Personal blog of Alicia Fowler, aka @aliciaef, senior strategist at FutureBrand. Topics covered include brands, branding, technology, and space, and more!

Social links roundup 4 August 2013

While this was a bit of a light week for sharing, these three articles remind us that even in the digital age, good old fashioned print, writing, and transparency are here to stay.


Interactive paper


Novalia's interactive poster.

Novalia's interactive poster.

A piece of paper that responds to touch? Now that is cool. This musical poster by Novalia plays a different drum sound depending on which part of the drum you hit. The poster can even stream a video to your iPhone. Nifty. The company’s vision—to bring print to life—is a heroic dream, not much unlike Dr. Frankenstein’s given print’s recent obituaries. I, for one, am inspired to find tangible evidence of the melding of “digital” with “print”. The physical immediacy of print combined with the seemingly unending power of digital will together create new experiences that capture our attention and open our hearts. 


Good writing


This backstory goes like so many others: smart students in a privileged neighborhood with big dreams and over-involved parents, used to hearing how talented we were until they met that one teacher who actually challenged them. For us, that teacher was Mary Marshall, the best damn English teacher to grace this earth and leave it far too early.

I’ll later write a full post on her (Oh captain, my captain!) but for now, let me say I think of her whenever I read and write. I do, I really do. She’s why I refuse to use “business speak” because jargon obfuscates meaning, betrays a lack of understanding, and most importantly, because it misses the point of communicating: to relate to another human being. In business we so often forget we’re dealing with people that marketing’s word du-jour is “human”.

So, this article extolling the merits of writing in business, struck every chord in my body. Should everyone write? Yes. Emphatically, yes. Not only does writing broaden our thoughts and sharpen our points, it gives us—and even companies—a voice. And a voice is a beautiful thing. For individuals, voice gives us power; voice inspires love, changes laws and literally moves mountains. For companies, voice stands out in a din of messages; voice is why I can instantly recognize Volkswagen without any visual aid. 

Find your voice, hone it, wrestle with it, and never let it go. Remember that writing is about expression, discovery, persuasion—yes—but mostly it’s about connecting one human being with another. When you remember that, you’ll begin to communicate in a far more meaningful way.


Transparent Twitter


Government requests for information are not uncommon, in fact, as we all know, they occur rather frequently. While some companies comply and leave us citizens non-the-wiser (enter Verizon, AT&T and the NSA wiretapping scandal, etc.), some technology companies like Google and Twitter publish transparency reports citing government requests for information. And thank goodness. Of course some government requests make sense—copyright infringement and the like—but fishing expeditions for any and all evidence, do not. And the relative ease with which our conversations are stored to the cloud only make it more likely that these requests for information will rise. So, I must hand it to Twitter and Google for publishing their transparency reports; not only do these reports give vital information to privacy rights groups, but they deepen relationships with consumers. Transparency is the new value for companies and these reports go a long way to prove a commitment to openness. Here’s to hoping that these transparency reports bring about real dialogue on privacy rights in the digital age.


This week in Instagram

I'm toying with including my recent Instagrams for each week's social links roundup. This week I'm still on my 100daychallenge to find something beautiful each day. 

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