Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Green fact sheet is a party favor

One of the challenges of blogging is to avoid the pitfalls of linear, authored narrative. The problem is, consumers hunt and peck at best. Mostly reader resent being reduced to being treated as "information consumers" at all. We're just guests here, not devotees.

Right now I am rewriting a company's fact sheets. Clunk.
Creating a "green" or "good" linear narrative misses the point. The design needs to reflect actual use, which is, for fact sheets:

Look at it, snap decision to read on for 5 seconds, flip it over, sniff, we'll OK maybe I'll talk to them.
Effective social objects should be like a party. Does it have a beat; can you enter in on it half way through and still enjoy it. Does it work for you.

The next gen of social object of course goes further than the fact sheet - a one-way piece of communications if ever there was one. But there will always an element of me-making -something. A better role model than the propagandist or artist is the host, because Host-meets-guest is fundamental. It is also reciprocal.

There is an art of leadership involved in creating the nucleus for interaction. Chris Corrigan, whom I've been reading again lately, has applied this notion of hosting to catalyzing inter-organizational change.

"Authorship" implies a controlled narrative. Working in social marketing is not verbal hypnosis, or controlling a conversation with all its puffery. Marketing is just another application of the art of hosting. A fact sheet, after all, can be a fine example of a useful, social object.

OK, now I like my job again.

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