December 8, 2008

Sign of the Times

This new post is a response to a recent New York Times article penned by Virginia Heffernan describing why traditional media (content) must evolve along with new forms of digital expression and technologies.

In her aptly titled piece, Content and Its Discontents, Virginia delves into the subject of how traditional content and the new media landscape are quite different and how it is the old that must now change for the new.

You can read the article here <--

My response is as follows:

The medium in and of itself is a new frontier in both expression and a more complex means of communication. Traditional “storytellers” have been shoving their round pegs into our square holes for ten years now and have completely missed the point of how powerful the new media landscape truly is.

Traditional agencies have been blindfolding their clients into believing that they can translate their brands online and have been grossly misguiding them into a realm entirely unknown by the agency and employing professionals who have been trained to simply copy whatever the latest template is.

This is not entirely the fault of the agencies themselves rather the brutal reality of immediate transition to a new medium that has quickly emerged due to the speed of technology, the veraciousness of the web and a struggling economy looking for more bang for its advertising and entertainment buck.

Over the past ten years, smaller digital agencies (sometimes referred to as vendors) have been carrying the workload in developing these new expressions for a fraction of the cost that the clients are paying their traditional agencies for. These smaller digital shops have been the primary source for the growth of this medium in both design and development and have been the ones to set the bar for standards of excellence.

The online experience is a much more concentrated and intimate one that, if executed properly, will not only completely immerse the end user with the content but deliver to them a message that is so much more powerful than any we have known in the past.

Snippets have replaced pages, animation has surpassed the static image and video accompanying text has become the norm in storytelling. The traditional static and its partner in crime, the analog, ways of story telling and brand building of the past are now lingering like a defunct eon waiting for its evolutionary replacement.

Traditional content simply doesn’t fit the digital mold and its forceful application only makes it even more clumsy and undecipherable.

Both the advertising and entertainment industries need to realize that a new breed of creative professionals who are both equally creative and technologically savvy are needed to properly codify their messages in a way that live harmoniously within the pixelated world we now live in.

The smaller screen calls for more intelligent and visceral executions of the tale being told. Rebroadcasting traditional content online is a futile attempt to monetize on a medium that screams for original content created specifically for its voice.

We need to all take a collective step forward and hand the baton over to those professionals who have been reared online, we are no longer vendors, computer geeks or web designers.

We are artisans who have trained ourselves to tell more compelling stores.

We are craftsmen who have been imbued with the ability to live in a world where multiple forms of media converge and are retold as a single and powerful digital voice that reverberates through to billions of small screens all over the world.

We transcend the demographics and local markets, we think globally, we are both localized and global at the same time. We think in more concentrated one by one pixels that are in tune with physics and precision all driven by exacting and in many cases user generated data that is endless.

We are NOT nephews or babysitters, we are NOT hermits and introverts. We are the new face of both entertainment, advertising, journalism and art.

We are both the voice and the originators of these new ideas, we think in pixels, in technology and in innovation, our ideas expand themselves across an almost infinite network and remain strong enough to ring true in the hearts of people in the most sacred and intimate corners of their existences.

Our audiences choose us, we don’t force ourselves onto our audiences like the finite selection of channels that all seem to be saying the same thing. We are unique in every way and our uniqueness forces us to find more and more ways to remain that way day in and day out.

Everything can be translated into this new language called digital, you just need the right people to do it.

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