Taming of the You

It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome. –T.S. Eliot

Never before in history has the speed of communication been so prevalent and so profound.

Media conventions are fragmenting and changing. Broadcast media as a concept is dead. It still functions, but its monolithic power is no more. The revolution has established itself. Now it must become a self-ruling government.

Brands are slowly giving message ownership to consumers. Brand police have had a flower stuck in their gun barrel; now they must learn and craft a message that includes input from outside their world. The one-way door has become a slowly turning revolving one.

People are connecting and communicating based on personal definition, not in person. “I list my preferences, therefore I am” is the new call to arms online in a world that has little time for dialogue and personal interaction. Time is precious, and the physical senses are now used to their fullest at prearranged events in our lives.

DVRs made TV viewing selective and downtime elective. Television is now more an appliance than an entertainment portal. The personal computer is now equal to, if not overshadowing, the boob tube in the “time spent staring at something” category.

The full-keypad, Web-enabled mobile phone has extended the workday. Not since the workday was extended due to electric light has labor been so greatly affected. A full QWERTY keypad phone frees users to roam and to be found anywhere, anytime.

An 11 year old has an average of seven digitally enabled devices. The Internet is older than she is.

Thinking of all these things collectively can make you shudder. It’s the healthy pessimist inside me, clawing at my soul and pointing a ruddy finger in the direction of our cultural apocalypse. It’s true many things in our lives are easier, but even with all these changes it’s only marginally simpler to live by them.

The optimistic side of me thinks all these things are pointing to something greater and more persuasive.

Online advertising has learned a lot about what makes people react and act on an impulse. Online advertising, as it becomes richer and richer, does a better job of having an effect through the beauty of execution than through what better rich technology provides.

The idea of personal media is really the basis of new media.

Advertising is changing. An online ad is less a recreation or reinterpretation of an offline one, and more of an interface between the brand and the consumer.

This may not be as extreme a change in how Christianity undermined paganism, but to a lesser degree it’s a similar paradigm. And no one will die when the Internet takes over all media. At least, I hope not.

As we look to online advertising’s evolution and how richer experiences will become more inclusive, we see opportunities.

Most have to do with how ad viewers can learn to expect an array of possibilities rather than hard-and-fast advertising rules.

This medium’s evolution depends on two very important behaviors: advertisers being open to unlearning their traditional role, and ad viewers learning to expect rich ads to be more than what they appear to be. All this is supported by richer technology. It will put us in a place where we can realize the next generation of richer media.

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