Technology Is Short, But Story Is Long
I have two questions for you:
What comes to mind when I say "Shakespeare?"
What comes to mind when I mention the "water wheel?"
Both were born in the 16th century. Both advanced Elizabethan culture in profound ways. One wrote "Romeo & Juliet."
That's the difference between platform and art.
Technology and story.
Technology can bring you stuff (like water and Facebook posts). Story can change your idea of the stuff you want brought to you.
The technology platforms Rally uses to "bring stuff" to consumers on behalf of our clients have familiar names: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.
We're experts at integrating these platforms and we don't mind saying so. They help ensure our campaigns are as effective as possible.
As storytellers, we feel lucky to have them.
But we also have our eyes wide open and believe you should, too:
Someday, Facebook will fade (or morph into something far different than its current form).
At least one of the social media platforms I've mentioned is destined to become a relic (I don't know which one but I'm sure I'll refer to it fondly from time to time).
Many of the digital and social platforms we can't think of living without will likely meet the same fate as Second Life and Friendster.
It comes down to history, really.
As humans, we often don't remember how the things that impact us are delivered. We don't think very much about the platforms on which they arrive.
We do remember - and value - how things make us feel. Stories, in particular.
Story is what engages us. "When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew."
Story stays with us. "This above all; to thine own self be true."
Story makes us smile. "I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed."
When a platform is no longer the best way to experience the stories that fuel our desires - I'm talking to you Betamax; I mean VHS; I mean DVD - we move onto whatever platform is next.
It's really no big deal.
In fact, most of us (as marketers and as consumers) judge a platform by how well it performs 3 key functions: delivering stories we desire; when and where we desire them; in the form that's easiest to enjoy and share.
As Shakespeare liked to say, "The play's the thing!"
He never said, "The stage (or the platform) is the thing!"
That's why today's major technology and social media enterprises - Apple and Amazon and Facebook and Google - are in the throes of a hiring frenzy. Not just for developers and coders, but for art directors and writers and strategists and storytellers.
That's why Facebook, the behemoth that once cajoled marketers into adopting "more useful metrics" such as "likes" and "engagement," has unapologetically tossed its old playbook.
In fact, Facebook now extols its virtues as a "storytelling medium" and an "awareness" play.
Hey, who can blame them.
Do they want to eventually "disintermediate" their agency "partners" and work directly with brands? Of course they do. But that's an article for another time.
What they are doing now is acknowledging that the moment they become less than the best at delivering what people desire - relevant ideas and stories created by those who know how to create relevant ideas and stories - that's the moment their value disappears. And, in many cases, their business (sorry, Meerkat).
Sure, many of these companies have market capitalizations that surpass the GDP of small countries. So, if you're inclined to judge your digital and social media marketing platforms by how wealthy they're making company founders and Wall Street advisors then, my apologies, this article has been a waste of your time.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to evaluate these platforms by how successful they are at getting people on Main Street to buy your frozen dinners or purchase your handbags or visit your chain of restaurants, you'll want to make sure you delve more deeply into just how well they can deliver the most powerful, compelling, enduring, and memorable deliverable any platform can deliver:
As Shakespeare put it: "It's not in the stars to hold our destiny, but ourselves."
I'll see you and your story down the road - on whatever platform comes next.
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