In his article in Razorfish and titled "A Look at Key Emerging Media Trends," Jeremy Lockhorn, an emerging media expert, focuses on four ideas concerning the tremendous impact of interactive media: The Web is Everywhere, Out of Home Has Gone Digital, The Return of Personalization and It's a Wide World of Widgets (After All).
"There seems to be a widget" – now we're talking apps, of course, because this is 2010 – "for just about everything under the sun, and more are on the way," Lockhorn writes. "There are many keys to building a successful widget but chief among them is to provide value to the audience. This isn't about cramming your entire site into a tiny space; it's about figuring out what unique and relevant piece of value you have to offer and crafting something around that."
Lockhorn adds: "To do this right, you need to understand your audience, what social environments they participate in online and why exactly they're there. People sometimes maintain multiple profiles on a single network for different personas, a professional profile and a party profile, for example. Sometimes they use different sites for different reasons. This proliferation of different personalities means you must understand the audience and how they're using a specific environment. Further, it's not enough to just insert a brand message; you must bring more value, ask the audience to participate and give them the tools to share."
I'm headed soon to a meeting with my colleagues in which we will discuss how we might better communicate among ourselves (faculty and staff), our primary customers (current and future students), our valued consultants (alumni and parents) and other partners and supporters (the rest of the university). It remains to be seen how far we are behind and or how quickly we can move to be not just current, but truly distinctive, digital and diverse.
I know this much: many of my colleagues see the need to grab hold of the latest media to emerge. I look forward to working with them and to learning a lot from my two graduate courses, Craft of Digital Storytelling and Emerging Media. It is the latter for which I will posting to this blog at least once weekly as a course assignment.
Here's hoping that as the semester progresses and Apple releases its latest version of iLife – someone told me today it will enable us mere mortals all to develop iPad apps – that my Web site, whether this one or yet another one that I create over some weekend, demonstrates that I am keeping abreast of emerging media.
Oh yes, to answer Lockhorn's question above, I contend that just as a book will always need a great cover – either on a bookstore bookshelf or in iBooks in iTunes – the home page will still matter for any Web-based presentation.