Transforming content that is vaporous into something permanent, substantial

Wrigley Building in Fog

Newspaper sites have a problem. They have an immense amount of visitors coming to their site from from google. Sounds like a a good thing? It is. But that’s only half the picture.

These same visitors visit one page and then leave. We’ve all done it as readers.

If a newspaper site puts all their effort into SEO, they are leaving the other half of the funnel ignored. What they could focus more on is how to get these visitors to spend more time on the site. Even better, what can be done to get these visitors to come back to the site repeatedly?

The one-time visitors are like vapor. They exist one moment, and then they are gone.

Weather photos
A neat tactic that tv news broadcasts use is user-submitted weather photos. Contributing photos gets viewers to feel like they are participating in the broadcast. The news show gets to look like they are community friendly.

But once the segment airs, then it’s over and done. Like vapor, it’s gone.

Why not have an archive of all the weather photos submitted? Better yet, why not include the 30-second segment of the photo being shown and discussed on air? This segment could be shown alongside the actual photo online.

This permanent landing place would give the contributors a place to show off how their photo was featured on air. It would get their friends to watch a piece of the broadcast and realize, “hey, this news show is actually pretty good. They care about my friends.”

What was once a vapor is now a concrete archive. As the collection grows, the gallery of images will become a central place for people to see how the seasons turn.

Do you have content that is like a vapor?

Tweets come to mind as being extremely vaporous. One moment here, next moment gone. Storify is one method of making an curated collection of great tweets.

Why put all the effort into something to only have it disappear in a day, in an hour? The constant stream of Instagram photos is ridiculous. There isn’t a super easy way to make collections or gallery of curated Instagram photos (Please correct me if I’m missing something). Flickr, however is an immensely feature-rich photo sharing service. You can put photos into collections, galleries, and sets. Photos can be shared via public groups. Your tagged photos are readily available. Flickr is so flexible, it makes Instagram look like a brick. (never mind the fact that Instagram claims forever rights to your photos even if you delete them from their service. Note: flickr never claims rights to your photos).

Instagram is a vapor. Flickr is concrete. The photo featured above is from my flickr account. Finding the photo was very easy. Embedding the photo, piece of cake.

Other examples?
If you think of other examples of how content is like a vapor, please share your thoughts in the comments. (By the way, comments on blogs are concrete and archived. Posts on Google Plus and tweets tend to be vapor).

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3 thoughts on “Transforming content that is vaporous into something permanent, substantial”

  1. This blog post was inspired by laying in bed, thinking about clouds. We on the ground look up at the clouds and they appear to use as white shapes. But when you are in the middle of the cloud it’s just regular air. That made me think if clouds look back down on earth, can they see a different type of cloud on the groud? Perhaps something electromagnetic?

    Combining this thought wonderment along with an interesting article I read recently: “2013: The Year ‘the Stream’ Crested” (shared by the ever-smart @jamespinnick), you then get this blog post about vapor and content.

  2. It might be ironic that I encourage media companies to re-use other people’s photos, yet I discourage Instagram on the basis that they could reuse your photos. But there is a difference in the social contract in the two services.

    When you submit your photo to a weather newscast, you are readily giving them rights to do whatever they wish with your photo. You are putting your weather photo out to the wind and letting it fly in any direction the newscast/media-company wishes to take it.

    However, with Instagram. The unspoken social contract (also known as expectations) is that you can safely put your photos on Instagram and they won’t reuse it for other purposes. Your instagram account is a representation of you. You as a person. You as an individual. Those are your photos you are posting on your account. However, instagram’s terms doesn’t treat your photos that way. Sure, you still own your photo, but they claim to be able to use your photo in any manner they wish–essentially taking over your photos for their own purposes. That would be a break in the social contract that we expect out of a photo service like instagram.

  3. Pingback: For creators, searchers, readers, and curators | Matt Maldre


  • For creators, searchers, readers, and curators | Matt Maldre

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