Big Headlines, Little Substance

When planning a conference, it’s always a challenge to decide whether to go for breadth or depth, especially when you only have one day.  At the Mashable Media Summit last week, they went for breadth, which ultimately was a disappointment.

The line-up of speakers was terrific, but the format only allowed for short presentations with limited or no questions.  For a conference on social media, where the message was that it’s all about creating interface and dynamic user experiences, it was unfortunate that the Media Summit had few opportunities to interact and discuss.  More problematic was how some of the best minds in media and social media today—experts in leadership communications—fell back on dull PowerPoint presentations with lots of text to make their points.

Here are some of my take-a-ways:

  • Sharing is the new linking, so news outlets should write headlines for humans and not search engines, says Pete Cashmore of Mashable.
  • The old ad agency model of copywriter and graphics team are replaced now by creative and software developers, because the best advertising today is software and apps.
  • Interface and user experience define brand, according to Tom Bedecarre, Chairman, AKQA 7 President WPP Ventures
  • Tablets are where the real growth is occurring – not mobile – and most sites don’t look great in these formats.
  • We must think about content viewed by users over multiple devices, notes Cashmore.
  • Words are out and visual is in.  Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text, said Pete Cashmore.
  • The way you get a “like” on Facebook matters more than the simple fact that you got it.  Campaigns to get people to “like” you don’t translate into true engagement, according to Frank Speiser, Founder, Social Flow.
  • And finally, a drone may be coming soon to a journalist near you, as Tim Pool, an independent journalist, demonstrated a Brookstone drone of a few hundred dollars can help reporters who can’t get access to an event.  Think capturing Occupy movements when police blocked access.  (Of course, first they have to work out a few things like FAA regulations and air traffic.)

In the end, though, this was a conference of people trying to show how cool and hip they are in a world of rapid change.  It was a stage of catchy phrases and headlines, and pithy and sometimes provocative points about the future of media.  And it only touched on a platform so dynamic that no one completely understands the full extent of both the change and the potential.