Tag Archives: digital media

Is Creativity the Cure for Insanity?

One of the hardest things on earth to do is change. To intentionally take action to throw off our own equilibrium with the goal of a better outcome on the other side. And aside from some earth shattering life changing experience or disruptive innovation if we’re not forced to change we will rarely take action without dragging our feet and resisting.

As someone in my 20’s my life changes consistently and quickly, and in this time of transition I hold tight to many comforts of the predictable, routine-like work that I am confident producing.  I have ideas but am still lacking in the experience category. So naturally anything that I have experience in and or done before is my first solution to any problem, I think to myself “this won me the last war, so why wont it work again? ” But with the speed that the world is changing I’m realizing more and more that the same old solutions are not good enough. I see the decreasing marginal benefit each time that utilize the same old technique or idea, but the act of changing and innovating is the hard part.

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  We have to learn, unlearn and then relearn and evolve everything we do in an effort to be better. Still this is easier said than done because once we have invested the time in learning something and created our worldview based on those ideas even a small shift is hard to make.

I grapple with this problem on a daily basis as I work to maintain a handle over the ever changing and evolving world of digital media and marketing. I was so skeptical of platforms like Instagram when they were first released. I thought it was a fad and didn’t understand the power of strictly visual content. Now we all know what direction the world is moving in now with Instagram being one of the more predominant social networks and really an innovator in the space of visual storytelling. Still it took me months to really open up to the point that I started to truly understand it, I ignored it and disregarded it as a fad/stupid way of communicating. I’m happy to say once the flood gates opened they opened in a big way as I now consider Instagram one of the most appealing and authentic social networks, but that first step forward was hard for me to take.

Steve Jobs summed this up perfectly when he said ” if you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will do it for you.” If we can move past our own love for the solution and fall in love with the problem we will be better equipped to embrace the radical change that may be needed. The way we can embrace that problem as our blank canvas is what may separate truly successful individuals in our increasingly competitive world.

Floating idly along and not actively looking for more creative solutions to the world around us will push us farther and farther towards obscurity. Owning the change that is happening and staying one step ahead of the world catching up takes a lot or work and stress but in general it may be worth it.

Is Violation of Context > Violation of Privacy?

The concept of privacy violation has been a polarizing subject since the advent and rise of the web. With personal information being shared and stored by entities like GoogleFacebook and Amazon its easy to sometimes feel like these groups know more about us than we know about us.

The ethical question naturally arises “are they going to far in storing my information?” and “how much are they actually using my information?” It’s hard to look past the fact that these groups have a fairly good understanding of who we are and what/who we like, and then use that information to engage/market to/inform us. Still would it be worse if they knew nothing about us?

Now in all transparency I do considered myself to be a marketer for some time now and my view may be skewed/jaded/whatever you would like to call it, but I think that at least for those below a certain age that this level of efficiency attained by data is more important than a certain sense of privacy. Now I don’t necessarily love the term “Millennial” (which for anyone over 40 may be slang for narcissist), but for the sake convenience I will say that this may largely be true for the millennial generation. Leading a fast paced digital lifestyle affords no time for anything that does not fit the context of their tastes/preferences at that moment in time.

If content is not relevant, served through they’re preferred medium or non-native to a channel it may do even more harm than good. Especially in the digital media/social media space where attention spans are short and it is just as easy to disassociate yourself with an organization/brand that does not resonate with you. Which is why organizations/brands resort to behavioral data collection in order maintains a good understanding of individuals and groups as to provide value? They then leverage the data collected to develop and maintain a more authentic connection than they would have otherwise.

This is where the paradigm shift comes into play. In the absence of a clear happy medium the risk of coming across as creepy/manipulative is outweighed by the never-ending quest for relevance through data. This could be why contextual based services like Songza (a contextual musical curation service based on users current environment, also recently purchased by Google) are becoming increasingly popular. Because if its raining and I want the perfect song for me on a rainy day, Songza knows my taste in music, knows its raining based on my location and knows what I am normally doing at that time of day. It streamlines things so I don’t have to bounce around to find something relevant to me, I don’t have to change the station on the radio or even come back periodically so it can make sure I’m still listening.

This would not be possible without Songza creating a backlog of data on me, what they do with that data aside from suggesting music to me is completely irrelevant because the utility that they provide me is that valuable enough that I don’t care. Even their advertising can be helpful because the ads I get are so hyper-relevant to me that they tend to be useful and the companies with enough foresight to advertise on Songza have enough sense and creativity that they know that what they say has to have some value or it will violate my context and I will not only tune it out but remember to avoid it the next time I make a purchase. My experiences is streamlined and virtually seamless which makes it that much more efficient and enjoyable.

Still this may not be true for millennials across the board, but this concept is certainly becoming more prevalent with more and more future digital natives being born and eventually maturing into connected consumers each day. The concept of violation of privacy may not have completely given way to the concept of violation of context, but it seems to be the direction the world is heading in.