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The 10 Second Novel: Storytelling on Social Platforms

Posted on March 5, 2015 in Industry Insight

I write for different online magazines outside of working at Three Pillars. A lot of what I write about is lifestyle, so think about those Buzzfeed lists about where you should eat/drink in Atlanta. That’s basically what I write about.  Got me to thinking about the idea of literature and storytelling in our society today. The growing digital age has seen a shift in interaction, moving towards looking into a screen as opposed to looking into someone’s eyes. Our dwindling attention span is causing businesses to re-evaluate their content marketing, and create new plans of action in order to engage with the digital audience.

There isn’t a silver bullet for all businesses to use in this challenge, all businesses have different audiences. But they are turning towards social platforms as their weapon of choice. As social media has become our modern day magazines, bringing present day content the moment it happens, businesses are trying to find the next big thing to reach out to their people. The generic choices are Facebook and Twitter, but lots of companies are looking towards the video-driven platforms to break through to their audience. The stars of this show: Snapchat and Vine.

Snapchat recently launched a new feature called Discover. The goal for Discover is for the user to take a “sneak peek” into the companies’ day to day antics. Large companies like CNN, Daily Mail, Yahoo! And Warner Music have already jumped on the chance to use Snapchat’s Discover function.  For the company, it serves as another outlet to bring short, concise information that is also interactive. For example, Warner Music wrote a quick article marketing one of their artists, Jason Derulo. The blurb takes only 30 seconds to read, and it gives off fun little facts about him, too. Like a user’s Snapchat story, the Discover material only lasts 24 hours.

For something a little shorter, Vine is a social platform where users can create 7 second videos. Usually ending up in hilarity, this platform gives people the opportunity to create short stories, and sometimes advertisements. Companies really need to get creative when it comes to creating catchy content for users to watch over and over. The line between content and advertising is blurred completely, but the platform serves the right purpose in getting users’ attention to what the company is all about.

Unlike the orthodox banner ad, Discover is paving a new path for advertising on a social platform. It create a connection between the company and user, both telling their own stories for each day. But as the connection between the two grows, the line between ads and content wanes. As a result, companies need to keep in mind the differences between ads and content, and not heavily relying on one or the other.