Saturday, July 12, 2008

Content, design patterns and relationship porn

Listening to a speaker talk about News. And what news is.
It’s a seminar on Social Media by the good people at Geist. It’s a great event, good value. And as the speaker goes on it occurs to me that News is worse than we thought.

The pattern of content delivery, whether it is the CNN News musical intro, or New York Times masthead and navigation structure, is the brand that has the value. It is “high concept.” Like a sitcom bible and story arc, it is King, it is the primary design pattern that earns the most money. The content writes itself under that banner.

But people today are stepping past the brand banner and are entering a world that is about designing-my-own-interface. They are picking out “content” according to what they want, and putting it on their blog, facebook profile page, igoogle page, and browser home page. It is a collage of brands and branded content and floating stories.

But in the end, even this doesn't do much for us...what lies under the hunger for stories, is as critical as the relationships that hover under our bits of gossip. This strata is independent of publishing, independent of story. The real deal isn’t concrete content, or even my brand pattern.

Maybe we like bits of news content, because they distract us and feed our desire. If so, fair enough. But there should be a struggle IMO: probably worth considering thinking, in the background, that as I consume this content, that what I am building and reading is a kind of relationship porn.

An Ecobitz design pattern gag:

2 comments:

I Am The Russian Queen said...

"The pattern of content delivery, whether it is the CNN News musical intro, or New York Times masthead and navigation structure, is the brand that has the value. It is “high concept.” Like a sitcom bible and story arc, it is King, it is the primary design pattern that earns the most money. The content writes itself under that banner."

JD, fascinating. The relationship between pattern/content; time/eternity; pattern/design and eternity. One of my poetic obsessions: how time is distilled in rhyme/or not; in word/patterns.

The NY Times masthead and everything about its "brand" seems to be saying to the reader: I Am the Voice of Authority and you are the little reader.

LynMarie said...

"Maybe we like bits of news content, because they distract us and feed our desire." Great point. I've been noticing this distraction factor and trying (not always successfully) to stay aware of it in my own reading habits. I'm also becoming more aware of how the larger news media offers distractions, especially now with the U.S. elections going on.

The news on the candidates is a highly entertaining spectacle but not much more. I wonder if all the shouting and arguing is to keep us emotionally attached to watching our TVs instead of going out into the world to create the change we'd like to see.

CNN and FOX are especially good at this game, with all the "experts" coming on to do our thinking for us and argue fruitlessly with other experts. Entertaining? Oh yes. But it also creates a false sense of being involved in the political process when we are really sitting comfortably on the couch being entertained.