Tick Yes Blog

Tag - digital content

The e-Book Information Evolution

Great content creates a ritual that keeps people coming back
For anyone with a love of information, literature or knowledge, the idea of books being destroyed is distressing, not just on a surface level of loss, but more deeply due to the unpleasant politically motivated connotations ‘book burning’ has had in the past. Certainly, the last place one would expect the destruction of books to be taking place is in a university, yet this is exactly what has been happening in Sydney.
It has been reported that in recent years, the University of New South Wales library has been disposing of 50,000 volumes a year in order to make more space for a café-style culture in the learning hub; actions that have been met with outrage by academics.
‘There’s something profoundly wrong, and symbolically wrong, about a university destroying books,’ says David Miller, a professor in the School of History and Philosophy at UNSW. ‘Universities are in the business of passing on knowledge and books – no matter how the use of books is shrinking – still remain a very important symbol of knowledge.’

On a practical level, the clearing of volumes that have been translated to a digital format makes sense. Yet the affront many feel at the idea of books being destroyed speaks to the sentimentalism surrounding our consumption of information.
When the great communicator and theorist Marshall McLuhan said ‘the medium is the message’, he spoke to the core of current debate around hard-copy books and their digital counterparts. Why else would the new generation of digital readers such as the Kobo™ and Kindle™ feature book-like design elements such as a ‘page-turning’ function that mirrors the flicking action of someone reading a standard paperback?
We all have our preferences when it comes to consuming content. The writer of this blog reads two or three newspapers online daily, going the entire work week without purchasing a paper copy. This is how she consumes her information. On a Sunday, however, she ritualises the experience, walking to the same newsagency, collecting a coffee on her way home and savouring the woody scent as she settles in for an hour of devouring the weekend news.
It is not just the information that works its way into our hearts and minds. It is the seeking out of information, the way in which we approach it, that becomes ingrained in our culture.
In terms of creating new content through new channels, it is wise to keep McLuhan’s advice in mind – with the added caveat that if the content itself is poor, it’s not going to engage people (and get the message across) no matter how good the medium. Great content creates a connection that encompasses not only the information presented, but the experience of the consumer in engaging with that content.
Whether it is the smell of an old book as it falls open on a favourite passage, the daily treat of a tea and biscuit as an employee pauses their workday to read their favourite blog, or even the smooth, reassuring weight of an iPhone as a commuter scrolls through the latest Tweets, content is always tied up in ritual.
Great content acknowledges this, and delivers itself in a way that enhances this ritual.
 
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Image sourced from: Fast Company
 
 
 

Smartphone use on the rise

Content providers and marketers take note: the future of digital content lies in the palm of everyone’s hand
A new report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority has revealed that Aussies are increasingly dependent on their smartphones, with usage up an astounding 63% since last year.
The findings show that by June 2011, over four million people over the age of 14 accessed the Internet through their mobile phone, with over a third of all Australian mobile users owning an iPhone or Android model, and 58% owning a 3G phone.
The report found that social media like Facebook and Twitter were the leading reasons for people to go online through their mobile phones, with bill-paying a close second – over 750,000 Australians used their mobile devices to pay bills in June.
With 72% of smartphone users downloading apps between September 2010 and April 2011, the world of mobile content development is only just getting started.
Total world domination? There’s an app for that…
 
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Broken Telephone and the Social Media Solution

When the audience becomes critical, so does the issue of quality content
A couple of weeks ago, A Current Affair ran a story about Full Moon parties on Koh Pha-Ngan in Thailand. Predictably, the angle was one of fear-mongering and outrage over the lack of regulation to protect young, drunk Western travellers in developing countries.
For the story, ACA interviewed Ben Groundwater, Fairfax’s popular travel blogger who writes The Backpacker column each week. Equally predictably, the show’s producers cherry-picked Groundwater’s comments in order to give the piece the appropriate amount of panic-inspiring doom and gloom.

None of this is particularly remarkable – except that Ben Groundwater, annoyed that the point he was making had been deliberately distorted in the edited version, was able to address the issuer (and redress the balance) via his blog:
‘I was invited to go on A Current Affair… to talk about Full Moon parties, as back-up to an interview with one of the Australian girls involved in a boating accident off Koh Pha-Ngan last year.
‘The angle of the story, as I probably should have guessed, was something like, “Full Moon Parties: Ruining Australian Lives’, detailing the dangers of backpackers going to unpoliced beach parties in remote South-East Asian islands.
‘Unfortunately, the only part of my interview that made the cut was me banging on about the fact that things can get a little bit out of hand there. And they can. But I had a lot more to say, so I’m going to take this chance to say it.’
Social media aids the bullshit filter
Whether or not full moon parties are dangerous or not isn’t the issue here—nor is ACA’s journalistic integrity (or lack thereof). Groundwater sums it up perfectly when he writes “I had a lot more to say, so I’m going to take this chance to say it.”
Because that’s what social media is all about—removing the middle man and taking back the responsibility of deciding—and speaking—for ourselves. It’s this taste of independence—of being able the access information without requiring the filter of a newspaper or television show—that has proven most detrimental to the traditional media model.
This is not to say that social media is a less-biased form of accessing information (far from it) in fact, most blogs are entirely opinion-based, and unapologetically so. The difference is that blogs and other forms of social media allow us lowly media consumers the opportunity to not only become news reporters, but editors and critics as well.
Reading a blog, we switch on that part of our brain that picks out the information we deem important. The bullshit filter, if you will. We have the opportunity to respond to and engage with a post, which changes the way we receive the information.

Traditional media can be compared to a game of Chinese Whispers (also known as ‘Broken Telephone’), in which the original message becomes so distorted by agenda and editing that the end result bears little resemblance to the truth—whatever that is. Social Media is an opportunity to fix the telephone. There’s still no guarantee that the person on the other end is telling ‘the truth’, but, usually at least, they’re telling their truth—and interpreting other people’s truths is as good a way as any to find our own.
 
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Image Source: Flickr