For most of us in social media, the challenges of an attention economy are well understood; we often hear “attention” is our currency and in very short supply. Trying to capture attention, promote viral conversations, engage an audience and ultimately, increase our networks and awareness are difficult goals to achieve. Many of us have heard that people in the online world suffer from “Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD), which results in people skimming web pages, snacking on information, only reading bullets, etc.
Given this trend, micro-communications seem like a great answer to this ever-shrinking attention economy. Things like Twitter, Facebook status updates, and micro-blogs like Tumblr should really help us to address this issue. (In fact, I’ve even heard rumblings that “Blogs” are dead, but that discussion is for another post .) While micro-communications are a great way to perhaps grab people’s attention, there still may be something missing.
This was highlighted for me as I was reading “twitpitches” on Friday. A twitpitch summarizes your elevator pitch into 140 characters, usually a link is also included, and you post it to Twitter and tag it with “#twitpitch”. (Naturally, I followed the stream of twitpitches on Twemes .) I must admit that while I liked the concept of twitpitches, there was still something missing. Maybe it’s just that many people have not taken the time to communicate the essence of their pitch, or that 140 characters is too short. But, I definitely felt like I needed to hear more.
Then it hit me, most of the posts were missing the “Art of Storytelling“. In social media, we are constantly saying that to get the most out of these tools, you must participate! This idea is very much along the same lines; you need to participate because you need to create that never-ending story – the story of your life, the story of your thoughts, the story of your moments of genius, etc. – Your Story, however you define it! And, that cannot be summarized into 140 characters such that most people find it compelling and engaging. If you are lucky and/or very skilled, some might, but most of the time, we need to read and hear more.
So, what does this all mean? Yes, we live in an attention-starved economy, and micro-communications are great in capturing attention, as well as allowing us to dole out our stories in snack-sized pieces. However, do not forget that the most engaging and influential personalities are the ones who can build compelling stories (in many cases, bit-by-bit) and those who can take readers/users/listeners on an interesting journey!
Don’t just give me a short description, give me something that intrigues me, piques my interest! I don’t have a lot of time or attention; so, do make it worth my while!