Content is still King

In a world where new technology and media platforms seem increasingly important, it is easy to overlook the basics when communicating.

Often the heart of a message is about finding the emotion that connects with your audience and creating a trigger for them to respond.

This couldn’t be a criticism levelled at Twitter who launched their new stories platform this week. As a marketing campaign, producing a handful of case studies demonstrating the impact of your product isn’t a revolutionary concept.

Even creating a well designed website for those case studies to sit within isn’t the idea of the century, but there is a lot more to the site and the idea behind it.

There is no real format for the stories although they have some things in common. All tell a story about how Twitter has helped a person or organisation, all of the testimonials are short and pithy. In fact Mike Massimino’s entry is shorter than his original tweet.

The navigation takes you quickly and simply through the site offering you the chance to share them. It’s the stories that are the stars, though. Twitter has managed to cram a lot of emotion in to the site. It reminds me of Ernest Hemmingway who was challenged to write a story in six words – he came up with “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Twitter will be adding new stories every month, crowd sourcing tales they would never be able to discover for themselves. This first batch seems to be trying to show the depth of what could be included on the site – from historic moments to examples of commercial success to lives being saved.

It is also interesting that none of the well known examples are in there, like the Hudson plane crash or the rescuing of James Karl Buck from an Egyptian prison.

Facebook already has a similar platform but all of the stories are formatted in the same way. In a role reversal, it is the Twitter site that comes alive with the use of videos and images to illustrate them where appropriate.

Twitter isn’t the only social media site looking at stories. Storify has updated its user interface to make creating social media stories even easier.

If you haven’t seen it before, it is a way of collating and mashing social media updates, images and videos with commentary and website links to create your own story.

The new interface makes it easier to create bookmarks to sites without being logged into you account and improves your ability to drag and drop elements to put together a story.

What I like about the Storify site is the ability to take people on a journey with few rules. Like a good novel, you can start the story in the middle before taking your audience back to the start.

The effectiveness of a site like this is down to the story. It doesn’t matter how you tell your stories – if the story doesn’t connect with your audience and lacks human emotion, no social media platform will make it stand out.

Posted by Thomas Atcheson.