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Seth Godin: Designing Our Ideas to be Spread

tumblr_mlqhdipnzf1qe0lqqo2_r1_500-05012013I’ve always been utilitarian–not overly concerned with fashion. That’s not a boast, it’s a lament: I confess to being more preoccupied with ideas than the various forms atoms take. But I’m coming around. I’m starting to think more about what is sharable. Pretty things matter because pretty things move around in our culture: photos, design, elegantly packaged ideas. Unexpected videos. Things that are well-lit or unusual. Baubles attract and hold the attention of babies and today’s adults alike. Visual simplicity and elegance are part of what helps an idea stick.

This is sort of a big deal. It is something we know for others but not so much for ourselves. Because we think our own ideas are inherently interesting. Seth Godin talked about this in his post yesterday and the day before. He talked about doing the work whether or not you get picked for fame. And making things sharable. Those posts are worth reading.

If I have some message to deliver, just plopping out the linear logic on paper pulls in only the most interested and committed insiders. Everyone else keeps walking thinking “nothing to see here.” Old school marketing was all about setting features into bullets for the interested reader to scan. But the interested reader was buried in the local cemetery years ago: only distracted readers walk the earth today. I’ve said over and again that blocks of copy scare people away—even people who self-identify as readers. Too much to read. Too slow.

But an image…now that is sharable. An image intrigues in a very different way.

So—today’s writer must sort out how to engage with a visual generation. Sure, we’ve known this for forever and those who have taken it to heart for the messages they need to deliver are the ones being heard today. One of our daughters feels that getting rid of the ugly in the world is part of her life work. As a writer I’m thinking about adopting that stance—I’m becoming more intent on locating images and simple analogies to help me tell the deep story that I need to tell.


Image credit: Mel Karch via MPD

Written by kirkistan

May 1, 2013 at 10:02 am

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