The Battle Between Our Hearts and Our Cameras

There’s this gorgeous little red cardinal that hangs out in my back yard.  I always try to get a picture of it but it’s the most elusive fricken thing ever. It’ll stay perfectly still until I point my lens in its direction, then it darts off right before I get a clear shot.

I get so frustrated because I want to record it’s beauty to be shared with the people around me…but I can’t damnit.  Only I got to see it.

I’m more concerned with documenting its beauty than I am in experiencing it for myself.

I watched Ricky Van Veen speak at the Mashable Media Summit where he spoke about this trend.  He showed a picture (seen above), from the Youth Ball on inauguration night, of President Obama and the first lady on stage. All the young people in the crowd, instead of looking at the president, looked at the back of their phones and cameras as they were taking pictures and recording video.

He said:

“We have a new generation that places documentation above experience”

It’s amazing how true this is, and it doesn’t stop there…

Because of the increased focus on sharing, and documenting experiences, there’s now this trend where we might even plan our experiences around the value of their documentation.

Could the ability to check in to foursquare and document your night determine which bar you go to?  Would my twitter followers be more interested in my thoughts on tonight’s movie premier, or my pictures from tonight’s concert?  Would a college student skip a frat party because of the possible negative facebook documentation that could occur?

Ricky gave the example of a girl deciding whether or not to go to a dance based on the potential pictures that she could take and share at the event.  Documentation is actually impacting our what we do and how we act.

We’re starting to think about the value of documenting our experiences, before the experience itself.

What happens when we can no longer sit back and enjoy something beautiful or fascinating simply for the experience? When the things that usually excite us are only exciting when documented?

The questions for you:

The point of Ricky’s talk was about content and regardless of your opinion on this trend, it’s a trend nevertheless.  So from a business perspective, is your content providing an experience worth documenting? And are you making it easy to document that experience?

Where else can you apply this trend?

Photo cred: Todd Ryburn

2008: A Revolutionary Year for Media and Communications

revolutionNot too long ago, Jacob Morgan tweeted the question “If you could choose one word to describe 2008, what would it be?” to which I replied “Revolutionary“.

Need proof you say? Very well.  All the responses can be found here.

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While 2008 could probably be considered revolutionary for a number of reasons, my response is in reference to media and communications.  The traditional methods of communications and marketing are changing in ways that are unfamiliar, making many uncomfortable, and some just refuse to embrace it. On the other end, there are the revolutionaries who strongly believe in the value of social media and are exploring new ideas to lead the way into a new age of communication.

Businesses struggling due to the economic downturn had to either suffer great losses, or embrace new ideas, grow, and survive. Many have found their answer in Twitter, the micro-blogging service that is becoming more popular by the day.  Others businesses like Nike created their own social networks, finding success by communicating with users in an entirely new way.

Within the last few months we’ve seen other highly publicized examples of the social media revolution.

  • The Israeli government set a precedent bypassing traditional media and connecting directly to real people on twitter and youtube to discuss the events in Gaza. See Story
  • President Elect Barack Obama communicated with the American people throughout his campaign through social media on his website and on Twitter , helping him win the election to become the first U.S. African American President.
  • During the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, anyone with an internet connection became a reporter, allowing concerned friends and family members to find answers quickly. A simple search for #mumbai on Twitter Search provided you with constantly updated news, images and information coming from everywhere in the world.  On the darker side of the use of social media in the events in Mumbai, we also saw the use of new technologies by the terrorists, who used google maps and other web tools to coordinate the attacks. See Story

It’s an exciting time that I feel very fortunate to be a part of.  What innovations and applications to social media will 2009 bring?  How far will the revolution go?  Will you be a revolutionary?

-David Spinks

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