Unpacking the VJ Jargon

I’ve been wanting to tackle a request to unpack a few terms from the Visual Journalism Bootcamp “Top 10 Lessons List” for some time, so here goes:

Strategic Dissonance (as I understand it)
Dissonance, by definition, is a lack of harmony.  As part of the summer VJ Bootcamp we attended, author Tony Deifell introduced the idea that the very nature of messaging – be it news, education or advertising – is in crisis (lack of harmony) because of the emergence of multi-platform, web-based content.   Using words that left me wishing I’d brought a thesaurus, Deifell explained how 21st Century communications are at a point of great calamity AND great opportunity.  How we adapt to the explosion of new communication methods and models of business ultimately will determine the future of communicators and their industry.  As such, Deifell urges New Media practitioners to get strategic in their approach to plying their trade.

Content Marketing
Content Marketing breaks the top-down approach of advertising with a new means of promotion that involves more listening than messaging.  It recognizes that we as consumers have become too savvy or cynical to believe what we’re fed by manufacturers and their soothsayers.   Content marketing is created to engage, inform and inspire the ongoing dialogue of target audiences through Social Media.  In doing so, we can come alongside those we wish to serve (or sell to), learn where they are at and craft content that can help meet their needs.  In so doing, we stand the chance of earning trust and building relationship.

Content Strategy
This is the dark side of Content Marketing that involves the use of web-gathered metrics to identify and target audiences who are pre-qualified or predisposed to whatever product or service you are hoping to promote and then engaging them with a progressive series of messages designed to elicit a certain response.  In its slimiest form, it can mean hiring actors or “alts” to play multiple roles to feed and ultimately steer a conversation or comment thread in carefully selected online communities (i.e. chats, forums, message boards, etc).  Some of the nicer examples include shock-value and humorous ads, that a producer will hope “goes viral”.

Stop Motion: Macbook Pro – Box Opening from Craig Pulsifer on Vimeo.

 

 

2 Comments

  • CP says:

    BradJ :

    Some studies indicate that kids are watching more TV than ever (which is somewhat of a shock), while they’ve added 10s of hours of internet time per week. Everything’s happening concurrently, distractedly, and our work has to be really good to cut through the clutter. Really, really good.

    Preach it, brotha!

  • BradJ says:

    Strategic Dissonance is a major one. Communications specialists are being placed in the centre of a myriad of tensions, both old and new. How many times have you heard that the internet isn’t replacing any form of media? Instead we’re told that there’s room for each of them to exist. Despite some obviously diminishing returns of ‘old media’, that’s actually true (for now). The internet hasn’t killed magazines. TV hasn’t killed books. Video didn’t even kill the radio star. With substantial differences, they all still exist. And each has a place. Anyone in communications (that’s just about everyone, if you think about it) has to deal with all of them to an unprecedented degree. But that’s not all.

    Our culture has become increasingly fragmented. Micro-cultures (subcultures of subcultures) make memes out of the most unpredictable things, and they scale (or not) in the most unpredictable ways. There are large-scale connection points (eg Facebook and Twitter), but they are all used very individually with varied levels of interest, investment and even success. Some studies indicate that kids are watching more TV than ever (which is somewhat of a shock), while they’ve added 10s of hours of internet time per week. Everything’s happening concurrently, distractedly, and our work has to be really good to cut through the clutter. Really, really good. (Notice how I’m not defining good — “good” is unpredictable.)

    Strategic Dissonance is a great term for the new kind of static/noise that exists. We each have priorities that we pull in from our diverse worldviews, tastes and experiences. Interestingly, each of those is fluid. So just when you think you’ve got it, it shifts on you. Success would mean getting decision-makers to dialogue on this stuff regularly, if not constantly. But it takes a specifically-wired person to even name this problem, let alone come up with solutions. Which only adds to the dissonance…

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