You woo me, but can you really win me?

24 Aug
So... Where are we going?

So... Where are we going?

Media has always been inherently social.

A few different blog spaces over the last week have me reflecting on the issue of ‘Social Media’ – where it’s come from, going to and the whole aspect or intent of it in the first place.

Stripped bare of its fundamental essence, media is quite simply a form of information communication.

With traditional media offerings, however, that communication process is typically one way. Product to person.

Nonetheless, it achieves a social dimension by providing a conversational context for audiences, and in this sense media is not only able to shape aspects of society, it becomes part of the social processes and norms too.
I mean, a leading headline for the day becomes a topic of gossip over breakfast. Popular dramas and movies spark discussion amongst the water cooler. Documentaries, events and books are topic for discussion and debate over dinner now.
Many a social acquaintance, friendship or relationship were even created through mutual interests in music, art, theatre, entertainment or topics of discussion that then became a mutual interest.

Media is social.
In a world which consumers have millions of content options, we are increasingly reliant on friends and associates to help us idenify and choose the media we consume. Our social interactions from this are playing a key role in our selection of entertainment choices; what we do, where we visit and what we use from then on. We want what we trust, naturally.

Secondly, socialisation is becoming an inherent feature of the entertainment product itself. A YouTube video becomes more valuable when a work colleague passes it on with a comment about how funny they found it. – A cancer awareness email campaign is more solemn when a friend of a friend adds a note about how the disease affected their life. – And then videos about social media and objects of discussion resonate more when you watch it on the blog of a friend who unravels the topic and identifies it throughout their own social experience.

Entertainment media has always relied on word-of-mouth promotion, which is something i find intrinsically valuable. Uncontrollable and interesting though, content has always been influenced by the manner it was selected for consumption.
What is different is that it is becoming increasingly rare to consume entertainment content in the absence of any social interaction. This, in turn, is changing our perception of entertainment; if my friends aren’t doing it, I’m not going to either – right?
Or more to the point; if you don’t draw me in enough to experience, talk about and share with my friends, you’re going nowhere fast.
This poses some real issues for those entertainment options which remain locked with dim, brassbound distribution channels, impervious to an audiences’ attempt to socialise them. …So what happens next?

Ideas anyone?

Image thanks to Matthew Strong and Flickr Storm

One Response to “You woo me, but can you really win me?”

  1. Kieran October 7, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Those entertainment options that fail to converse will take a definitive step back from the limelight as their relative interaction-entertainment values fall.

    To draw a commercial parable, and pardon the pun, television advertising is also starting to take on more of a support role. This is largely due to the emergence of methods of brand communication that actually gives a greater return on the time invested by consumers.

    With newer, more involved media spring-boarded by the interactivity of the net, the choice of media has become a lot more diverse, and the choices available are often more targeted, more relevant and more able to truly interact with someone’s interests and personality.

    Similarly films that go straight to DVD can also play a support role. If you’ve seen all the new releases you can always grab a bundle of obscure films of C grade quality. The work especially well if you’ve got a delirium inducing bout of influenza and you can let yourself wash over the obvious plot holes.

    In conclusion, the money and the attention will always be on the things that people talk about. The things that entertain the masses. But I don’t think the slow-moving media of low social interaction value can ever be counted out. By exploring the shadows, the things not talked about, you just might find something truly different.

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