Embracing the medium. Wait… which medium?

March 1, 2010

I firmly believe in the necessity of fully embracing the medium. So, instead of railing against the shortcomings, incorporate them into the design. Make them part of your strategy, and, as far as I can see, you’ll end up with a much strong end result.

I haven’t consistently done this at Young Adult Cancer Canada. Most notably on my to do list is the plan to redesign the newsletter to make it less dependent on the header images, and take advantage of colours and tables, much like Facebook’s new Friend Request email notifications.

But on the web, what is the medium?

Boston Globe’s Big Picture shows how great photography can be on the web, compared to on newsprint.

Hulu has shown how made for TV video can succeed on the web.

The New York Times has made mixed media reporting shine on the web.

Blogs have become a ubiquitous publishing medium, native to the web.

Twitter has shown how 140 characters make sense on the web.

All of these are the web, and yet, they’re also not. To date, Young Adult Cancer Canada has only really begun to explore the blog format. Shorter form essays with a single thesis. That is, until now.

With the new Shave for the Brave website, we’re experimenting adding a second format to our news feed, what we’ve been calling internally “short form.” We’re publishing the same content to Facebook (max 420 characters), Twitter (max 140 characters), and our own news feed (no such limit).

We’ll be pushing out all sorts of quick updates about the Shave, new locations, milestones, and really, anything that seems to suit the medium.

Twitter seems to be both a dream and a nightmare. A dream in that it allows us to directly connect with the people we care about in a meaningful way. A nightmare in that they seem to be buried in a sea of PR specialists, Viagra ads, and snake oil salesmen. But we’ll stick another toe into the water and see what happens. I know I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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