Digital Trend: “Going Photo”

Last night, for Social Media Week NYC, I went to the Instagram Community Party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, which was a blast. Great music, people, and conversation. Instagram was projecting photos being posted to Instagram during the party in real time on the walls, which was pretty amazing. As we all stared at the pictures moving around and excitedly pointed when we saw ourselves and our friends, I started thinking about a growing trend in the digital space: “going photo.”

Photos @ Instagram Party, NYC 2/15

Ok, so I’m particularly interested in this because I’m a visual learner, thinker, and dreamer. I always have been. The days of the week are color coded in my head. I dream in vivid color (which can be terrifying when you dream of zombie wars, but my mom says means I am creative).

And that, combined with my being a marketer, is why I am completely infatuated with the way digital design and content is going.   Think about it:

Social Media 
With sites like Pinterest, Tout, TumblrInstagram, and YouTube, we have more visual stimulation than ever. We are sharing content, telling stories, and showing off in a more visual fashion.

Site designs 
Look at the websites of NYU Stern, or Rutgers-Newark, or Livingsocial or Groupon. Stories are now being told through beautiful high resolution photos which are trumping text. Content blocks are turning into big photos with small text teasers.

NYU Stern's Website

Memes & Infographics
Both are retweeted/shared/emailed like hell. From the Ryan Gosling Memes to the “What I really do” Memes…we are obsessed with seeing a picture relate to a short – and usually witty – message.  And it’s like when we see that [INFOGRAPHIC] word next to a post, we NEED to see what it says. Infographics summarize interesting data in a visual way, which is great when you’re surfing the twitter timeline hungry for “infosnacks.” At social media week I even saw “real-time” infographics, which were updated as the event went on!

So, as a visual person, I love it. As a marketer, it makes me think: Are photos the new headline? Should we be investing in infographic design instead of writing that story? Should we invest in that professional photographer and make more photos accessible of our products/brands for sites like Pintrest?

Yes, I think so. After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words.

And in case you’re curious:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
And I did not choose these colors, its just the way they were set up in my brain 🙂

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“An Interest in Pinterest”

So I’m sure you’ve heard. Pinterest is huge. I’m actually going to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the future of social media at Rutgers and am excited to bring up some ideas I have for us to use Pinterest (muhahaha).
I found this great slideshow  by @stedavies that explains, very simply and perfectly, what Pinterest is and does best. After reading about how  it’s driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Shareaholic, I figured it was worth a post 😉

Why Rebecca Black?

Recently, I kept seeing people tweet about a ‘Rebecca Black’. I ignored this because I just assumed she was some American Idol contestant or something. Then after a few days, I saw the headline Lady Gaga thinks Rebecca Black is a Genius so I figured, OK, if The Gags thinks she’s a genius, then she is probably some sort of crazy and now I have to check this out.

My first stop: Wikipedia, which had only one sentence telling me she was a pop singer. Then I was sent an article (thanks @nricchio) about how the 13-year old girl’s music video had gone viral on YouTube and become the #33 most downloaded song on iTunes in a matter of days… for being so terrible. I watched the video of her single “Friday,”  which confirmed that this girl was not pop-star material. I kept clicking on more and more articles. There were tons about her, almost all of them making fun of her less than mediocre voice and thoughtless lyrics. People have been blogging, tweeting, sharing, and spreading the word about how bad Rebecca Black is,  which is all making her instantly famous and giving her a pretty penny.

To be honest, I agree with the masses. The video, the song, are both bad. Awful, in fact. But I don’t see why this video got so much buzz. As I write this, it has about 10 million more views than Gaga’s latest hit. Typically when people go viral on YouTube it’s because they are embarrassing themselves much worse, like Star Wars Kid or Scarlet when she takes that hilarious tumble. I just don’t think Rebecca Black is on the same level. I know she is not the first vocally challenged singing teenager who posted a video on YouTube. So why Rebecca Black????

A few articles I have read (like this one) seem to think this was all set up: a complete viral marketing plan thought up by the company who produced her video  (in which case, they should consider expanding their services to social media consulting). Bloggers are saying  the company may have known it was bad the video was and recognized it’s viral potential, so they pushed it along. I might agree with this, but this theory makes me ask, who is making money off of this virality? The company doesn’t have her on a recording contract. They don’t make money when she sells songs or has hits to her website (yes, she has a website). The company isn’t really making bank unless other people start wanting their production services also.  Would this plan guarantee that? If it’s exposure they’re after, however, that did get that. The video, which at the time of this writing has more than 40 million views, is hosted on their YouTube page. And we all know the YouTube effect – we never only watch ONE video.

All I know is, we social media and pop culture addicts are most likely either hating Rebecca Black’s popularity or studying it. And for those of us writing about her, well, we’re contributing to it.