit the openness of your project. Make all tools open and easy to share. Don’t build your own features — if you want people to share photos and whatnot, use Facebook and Flickr. You get much more exposure and reach in that way.
Myth #8). Keep things professional: Show the people behind the scenes. It gives your site personality and makes it sticky. Personality drives your brand. Post photos of staff as well as videos and other content. Perez Hilton does this really well, according to Van Veen.
Myth #9). Traditional media is irrelevant to the web: TV is not over. Content creators are always working to get to TV and film — that’s where the money is. The average American watches 151 hours of TV a month, so that’s nothing to sneeze at. You get a stamp of approval thusly.
Myth #10). People will create good content for you: This is the biggest myth of all.
Just brilliant. I’m going to frame it and hang it on my wall. Thanks Ricky.
Because this is my blog I get to put up stuff that is funny sometimes. There is of course much for the mediathinker here:
First, Cracked.com may be the funniest site on the web. Well-written, interesting, smart and more than just snarky. Notice the pre-roll ad from Google. Notice the crawl ads below the content when it plays and recall this blogs last post about Simpsons being more valuable on Hulu than on Fox.
The clutter police of much to complain about of course but, in the end, this is the state of the art in video content revenue generation.
A spoon-full of sugar always helps the medicine go down. Enjoy!
The premium rates in the just-ended 2008-2009 television season are mainly for shows that rank among the most-watched by Nielsen Co., said David Poltrack, chief research officer at New York-based CBS Corp., which is home to “CSI” and owns TV.com.
Marketers, who are now considering commitments for the 2009-2010 TV season, are willing to pay more because TV.com and Hulu.com, owned by investors including News Corp., NBC and Walt Disney Co., provide committed viewers who actively seek out shows. There are fewer commercials, and consumers are twice as likely to recall Web ads, Poltrack said, citing Nielsen.”
Nathanson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co wrote “A ‘Simpsons’ episode on Hulu has just 37 seconds of ads”. A broadcast episode has nine minutes and produces three times the revenue per viewer at half the price, he estimated.
Remind me why I need cable again.
I’m a big fan of Gerd. He does a great job explaining how mobile content will work. Not quite sure who is going to pay– but someone will.