Mobile Will Restore Brevity to Media

Motorola Xoom tablet

If social media endangered the 30 second spot, then mobile media will restore brevity to content creation. Smaller screens, less convenient input methods for text, the ability to create user generated visual media on the fly, and an evolving series of socially empowered mobile media will challenge content creators to serve a new reader. Long blog posts and articles are best read on computers and tablets, while short videos, photos and brief updates will be preferred on smartphones.

Time seems to be on mobile’s side. As 4G enters the marketplace, lightening fast wireless broadband will become an empowering technology. By 2014, mobile Internet use is expected to surpass desktop use. Consider that wireless empowered smartphones and tablets will continue to drive down the digital divide. Africa’s entire information infrastructure expects to leapfrog landline telecommunications and computers.

Serving this growing content market is not as easy as creating an app for that. As Pew research reveals, there is an app gap: “…almost half of U.S. adults get local news on mobile devices [47%], just 1 in 10 use apps to do so.” And it’s not like more folks don’t have smartphones. The app gap exists in spite of three in 10 Americans owning smartphones.

Mobile friendly web sites continue to be a critical component of success. That means rethinking content for multiple types of media will become more and more important. This is not something to sweep under the rug until a later date.

Media will need to become briefer, tighter, and should be built with the expectation of less feedback from users on mobile devices. What does brief content look like? Short videos under two minutes, microblogs with shorter content, pictures, applications, smart use of text messaging, all with an expectation that input beyond two or three sentences is too much for the average smartphone.

Going back to the Pew Research, of the above mobile news readers, 15% use Twitter vs. 4% of the news consumers. It’s no coincidence that twitter is a 140 character medium, one of the shortest media forms out there (and ideal for text message updates).

Consider the inner copywriter challenged to achieve brevity. Restoring the KISS principle, Keep It Simple… to content will be good after a period full of bells and whistles. After all, waxing poetic is the luxury of long form media. One screen’s worth of content. Can you get the job done in that short of an opportunity?

4 Netsquared Social Good Trends for 2010

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This Ushahidi Crowdmap visualizes the Haitian earthquake aftermath

The folks over at TechSoup/NetSquared have an end-of-year Net2Think Challenge is coming to a close on Saturday. People are submitting their reflections about the hottest trends from the world of innovation and social benefit in 2010. Here are some reflections — big and small — from the year.

1) The big news was the use of mobile as a legitimate grassroots platform in 2010. We first saw this with texting and the American Red Cross’s incredible fundraising drive during the initial Haiti relief drive. Then it continued with the DNC’s canvassing app on the iPhone, a new way to organize grassroots volunteers. And finally, we saw the Apple iPhone app donation issue (led by Beth Kanter) come to the fore at the end of the year, a sure sign of the medium’s importance to the sector.

2) Mark Horvath took the homeless issue and made it a favorite on the social web. One video at a time, one tweet at a time, whether it was walking the parties at SxSW or driving across the country, Mark worked it. His latest initiative WeAreVisible gives the homeless an opportunity to experience networked communities and the opportunities they bring, too. A big hat tip to Mark!

3) Widgets, gadgets and platforms like Crowdrise continued to evolve with sector specific solutions. Often overlooked by the main online space as a secondary market, seeing innovation for social good has been awesome. Grassroots tools are getting better every month, well except when Jumo launeches.

4) Ushahidi flowered this year and became a hot tool for visualizing geographic data. Oil spill, Russian wild fires, earthquakes, etc., all saw Ushahidi used as a tool to better manage situational crisis. Further, it was another example of how mobile, traditional social and geolocation can mash-up, and do it for good.

What are some of the trends you enjoyed in 2010? Don’t forget to submit them for the Net2Think Tank!