Whisper Media

Some time ago, I came across a term “whisper media” from Todayonline, March 9, 2009. The term was coined by John Bittleston, who has a blog post up, which holds most of the same sentiments in the original article here.

This phrase caught my attention simply because I had never seen it being used before, and because it seems to encapsulate the general direction that media communication will have to take in future. Top down, authority-laden communication is giving way to a more peer to peer, engaging and conversational kind of dialogue.

In other words, we’re tired of the “shouting”. Some communication is literally, decibel challengingly loud. These are the intrusive TV advertisements that interrupt your regular programming. Others are loud in the kind of form that they take. The first thing that visually accosted me as I walked through what is arguably the icon for “loud” advertising, Times Square in New York City, were the numerous billboards screaming for attention. Ironically, the more they scream the more we, as consumers of media, will tune them out. I personally believe that advertising in Times Square becomes more of a mere art form, rather than communicating any of the original message that it was intended to deliver. We are desentisized to the noise. We are increasingly adept at skimming through advertisements, be it on screen or in print. In short, interruptive advertising is no longer effective. Neither is it welcome.

Bittleston talks about “amateur comments, the views and feelings of the inexpert consumer. In other words, precisely what a producer needs to know.” Marketers trying to tap into the digital medium would do well to focus on the various conversations, or “discussions” that are going on 24/7 online, across all languages and geographical regions.

The other thing I like about whispering is the air of intimacy that surrounds it. You have to be of a physical proximity to whisper to someone. In real life, this would probably occur mostly around friends, if you were reasonably close to the person to want to share this little piece of news with them. There is a sense of exclusivity, not everyone is privy to this whisper. In a sense, the shift is from mass communication to a very direct, personalized, targeted message just for you.

Marketers should try and ditch their old ways and habits of trying to be as loud as possible. Listening is a great first step, then comes the whispering. Chances are, you’re more likely to pique someone’s interest that way.

Original article cross posted here.