I’ve been meaning to get to this very short, simple post for a week, so let me tell anyone out there who is considering administering a contest: Even if it’s only an annual contest, it’s going to suck up your time, and if you are diligent about keeping time for yourself you will find you don’t get much done on the contest.
Anyway: I found the above TED talk extremely interesting for the context it lends to the current disruption in media. It tells about the advent of pop-up books for children. If you think about it, that is the beginning of animation — someone creates drawings with parts that the users can see move in front of them. You can understand how children’s literature is forever changed by this, just as the first motion picture, the first talking motion picture, the first television program, etc., changed how people conceived of how stories could reach them. As I have pointed out often, we are in an accelerated period of evolution in the changing nature of storytelling. It’s important to remember it didn’t start when we entered the business, otherwise we would all go crazy (not that we won’t anyway).
Related to this, last week Nieman Journalism Lab highlighted some stats from Facebook about one element of the current curve in storytelling’s evolution, reporting + social media interaction. The good news: commentary and analysis — in other words, depth, produced by people who know what they are talking about — does well. The hazard: so does humor. People, if you have just one takeaway today, let it be this: Funny is hard. If you try the humor route, start soft, start slow, start very non-partisan, and pretend every member of every branch of your family not only will read it but has your cell phone number.