Was there a particular subject matter that interested you? What was it about it that grabbed - and retained - your attention? Was it the writing? Perhaps the visuals?
Now think back at the material you actually used. You didn't simply read it, you wrote in the margins, you used pieces of paper or post it notes to mark specific parts so you could refer back to them later.
Take a look at your product or company brochures - what is the next thing you're going to do when you produce a new one?
The reason why so much marketing communications materials sucks - and I'm in the business, so I may say so - is that they ware not that compelling. Is it for lack of story? Maybe the dots are not connected as to why someone, anyone should care. A determination is made as to audience, what should be in it, etc. Yet the exercise, if you will, doesn't go far enough.
What is someone really going to learn from reading this? How are they going to use it? Most importantly, how are they going to feel? Are not part of the consideration. It's hard enough making those priorities for online user experience, isn't it? Then there's the committee thing - reviews upon reviews, agreements reached, getting everyone on the same page - except for the page is, well, not that moving.
Often the culprit for less than compelling material, what we call with a highly technical term - marketing fluff - is the lack of personality. Even when there's good narrative or story there, there is no point of view. And without a point of view, there is little, no make that "no" point. Without a point of view, what you have is, well, marketing fluff.
Point of view has not changed because of social media. It has not evolved, and blossomed all of a sudden. It was not invented through sharing more information, resources, tips of connections online or off line. Point of view has always been there, part of the human desire to put things on the record.
When Dante Alighieri wrote the Inferno - and the rest of the (Divine) Comedy - he was not inventing a new way of being human. He wrote the opus in a language that nobody had thought fit to write high level stuff in before - the Florentine dialect. He did that beautifully, weaving in the stories of his time - philosophy, theology, politics, the arts, astronomy and more on top of them.
He did it artfully, by employing allegory and the terza rima, an hendecasyllabic (lines of eleven syllables) structure, with the lines composing tercets according to the rhyme scheme aba, bcb, cdc, ded, etc. That in itself was a feat.
Those are not the reasons why his work is enduring, as compelling as they may seem. His words resonate because he wrote it in the first person. This is my journey, he wrote, and it goes through all of these situations.
You follow him through the adventure - and you see with his eyes, feel what you would feel in his place. Who would you put in that special place in Inferno? Exactly. Another writer I had the pleasure of meeting in the first person was Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Blithedale Romance (1852), his only work written that way.
Why the examples, why do you care? Because when a work is written to speak to us directly, when it has personality, when it connects with us emotionally - it is remembered, and used. That's why. Much of what resonates with social media is the ability to have an exchange and a dialogue with someone who has a point of view.
We speak of listening a lot - and that is good. Part of listening is also the ability to talk and write your side of the conversation so that it demonstrates you have heard. We bypass the marketing fluff. The opposite of fluff is not lots of hard data. The opposite of fluff is a decision. It's standing for something and communicating your point of view - however long or short it takes.
The connection is your feedback.
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.