This doesn't happen very often, but this morning I have come across three or four unrelated sources all looking at the same phenomenon: reporting, information technology and how our lives are being altered as a result.
***Grant McCracken says it's time for advertisers to invest in public transit. I think he's on to something. Theme parks were started by railroads seeking more traffic at the end of the line, especially nights and weekends. Seems to have worked, at least for a while.
As the consumer’s time and attention becomes more fragmented, it becomes harder for the marketer to build brands, manage meanings and create relationships.
That’s when it struck me: now is the time for the big brands to invest in public transit.
The big brands helped create television: Kraft Television Theatre (1947-1958), Texaco Star Theater (1948-1956), General Electric Theater (1953-61), and of course the “soap opera” created by P&G. They created these theatres as a way to commandeer the attention of the US consumer.
Public transit can deliver as much as a couple of hours of attention time per consumer. The cars can be wired for video, or consumers will bring their own 3G devices. (The Tokyo subway rider has been disappearing into a 3G phone for some years now.)
***Jeff Jarvis takes issue with a Guardian writer whose stiff upper lip was a bit disturbed by everyday people reflexively submitting their various first-person impressions of the London tubes bombing. I recall the day it happened being excited that the Beeb already had a feed for that exact purpose.
On September 11th in New York, I didn't know what I was: witness, reporter, survivor. I stayed at the World Trade Center to report after the first jet hit. My wife remains, well, disapproving of that decision, but that's because, as it turned out, the danger was far from over. I, too, disapproved of my decision when I was enveloped by the cloud of destruction.
But danger apart, I knew I had to report. A few days later, I started this blog to continue remembering and witnessing. I also bought a camera phone to replace the plain phone lost in that cloud, because I often thought how different our view of that day would have been if it had been seen at eye level and not from rooftops miles away.
As a journalist, you would think that Naughton would welcome more truly eyewitness reporting, more facts, more stories, more humanity. And who better to provide this than witnesses themselves, now equipped not only with cameras but also with the knowledge that they could report what they saw themselves. Isn't that better than second-hand reporting?
***Finally, Jim Gilbert, recently arrived to the blogging world but a very quick study, has put together an excellent overview of the state of information processing, at least as of this morning. Next week, of course, all this can change. (His blog, like mine, has some kind of template problem that can't line up the sidebar with the content, so you have to scroll down to find the post. I figure by the time I learn how to correct the problem myself, some clever programmer at Blogger will beat me to it and all my efforts will have been in vain. So like a hitch-hiker waiting for a ride, I keep waiting.)
Fads and movements are entirely different creatures. Fads sometimes grow legs and become movements, but usually they're just replaced by TNBT (the next big thing). They fail to sustain momentum, an important quality in movements. Movements, if they stick around long enough to mature, become institutions.Blogging was a fad that became a movement and is becoming an institution. It is, in fact, all three at once, an evolving universe: The twenty thousand new blogs spewing themselves into existence every day, most rife with poor grammar and/or "pictures of my cat," reveal a fad still in progress. So do the multitude that die off daily.
The obvious next step, after blogging and podcasting, would add video to the self-publishing mix, and sure enough, video-blogging (vlogging) is already a reality, and being hailed as TNBT.