From Big Data to Intimate Data

“The blog is the social media rug that ties the room together.”

I heard this great line yesterday at #ThinkContent from LinkedIn’s Jason Miller.


I have been writing my blog for nearly ten years and couldn’t agree more. A blog is the space where you can develop ideas you can merely touched upon in a Tweet or FB post. Blogging adds depth to your social media presence.


At the conference, I also heard that content marketing isn’t only about content. You have to create an experience. And it has to be memorable for people to want to come back. This is so true in internal social…but we often forget. When we use a senior exec’s blog to engage staff, we can’t only focus on words. It’s the tapestry of the experience that matters. We have to ask ourselves: How will an employee reading it feel?  Will it give them confidence? How can we enhance the impact of the post by adding video or may be…VR?


Content is becoming multidimensional. I like the VIVID 360 video Virgin Media created for its social media followers. It’s a VR invitation to a party. By moving your phone around or clicking and dragging, you can navigate the room and see who’s there. It’s pretty basic, but it works. I can picture a town hall with a CEO streamed in a similar way sometimes soon.


I also liked what Virgin Media’s Gill Worby said about content never being owned by a single person, but being the result of a relationship with several stakeholders (including some unusual ones.. like legal). This is what social collaboration in the enterprise is all about.


NewsCred CEO Shafqat Islam made me laugh when he referred to personas as “mythical unicorn people”. His point being that we tend to focus too much on them. We should rather use behavioural analysis and look at how people interact with our content, ask ourselves “What did they do during their last interaction?” I can so relate to this. Personas are often deceiving because the needs of the people they are meant to portray never stop to evolve. Social content users have become much more complex. You can no longer pin them down through a simple audience segmentation exercise.


I was inspired by the poet and YouTuber Hussain Manawer. He said that these days “inclusion overrides endorsements”. Social media is no longer a number game. It’s no longer about how many followers you have, it is about reaching out in an inclusive way. “All that matters is the connection… your legacy!”


Watch this video Hussain posted and you’ll understand what I mean. While campaigning for Mental Health Matters, he stood on Oxford Street (one of the most inhuman and soul-destroying places in London) blindfolded with a sign saying “If you have been through/are going thorough depression or anxiety. Hug Me!”. What happens in the video will bring tears to your eyes.

Hussain also told the audience that “the one thing you can’t cheat in life is your passion”. Boy, haven’t we all been there?  Haven’t we all desperately tried to inject our passion into empty corporatese just to realise that it doesn’t work?


I left #ThinkContent wondering about the future. According to Zenith’s Tom Goodwin, here is what we have to prepare for:


  1. Digital is disappearing. The concept of a digital agency or digital strategy is rooted in the old world. Ask young people to define online and they won’t know what you are talking about. Because… for online to exist there would need to be an offline and that’s not the world they live in, they don’t know what offline is.
  2. Infinite screen. We used to have a world of separate devices (TV, radio, PCs..). Now everything is becoming converged. Devices are everywhere… images and text can be projected on the dashboard of your car.
  3. From big data to intimate data. “Would you pass your phone to the person next to you?”, Tom asked. Nervous stares in the room…. You got the point. Our mobile phone is one of the most personal things we have ever known. For content to stick, it has to become part of that intimate data.
  4. New reality. AR will radically change the way we think about screens. So far, we have been creating content that fits in a rectangle… that’s about to change.
  5. More mediated than ever. Every single moment in our lives has become a media opportunity (think of how many times you pull out your phone to check FB while waiting for the bus…). And, I would add, an internal comms opportunity for content distributed through mobile intranets…
  6. The internet is changing. We used to search, but now pieces of info are sent to us when we need them. Take the Dark Sky Weather App for example, which alerts you an hour before if begins to rain so you will know what to wear when you leave the house. Believe me, If you leave in England, it doesn’t get more intimate than this!

Views my own




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