Evolution of the Information Age

The following post is concerning a presentation given by Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Worldwide, “When All Media is Social: Navigating the Future of Communications”

Transcription of the presentation can be found here.
An accompanying PDF slideshow for the presentation can be found here.

Edelman’s presentation on the continued evolution of communication, to me, offers a lot of hope for continued innovation in PR and the general ability given to brands to express themselves not only by better informing the public about themselves, but by sharing a brand personality.  Brands move out of the abstract and become something the public can see in both rational and emotional contexts.  A brand is something they can interact with and even through in the case of communities like Nike+. This is the information age, but we can loose interest if we only spoon-feed information that does not have any real kind of application for a consumer.

The Media Clover Leaf

Edelman’s Media “Clover Leaf”

The Media Cloverleaf and talk of the four screens made me look at media in a way I never had before, by separating degrees of interaction by the way a media is consumed.  The difference between the television and computer seemed obvious enough to me, but my lack of experience in using tablets had left me thinking that smartphones and tablets where both basically used in the same way.   The “lean-back” and “lean-forward” concept was new to me, but totally made sense.  You must engage different audiences in different ways and recognize their limitations or driving desires.

Edelman’s five media trends to watch were pretty insightful, but I wonder if he managed to miss something by looking at media in a more global sense, recognizing trends that were bigger in different areas.

The ability of brands to take hold of and utilize social media to their advantage is of course so huge.  Brands can still be quite awkward about their use of social media, but as understanding grows of how to make yourself something the consumer can be interested in rather than annoyed with expanding to rising social media platforms can be so important. A great way to communicate with consumers is to meet them on their level, speak their language, and to be relevant.

The way social media amplification has grown has definitely been visible to me, though I did not realize it for exactly what it was as it is really a bit more artificial than the average user may see it.  Expanding news feeds and the hoops Pages need to jump through to amplify themselves can seem daunting especially for smaller brands I’m sure.  Paid Amplification simplifies this a bit but also can make a brand more personal and believable.

Personally I wonder if “Search going Social” will be more detrimental than positive for brands that have been so dedicated to search engine optimization.  As a consumer myself, I don’t really care what a friend has found interesting, unless it is a restaurant.  As this trend evolves I’m sure we will see a significant amount of tweaking so the function can provide greater results for all involved as far as the consumer audience and brands fighting to be seen.

Moving on to the “Amplification now trumps Circulation”, this is a trend I have been very aware of personally and ties very closely to the new psychological norm of two personas.  I see a lot of things posted through social readers that seem interesting or at least grab my attention, but I stubbornly avoid ascribing to any social readers as I do not want everyone seeing all the trivial and seemingly unintelligent drivel that still manages to catch my attention and make me curious to look.  But the existence of social readers, whether it creates actual new users or not, still generates a good amount of traffic I would assume as many consumers may have the same approach as me and not want the whole of Facebook to view all of their reading history.

In another way I believe social media can amplify news information outside of actual social readers.  I believe social media is inadvertently finding itself reconnecting a younger generation with news media.  More and more I see and find myself turning to media sources in conversation on social media networks.  In a less organic way, I think Twitter’s “Trending Topics” are pushing this in a positive way especially.  If you aren’t watching the news, get on Twitter and you may be able to find a few significant news stories in the conversation of the application.

Moving on to the last trend, which seems pretty huge to me, is the trend of moving the conversation further than where it first began.  Moving TV programs into a conversation online (like you can see on many networks, and seems especially rewarding for consumers of non-fiction kinds of programming like the History Channel), or creating video content to accompany the Wall Street Journal.  When you communicate on different levels you have the opportunity to make yourself more relevant to a wider audience and further engage the audience you already retain.

As a graphic designer first and a marketing enthusiast second, this presentation really interested me and better educated me about PR in general and taught me to think in a bit different ways about exciting developments in media today.


One comment

  1. Lou Heldman · · Reply

    Congratulations on your new blog. I expect to learn a lot about social media from reading it this semester.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: