Stream With Me

My jaw is on the ground.
Social media scholar, Danah Boyd, spoke at Web2.0 Expo in New York yesterday and now her talk is available in “print” on her site. Here’s one bite of that nourishing feast:

Consider what it means to be “in flow” in an information landscape defined by networked media and you will see where Web2.0 is taking us. The goal is not to be a passive consumer of information or to simply tune in when the time is right, but rather to live in a world where information is everywhere. To be peripherally aware of information as it flows by, grabbing it at the right moment when it is most relevant and valuable, entertaining or insightful. Living with, in, and around information. Most of that information is social information, but some of it is entertainment information or news information or productive information. Being in flow with information is different than Csikszentmihalyi’s sense, as it’s not about perfect attention, but it is about a sense of alignment, of being aligned with information.
As of late, we’ve been talking a lot about content streams, streams of information. This metaphor is powerful. The idea is that you’re living inside the stream: adding to it, consuming it, redirecting it. The stream metaphor is about reaching flow. It’s also about restructuring the ways in which information flows in modern society.

Please reread the above so we can discuss it intelligently. Thank you.
The takeaway for anyone in advertising, marketing or media is clear. Do not become an impediment in the data stream. Do not pretend to be a boulder, a back eddy or God forbid a dam.
Commercial messages can live in the stream, but only as rafts, canoes or kayaks. In other words, a commercial message in a networked (not broadcast) environment must help deliver the passenger to the desired state of flow.
“Advertising does work when it’s part of the flow itself,” says Boyd.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.