The Intimacy of Imperfection
Yesterday I got an e-mail from one of my marketing heroes, Steven Brock, who runs BlueBear LLC an Interent site usability and research company that works with Fortune 500 companies. In the e-mail was a gem of wisdom which I wanted to share, since it encapsulates a lot of what I’ve been thinking recently.
The issue/challenge across every category that’s trying to find its way online is breaking down the “sterility” of the content. That’s because online, stuff that might work offline looks stiff. The immediacy of the medium requires a new tonality or “voicing” – one that’s off the cuff, more intimate, “behind the scenes” quality. I actually do think there’s a new “voice” to be had here. This is going to sound weird, but think about letters you’ve heard that were written during the Civil War – the formality of the “voicing”. You know what changed that? The telephone. Now, the Internet’s changing it again. It’s changing the way we talk to each other.
I think this is true with regard not only for text, but its even more true with respect to video. What we all used to strive for, highly polished, edited and slick video production, comes off pre-packaged and inauthentic online. YouTube isn’t about great production value, it’s about the intimacy of imperfection. The more slick and edited, the less the message is to be trusted.
There’s a lot of implications here, and if there ever was a time where the idea that publishing on the Web requires different skills and a different sensibility than for publishing in print, that’s time is now.