Wherever the road ahead leads for auto writers, traffic will be faster, more congested and definitely noisier. And it will be “mobile first” according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In his keynote address to the Mobile World Congress, as reported by Midmarket Eweek’s Nathan Eddy, Schmidt said, “smartphones are the high-volume endpoint of three trends“ (connectivity, computing power and cloud computing) and that, within three years the sales of smartphones will exceed those of PCs.” (Ed’s note: Google is actively promoting or developing products and services abetting all three trends and competing vigorously with Apple and Microsoft in all three).
AOL is set to introduce a device that will enable connection to multiple communications devices. The FCC is pushing for greater reach and faster speeds for the nation’s Internet services and cloud computing means your cache of data is always where you are (and growing). Those and related trends raise significant questions about how technology is affecting communications content. David Koretz, writes in an Online Publishing column, Please Stop Talking, “We have become a nation that is a mile wide and an inch deep.” He says it is not hard to imagine that in 10 years, “Consumers will sit behind a fat broadband pipe getting email, instant messages, social networking updates, and text messages while simultaneously consuming Web sites or video. Good luck getting their attention.”
Michael Learmonth, writing in Advertising Age, asks, “Did the Internet kill quality? Or just redefine it?” He answers “yes and yes, particularly if you define ‘quality’ by the standards of professionals in content industries that produce the long-form TV, film, journalism and literature once considered the highest forms of information and entertainment — the kind that brands once paid handsomely to associate themselves with through advertising.”
Careful AWCom reader Stephan Wilkinson raised that question on a smaller scale, scorning misspells, grammatical errors and word usage in response to bloggers’ comments posted at www.autowriters.com/blog. In a follow up email he attributed the decline of quality to “non-writers who use the Internet. Many of them really don’t know how to spell or punctuate; sure, they do in a basic way, but not seriously.” Tom Kelley’s Tom-Tom in last month’s AWCom Newsletter offered some guidelines for auto writers who want to be heard in the future: Accountability (identify yourself and your sources), Transparency (who is funding your work) and Verifiability (where you are read, seen or heard, how often and by how many).
Learmonth concludes his piece with this nutshell quote from Break.com CEO Keith Richman, “Creating content for the web is an art and a science. There has been a lot of talk now about the science. Those guys studying the science of it will be forced eventually to focus on the art of it.”