When was the last time you got really excited about something you read – about how it looked, how it flourished before your eyes and how you interacted with it? When was the last time you found some content that made your skin tingle after you’d finished with it?
Yeah, there is a lot of content out there now that the world has turned digital - its mechanical hand reaches out from the screen and slaps you in the face, bombarding you, but is it really exciting you?
I get a weird ripple of joy when I walk into a bookstore and find my way to the sections on biography and poetry. I can spend hours in those places, meandering, pulling out hard covers and leafing through pages until my fingers find some text worth really lingering over and I walk out with the book in tow, my skin musty from the dust I’ve dislodged from the many bindings I’ve touched.
Seldom do I get that same feeling from content online, though recently I’ve been privy to a sensory funfair - words, pictures and video have amalgamated into content that I find myself lingering over, just as I would a copy of Cohen’s ‘Beautiful Losers’.
I’ve found content that seems written for me, images, words, moving pictures and sounds are being lifted from their digital birthplaces and converging within one dynamic, long form piece of content. Stories are being told again!
- 'Dear Me' a sports piece from ESPN gets up close and personal with 10 famous sports people, asking them to confront their younger selves by writing them a letter of advice.
- 'Jake Blauvelt's Naturally - The Full Story' is a long form piece from Factory Media’s Whitelines, which tells the story of snowboarding superstar Jake Blauvelts - it’s dynamic in form which makes the content even more exciting.
(image from Jake Blauvelt's Naturally - The Full Story')
- If you’re like me and ‘music is your aeroplane’ then check out the great work Pitchfork have done. This piece on Bat For Lashes takes music magazine editorial to the next level with moving imagery and the great thing is you can access it from your mobile or tablet, no need to carry around a chunky mag in your bag.
Talking to each other
We’ve become a generation of people, fed up and frustrated with how our stories are being delivered online. We’ve reached the point of no return, we’ve become skimmers, we’re banner blind, we’re overwhelmed, we’re under-stimulated. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and in fact it’s not the end of the tunnel at all, we’ve discovered the other end of the telescope …. we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and come out the other end with ideas, technologies, platforms and the tools to reinvigorate our stories and create new ones that compel, engage and hold attention.
We can take these stories with us wherever we go, formats can adapt to our user habits - there is never a dull moment in our fast paced, technology driven lives. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get back to the basics, get real. Fundamentally, we need to talk to each other, not at each other, we need to embrace change, not fight it, we need to innovate, not rest on our laurels and we need to explore the possibilities that lay in digital.
As we navigate this space beyond the screen, we can start to impact the direction those conversations go in, and shape the path future conversations will take. From the content we read, the sites we visit, the brands we interact with and the purchases we make. There are new content leaders out there who are really investing in producing quality content for audiences, so if you come across something that makes you skin tingle, or your heart race, then be prepared to take that digital hand and shake it. Say, cheers, that was actually pretty good. Make it known that we expect a lot and we appreciate when digital publishers get it right, it’s been a difficult transition, but things are moving in the right direction, and that, is something to be excited about.