What Is Missing With Comments: The Face & Voice Element

2013/05 Seth Godin | Backwards from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

In the last post, we were introduced to the innovation of two way communication. Since two way communication became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, writers noticed a missing element. Communication purely in text was fine at first, BUT, what happen when you really want to express emotions? Not just hold the shift key and run your finger across the number keys: @#$%^&*!!! There are dozen of ways to say: damn, sh*t, crap, bull, and any other vulgar and half vulgar ways to express emotions. Plus there are a dozen other emotions which simply take too many words to express where a single facial gesture can give an immediate response. Together with the use of video and recorded audio (remember podcasts?) internet communication is simply outstripping the simple two way text format. So what do a good blogger and content creator to do? Go with the flow…  add videos, audio, and even other type of “formats”, which include links to Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, and even Skype actions. At first, when social media sites like Twitter became popular, especially with the connection of smart phones, there were predictions of the death of blogs. But the story is more complicated than just a flight from text blogs to rich media and more mobile connected sites.

The development of new media types, formats, and connections, does not mean death to the old ones. Some bloggers will stay with the text and picture formats. There are plenty of people and communities which are satisfied with this format. Actually, there are plenty of still undeveloped. If you are looking for opportunities for pure “classic” text and image blog or social media page, do your research and see where you can gather a community and get conversations started. There are a few approaches, we will cover them in another post. If you have a blog and want to move into richer media, integrate social media content or activity, or want to add video, audio, or even active graphics or games, that’s something that you can see and do right now. Most open (and free of cost) blogging platforms give you a way to add links, media, and even applications that will run with a mouse click. There are ways to send a reader to another site or application, to download a player or application, or to embed another application even a complete page (as a frame).

What does that mean to the blog format and the blogger? Simply put, the blog format is by no way dead. Just the fact of integration with new formats (video, chat, phone) and use by many different media type producers, actually means more use and a stronger base. New formats and new uses on the internet also means more specialized use of each format. Essentially the blog is used where long text pieces are needed and short or long comments are expected. Also in cases where the information will live and be used for a long time, blog posts are useful. If you want to discuss a speech by John Kerry, and want to see what people think about it, a blog post is an appropriate format. You can embed the speech or part of it. You will have comments only related to that speech. Some will comment about him in general, but these will not take away from th immediacy of the ideas related to one speech. In time, the speech will become part of history.  A Facebook page, an account (message stream) on Twitter, or even a group in Linked-In will not be as useful. A social media stream does not last long enough, and who know what will people say about Kerry ten years from now. The same goes for a video or an audio file. As of today, they are hard to index, hard to find, and it is hard to edit and control comments on the hosting sites. When you are developing certain content, take a look at how it is uses, who uses the material, and how they interact with you the original author (or editor, curator) and the community. Then choose the format useful for your function and features.

What’s next in expression? As you can imagine, the internet and digital format is still seeking as much emotional expression as possible. This means, things are going to get more interesting and more daring with time. But this does not mean only more sensual videos and daring music from rappers (or whatever we are going to have ten years from now). There are attempts at digital books mixing all type of media and format, even illustrators adding “live” comics to story books. Just like we have seen with video, then audio, formats only evolve and grow with time. They swing in daring (some say vulgarity), they test different forms of control (from breaking intellectual property norms to governmental and politics), and mostly get very creative. Who would imagined the amount of videos from all type of people we see today? Who would imagined real political revolutions driven by Twitter messages? Who would imagined cell phones tracking every form of activity from political corruption to traffic accidents to environmental disasters? Not many of us, if we did, there would have been a dozen YouTube sites and lots of way to mix all the formats together with a click of a mouse or a push of a cell phone icon… well, these are here and coming. So keep and open mind and start CREATING ! ! !

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