Can we locate the secret power of stories and“re-install” that power into other texts, like batteries in an old toy? Might we somehow perform some Frankenstein-ian surgical “transplant” of “story” to breathe life into non-storied forms of information?
A recent book argues that playfulness lies at the heart of research in nanotechnology. Colin Milburn's excellent Mondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter explores the unexpectedly deep-rooted relationship between game-playing and nano-scale experimentation. To make the point, Milburn begins with a discussion of the world's smallest film:
“It’s fun to play with atoms. At least, this is the message of a short film called A Boy and His Atom, created in 2013 by a team of scientists at the IBM Almaden Research Center in California. Working together with professional animators and designers, the scientists used the tools and techniques of nanotechnology to produce a motion picture at the atomic scale.
Lauded by Guinness World Records as “The World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film,” A Boy and His Atom represents t he frame-by-frame animation of individual carbon monoxide molecules.
The Power of Narrative Images in an Attention Economy:
The iconic poster for John Hughes’ hugely popular film Home Alone (1990) is, quite simply, a brilliant work of visual storytelling. Yes--I'm talking about the film's poster. I like the film as well, but the poster works in an entirely different way. And content strategy has much to learn from its example.
In what follows, I look at how the simple, yet strategically developed details in the poster work together to condense a full narrative of complex ideas and emotions into a simple glance. I then return to the implications of the poster for effective content strategy: In our “attention economy,” narrative images provide optimum information at a minimum cost of precious audience concentration.
In a recent list of the 10 Trends That Will Transform Digital Marketing in 2017, at least half of them implicitly addressed some need to cut through the information overload that continues to undermine audience attention spans. Marketers have long discussed the importance of communicating the heroic stories that inform the value of a brand. Now marketing has found itself locked in its own heroic struggle against what many consider the defining threat of our time: The “Age of Distraction.”