Tag Archives: content

out of sight

The last month has found me in the midst of a major content production period at work and the heat is on until the moment I board a plane to Seattle tomorrow.

For those who don’t know, my job involves creating and publishing online content related to photojournalism. The last weeks have been filled with interviews, editorial work, website updates, multimedia productions, and an abundance of photography and photographers. It’s an exciting time, but has required all my focus – the reason why things have been a bit quiet around small sight.

So, it’s time for an update. On Saturday, we launched an iPad app. A colleague and I have spent a few months together working on the photo app with a team of developers and I was thrilled when it went out into the world. Last weekend marked the annual Awards Days where photographers from around the world gather in Amsterdam. This year there was a lot of talk around our new multimedia contest and the announcement of winners. In between moments of watching photographers present their work and screening multimedia productions, I was heading up the production team that interviewed 20 photographers about their work. In between all that, I sat down with Nancy Donaldson, a multimedia producer at The New York Times, to talk about multimedia. Interview coming soon.

The real work has centered around the new website that we hoped would go online about now. A number of development delays have come up, but it does deserve a post of its own. For now, I am off across the ocean in the morning, but I will leave you with a recommendation to enjoy the stories of the photographers and view these impressive multimedia productions.

(photo via).

The State of Curation and Criticism

Individuals from various fields including art, design, film, and academia came together Saturday at the ‘you, me and everyone we know is a curator‘ symposium, organized by the Graphic Design Museum and concepted by Sophie Krier and Mieke Gerritzen. The symposium brought into question how the ever-growing amount and influence of online content redefines what curation and criticism means today.

The starting point was the space and stage created online. Curators today bear witness to the shift of influence: From yesterday, where traditional institutions and experts filter the imagery, essays, videos, and other content, bringing the crème de la crème to life and resigning the rest to oblivion. To today, where the democratization of production and distribution has resulted in a deluge of online content and raised the question of quality control. How can one determine quality in an online environment when distribution is open to the masses? How does this influence the traditional perception of art, writing, and content in general? What new relationships are forged? How do old relationships change, adapt, and evolve? What are the results? Here, I highlight two speakers to give an impression of the discussion that took place:

Design critic Rick Poynor took a look at the blogosphere to determine the current state of design criticism in this unique environment. His focus was on the power and presence of the individual writer, who develops a coherent and consistent viewpoint over time. He began by retracing the changing yet extant influence of print media, design magazines, and journals, and their eventual migration to blogs, whether exclusively or additionally. He then looked at the emergence of new platforms for design writing: institutions with journals published online, museums creating online content, and academic programs.

When it came to the question of whether the online curator was a critic, Poynor argued against the belief that selection alone can be an act of criticism. He described the common presentation of a blog ‘astonishingly bare’ compared to where we came from. He used Space Collective as an example of how a blog can create a visual criticism, a ‘new semantics of argument based on the image’. When it comes to writers though, he found most promise in the dedication to quality writing and the interaction between print media and online content.

Julia Noordegraaf discussed ‘performing archival material online’ through the case study Celluloid Remix, a contest sponsored by the Dutch Filmmuseum. Noordegraaf spotlighted the results and effects that come about when audio-visual material is taken from its original context and reframed, which can happen ad infinitum in an online environment. Noordegraaf concluded that the role of the archivist or curator today will look more like an editor, who maintains information streams, check sources, edits input, and designs interfaces to facilitate interaction between the content and the user.

Biographies and information about all speakers can be found here.

The Case for Content Strategy

About a year ago, I was on a team tasked with redesigning a website for a luxury fitness brand. Abandoning the typical sweaty images for a more spa-like experience, we reworked the content to include testimonials about reaching lifestyle goals, and to feature the gym’s breadth of yoga classes, rather than just their range of free weights. At first glance, the paid ad copy and keyword-rich meta content fit the common search terms: “gym,” “workouts,” and “private trainers.” However, our client didn’t want the typical “gym rat” audience. That’s where a partnership between content strategy and search engine marketing paid off. We revised the site content and search terms to fit the brand of a premium fitness experience. As a result, our client attracted more traffic from an audience eager for their style of gym. The leads were good, but the conversions were even better.

— Margot Bloomstein, The Case for Content Strategy—Motown Style in A List Apart.