SXSW – Is Brevity the New Big?

If SXSW this year is any indication, quick communication apps appear to be somewhat of a trend. The year that began with Twitter’s launch of Vine, may become the year of brevity. A time when communication became quicker, shorter, and more efficient. Company, TextReject, for example, takes the typing out of getting rid of someone. Really.

Startup Plympton (recently merged with DailyLit) is reviving the serial novel with today’s technology, making story content delivered in small segments. This, expected to be better suited for today’s stop and go lifestyle.

Poptip enables quick, social voting through Twitter.

And this guy, CharlieHQ literally “briefs” you.

So why in a world of big data, all the little talk?

I posed this question to John McPheters, Founder and CEO ofCLDmkt. Born out of a need to streamline product transactions, his company’s product enables Twitter-based social selling in 140 characters or less. McPheters has been able to anticipate trends as a partner at JDMedia Corp., and shares his insights with Technorati readers in this interview.

Bourque: Is digital communication getting necessarily more concise?

McPheters: Everybody’s attention span is at an all-time low, there is so much information being hurtled at us constantly, from so many directions, and it becomes more and more difficult to focus on anything specific. This will continue to build, as technology evolves, so it is unlikely that it will be any easier to get your audience’s attention.

This forces us all to be more direct and concise with our information to catch and capture the attention in that very short period of time. It’s become all about stripping your message down to its essence, and presenting it in a way that is both easy yet captivating.

Bourque: How long is long enough?

McPheters: In written short text, 140 characters is the perfect amount of space to speak your intentions, interact, and also transact. That was our goal with CLDmkt.

In video, Vine has decided six seconds is right. The key is to keep people engaged. You still have to make good content, but brevity facilitates that.

Bourque: What’s the value of short formats?

McPheters: Short communication means no-frills. Everything is more efficient, and as a byproduct, people are forced to be more direct. This speeds the process of production and consumption.

For social selling, it goes back to showing people the essence of what we are offering. A quick, easy chance to get involved in an online marketplace for whatever reason, and to do so without any kind of stress, delay, cost, or any other intrusion.

For other forms of short communication, the benefits are the same–enabling consumption in ways that fit our new, more active lifestyles.

Bourque: Video has Vine. We’re seeing lots of examples of other Twitter-enabled apps here at SXSW.  What’s the next communication medium to take on shorter signals?

McPheters: Transactions/mobile. Again, people are doing everything on the go. While social has sped up many elements of the game, there are still way too many steps to transact through modern e-commerce. That said, this is quickly changing as business and commerce happens through mobile every day.

Buying/Selling/Trading in general still has a long way to go.

Bourque: Do you have any good tips on how to get the most from fewer characters and fewer minutes of content?

McPheters: Write, subtract unnecessary words and go again. Rinse and repeat! The greatest copywriters make perfect use of every word, the same can be said for video producers as it relates to content production in general. Anything can be de-cluttered when non-essential elements are removed. The audience has arrived at this formula on their own, they want to just get to the point and make their interaction simple. It is up the tech landscape, and sites like CLDmkt and vine to help people express themselves in the shortest, most direct way possible, yet still get them what they want.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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