Saturday, November 12, 2011

Twitter is dead. Long live Twitter.

If a tree falls in the Twitter forest no one will hear it. If a tree falls in the Twitter forest everyone will hear it.  The above statements all depend on which tree and who is listening. Twitter is Dead, Long Live Twitter.

Over the last year, we have built the foundation of a digital publishing platform; I say foundation because the development of that platform is nowhere near complete. We have a vision of what that platform can become, the kinds of products it will be capable of developing and the kinds of audiences it will engage.  At the moment, as with all things in life, it’s a work in progress.

We started our business from a very simple place. At our first meeting the team sat down and created a list of core values. Those values, which are listed on our about page, are meaningful to us as parents and meaningful to us a people. We also believe that many people share these values.  The question now is how do we express our selves and our commitment to those values so that we can be aligned with people of like mind in order to facilitate the exchange of products and ideas. ( I say exchange because consumerism is now a two way street, more on that later.) 

Enter twitter. 

Reaching out to the market place through social media has been humbling. At times it feels like walking into the Cow Palace during the middle of a Who concert and whispering the details of our business plan. At the same moment Pete Townshend is doing arm circles, Roger Daltrey is screaming ‘same as the old boss’, John Entwistle is thumping 8 fingers of blistering bass line melodies and Keith Moon is being Keith Moon (actually he's passed out and a kid from Oakland who was called out of the audience is playing drums – true story).  All the while everyone in the place is lit five ways to Friday and going crazy. If ever there was, this was, beautiful joyful, ecstatic noise. Your heard nothing. You felt everything. 

The Cow Palace is Twitter. 
Meet the new boss. 

From a distance Twitter appears to be about the commerce of personality. Everyone is selling something and they want it to appear that they are selling it through themselves. Yet beyond its superficiality, Twitter is, at its 140 character heart, a value based communication platform. Communication as Webster’s defines it is; information transmitted or conveyed.  What Websters fails to mention is the part about value and so does the ‘How To Use Twitter’ manual.  Value is always implicit to information. Knowledge is power and that is what is truly the at the core of Twitter’s social communication platform. Valuable information used as knowledge in the power of choice and action. 

As a company, we have a communication conundrum. We’ve created a value-based product that requires some level of understanding in order to be enjoyed and appreciated. In developing our first round of products we were clear about what we wanted to be and what we didn’t want to be. Much of the “what we are not” was intentional. Some of it was financial. We are not Disney.  We are not Dreamworks. We are not more TV for your kids on the iPad. We are not Activision or EA. We are not more games for your childrens' twitch habit  and  we are definitely not the best value in the realm of digital baby sitters. 

We have worked to develop a quiet experience that supports focus and discovery for very young children. We want our product to be a nourishing part of the childhood experience. Our digital  story experience is a supplement to the traditional picture book. We strive for simplicity so that children can still do what books have always inspired them to do – imagine.  We don’t pre-render your child’s imagination. We allow children to discover and explore. We create a simple sense of movement with the page and allow them to imagine more. It's like a puppet show at the library. It’s simple and we hope inspiring. It is for sure unique. 

Where we find ourselves at this moment is to begin to express our core values into the cacophonous realm of chaos that is twitter. That tree falling in the twitter forest is our message and it’s clear that no one may hear us. I intuitively know that there is no quick fix for this nor should there be. We have to be in this for the long run because the worth of any value is in the demonstration of its commitment over time. A value becomes more valuable when it is measured depth over duration. 

Social media is people.  It is people communicating their values to each other. In order for us to be effective we have to pay attention to the message, the delivery and the follow through as they relate to and demonstrate our values. 

OMG - Dancing With The Stars Is On!



H A R R Y G O A Z said...

SUPER blog, Sean !

Sean Naughton said...

Thanks Harry! I really appreciate your kind words.