The future will be spoken in images. Words will be used in small quantities, as a laser pointer to highlight a meaning or to elicit an emotion- mostly laughter. We are already on our way to this new language if you are a teenager or hang around teenagers. Facebook is so ten minutes ago and Instagram and Snap Chat are the mechanisms by which they communicate. Capturing the moment and sharing it is the new art form. And it is less a broadcast mechanism like Facebook and Twitter, which opens your content to everyone and more a select tribe. Also, snaps disappear in seconds; no long term record of what has passed… The kids are all about this moment and the only way into their attention is through a personal invitation.
I know most of this because I still live with teens. And I know when I have hit a nerve about one of these apps when my daughter tells me, “no, you don’t want Snapchat..” This tells you this is where the real action is. Playing around with Snapchat, I can see how it gets addicting. Visual intimacy is powerful. We feel like we are with someone looking at a 3 second video when we aren’t. This speaks to the rise of the Vine app. The limit there is 6 seconds, which seems so insignificant as to be meaningless. But no, these are the attention spans we are now working with and there are some teenagers making huge sums of money making 6 second Vines that capture a lot of attention.
Marketers are, of course, trying to get in on the technology, and apparently there is a holy grail of 12 advertisers now on Instagram. The founders know that as soon as it becomes commercial it is dead. The kids are leading and they are not interested in our commercial messaging. Talk about reinventing the world- who watches TV? Certainly not the commercials. Unless of course they are cool, then they just watch them on purpose on Youtube.
How to bridge this generation gap that is widening with each successive new technology? I think the answer is to have something to say that is meaningful. Stop selling and start teaching something that these young people, the future of our species needs to know. They will listen and maybe you will get like 100 likes…maybe.