Friday, April 27, 2012

Who is Your Most Important Staffer?

Who is the most valuable member of your staff? The writers? The designers? The digital technologists? Nope.

Your photographer.

Second only to your videographer.

How does that work?

This is the intersection of a billion dollar purchase and the ultimate free distribution system.  For years, I've preached the line that we live in a fundamental mass communications change - that the barriers to mass communication have never been lower in human history.

Why? Because even with the revolutionary shift of creating movable type, the discovery of radio-based communication or the rapid spread of video via cable systems, never has the entry cost been zero.

Unlike all those means of communication, you don't have to own a printing press or a transmitter or a network. You just need a library card to get access to a computer. There was one last road block.  Language.

Panelist on This Week in Tech had line that since Gutenberg we have translated what we see into written language to translate it to a form that could be transmitted. Ancient man used pictographs and icons to communicate complex concepts. A picture is worth 1000 words again.

Perhaps better said, a billion dollars.

Zuckerburg knows this and that is why two things occur. First is Facebook's design and algorithm change. Timeline has two purposes - deeper data mining of your life (the immediate profit goal) and putting the photo right up front. That's why pictures stay in your news feed but links and text entries are scored down. That's why we have a new super panoramic Cover Photo.

Don't believe me? Zuckerburg laid down that billion dollar bet with the purchase of Instagram to make sure he was covered in the mobile photo space. Earlier said that video next wave, it is a universal language - and more on that in a coming post. Back to mobile - six years ago said text and writing because of bandwidth Mobile now bringing the bandwidth with new need - fast read. I skim along instead of sitting at my desk. Experience conveyed thru effective visual storytelling.

As Georgy Cohen said yesterday, good design important. But Facebook is about as minimalist as design can be, and deliberately clean to allow the content to take center stage. We find ourselves back at a key point. Are you focused on generating content? If not, better have a really pretty interface to mask your lack of  commitment to the concept.

No comments: