This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.
(Side note: You probably have seen another one of his videos, first posted to YouTube last January - The Machine is Us/ing Us. His digital ethnography group has been working on a few interesting things, including a YouTube ethnography project.)
It's perhaps a bit mind-boggling when you step back and think about just how much information is available to us now. It only makes sense that new tools are being created and improved upon almost every day that allow people to sort, store, evaluate, organize, share, edit and create information on their own terms.
It used to be that much, if not all, of this was done for us and we were forced to learn a system of sorts developed by someone else for organizing information that may or may not have made sense to everyone forced to use it. The same is true for information was created and edited.
But now, people have much more freedom to choose the way they create, organize, evaluate, absorb, share and store information. Maybe they want a system prescribed for them. Or, maybe they want to create their own system. Maybe they want to take information as it's given to them. Maybe they want to edit it in a way that makes more sense to them.
I've been personally trying to think through this type of thing for this blog. I don't know if I really like the way I've been using all the various categories, and am evaluating a new way of using them. I've been using them more as tags, than categories, and I don't know that this is really the best way to store all of what I post here. But then again, maybe it is.
Anyway, to tie this back to brands and such, this is an important thing to think about as we create more and more content (information) for the brands we work on. We need to think about all the various ways people are going to be able to use that information.
We need to make it easy for them to do what they want to with it. We need to make it easy for them to find, however they wish to find it. We need to make it easy for them to share, however they wish to share it. We need to make it easy for them to store, however they wish to store it... You get the picture.
Just because something makes sense to one person, doesn't mean it will to the next. We don't all follow the same rigid systems and rules now. If this scares or concerns you, you need to re-frame your perspective. We shouldn't want to control all of this for the people who use our clients' products or services. It limits our opportunities and potential. Which leads me to another point...
Instead of trying to control so much, which can lead to staying narrowly focused on how our clients can tend to see the world they operate in, we need to open our eyes to what is really going on. We need to better understand all of the ways people are interacting with, using and thinking about our clients' brands.
Understanding all of this will open the door to new opportunities for increased short-term sales, long-term growth and possibly expansion into new markets. (I know, not a new thought...) And that's the good thing with the growing amount of information and the number of people sharing and editing information. We can more easily find these opportunities.
(Example of short-term opportunities: Mentos & Coke/Diet Coke)
We should know how people are tagging photos of our clients' brands. We should look at how they're using their products or services in those photos. We should understand how information about our clients' brands is being tagged and edited. We should look at how they're talking about them in blogs and comments. And so on, and so on...
As more and more of this is being done by the people actually using them, we're starting to get a more honest and real view of things. Instead of people telling us what they think we want to hear in focus groups, we're seeing what they really think and do on a much broader scale. Instead of only being able to do ethnographic studies on a handful of people in a few select markets, we can look at a wide range of people from all around the globe.
If we only look at what we put out there on behalf of our clients (or what they put out there on their own) and how we have organized and communicated it, it severely limits our ability to lead our clients bravely into the future. It keeps us narrowly focused on the path that they want us to be going down, when we need to be looking at the off-shoots of that path and understanding just how much potential they have. We just have to start looking with open eyes.
Provided of course, that we know how and where to look.
O.K., I'll quit rambling.