(Nearly) Live at Social Media Week: Has Technology Changed Everything?

Technology has democratized publishing. It has, through social media, given advertisers and marketers a way to access their audience without buying space. It has changed the way we distribute content and the way we measure its effectiveness.

Has it changed everything? No. “Technology has not changed the basic human need for a story that’s worthy of our attention,” according to New York Times ad exec Meredith Kopit Levien.

Kopit Levien opened today’s Social Media Week panel discussion by raising the example of Uber. If Uber had focused only on the technology and not the customer experience, they would not have grown the way they have. They “created something much better by caring about the quality of the ride.”

She suggested that the same issue applies to storytelling. The quality of the content though has sometimes gotten lost because it has been subordinated to the “mechanics of distribution.”

“You can buy impressions, clicks and page views,” Kopit Levien said. “What you can’t buy is rapt attention. You can only get that through great storytelling.” She predicted that the next wave of technology innovations will be focused on what goes into the platform not on the platform itself.

The New York Times-sponsored panel included advertisers, marketers and consultants in the space. Although some, like Goldman Sachs’ Amanda Rubin had much trendier sounding titles, Global Co-Head of Brand and Content Strategy. That reflects the direction all the panelists see advertising and marketing as moving toward.

Rubin described “engagement with audiences” as a focus that has superseded advertising. She also noted that it is sometimes hard to stay in touch with the basics of marketing, like reaching a targeted audience, in a world of technology “bells and whistles.”

Edward Kim, founder of Simple Reach, described us as being into the push rather than the pull era of the Internet. In the pull era we would go online, look for the content we wanted and call it up. The push era requires it to be on our phone when we boot it up.  The only effective way to bring your message to your audience in a mobile format, Kim said, is content

John Ohara, SVP strategy, Giant Spoon, predicted that the next focus in trying to engage audiences and measure effectiveness will be focusing on commenting and chatting. How do brands become part of a dialogue that keeps them in the conversation.

The archived Livestream feed of today’s discussion is available here.

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7 Responses to (Nearly) Live at Social Media Week: Has Technology Changed Everything?

  1. I like this post, Ken. It gives me hope that there’s hope for me, with the small but engaged audiences on my blogs. I get so frustrated when all people think about is numbers rather than true engagement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this post! I have hope for my blog then. These days people are interested in numbers and traffic rather than engagement. How many twitter followers you have etc! I am forwarding this link to my fellow bloggers to cheer them up.
    Thanks Ken x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

    Technology is something that simply cannot be ignored. Sure, it can be great, on one hand, but detrimental, too, on the other.

    For example, it’s great that anyone can now author a book, but is it great that toddlers can play for hours on a tablet? I think not. They don’t get the interaction with others that they need to thrive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tuhinmech says:

    You spoke my heart out, Ken.

    Good, quality and interesting content needs no trick to survive. I believe a blogger lives by the virtue of the quality of his posts and not otherwise.

    Thanks for this post

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Ken,
    This is such a timely post. Edward Kim’s description of our being in the “push” era of the Internet is acutely accurate. Recently, Google announced that beginning April 21st of this year, they will be using “mobile-friendliness” as a SEO ranking signal.

    Today, I read that Google has stated “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

    So, as important as quality content and engagement is, we need to make sure that we have our websites in order as well.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like this post, Ken. Hopefully I can keep my blog audience engaged with good storytelling and quality content.


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