How Far Have We Come Since The First “Electric Newspaper”?

Brands need to navigate their presence in the intense flow of modern information, not by creating more information as much as by being especially helpful to people overwhelmed by tons of increasingly untrustworthy information.

The first US “electric newspaper” appeared in Los Angeles In 1931.

The marvel of this first display was that it could present news “as it happened” – well, at least as fast as it was known to have happened via the then slow and clumsy labyrinth of pre-Internet media connections and hierarchical editorial control (which was mostly for the better, I believe; but not always done with best intentions, I suspect).

Fast-forward to this nano-second

Today, we all publish our own electronic newspapers via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc, etc, etc.

We can publish our take on what ever just (literally) happened (even if it didn’t). No one reads, edits, marks up, or otherwise has any control on our publishing. We just tap away and press send.

All “our takes” on things (observations, rants, opinions, however well-informed or not) enter the mainstream feeds and, in some cases, becomes news themselves.
We’re awash in both credible and incredible “content” published by, well, anyone who wants to play the game, including ourselves.

The result: emotionally needy people seeking help

In this flood of reactionary ideas, opinions and debates, most brands carry on as if these were still the days of the “electric newspaper”. They don’t take into account how needy people are for credible, trustworthy, reliable and helpful brands, products and services.

Many brands are out of sync with people’s search for meaning in a world in which information – while more readily available and actionable – is becoming less and less reliable.

The way to cut through is to eliminate the hype, to deliver something truly helpful, and to engender an aura of trust around your brand through empathy, purpose and emotion.

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