At First Glance: How the Apple Watch Will Change the Media

Sep 15, 2014 admin

Last week Apple introduced its highly anticipated Apple Watch and launched us into the era of wearable technology. As a new medium for instant connection to the world around us, wearable technology complicates an already multifaceted media environment, and Apple’s association of “glance” with the watch is making waves before it’s even in stores.

The popular phrase “at first glance” comes to mind when thinking about Apple’s use of the term. Our first glance is the most important. We form quick judgments and make initial decisions within seconds of viewing something.

Consider the popular mobile dating app Tinder, which is now valued higher than $750 million. You open your account and a profile image of a possible love connection appears on your phone. You swipe right to like or left to pass, and make a critical (or not so critical) relationship decision in a matter of seconds.

In fact, it takes a tenth of a second to make a first impression, and these impressions don’t often change with time. This inclination in all of us, merged with technology, is driving the success of dating apps like Tinder, but it’s also impacting the way we communicate, share news and stay connected.

We experience everything faster today. In 2006, Twitter cut down an 800 word article to 140 characters and transformed how we consume news with its Twitter feed and mobile app. But the Apple Watch incites an even more dramatic shift in media delivery.

Dan Shanoff from NiemanLab said, “Glance journalism makes tweets look like longform.”

While the Apple Watch isn’t at the stage where it’s independently providing a constant feed of news, social media updates, emails and communications, it’s likely not far off and it will benefit all media professionals to start thinking about how to adjust their content now to get the right first impression later.

So how can we prepare for the glance?

The glance suggests we will give only a tenth of a second to the updates we will wear on our wrist and it will be primarily visual, and, for the first time, somatic. Marketing professionals and journalists will need to focus on three mechanisms to successfully reach their audiences through wearable technology:

  1. What we feel: This one is the game changer. Apple’s digital touch through pressure sensors will change how we experience communications and will allow media influencers to literally touch their audience. Will breaking news come to us in the form of a rapid heartbeat? Or will funny video content tickle us? We need to consider how the tone and message of our content would translate to physical touch and how that may be an even more effective tool to get our message across.
  2. What we see: We already know images and videos are the best forms for engagement. A recent study from Simply Measured proved Tweets with photos and links receive 150 percent more engagement than brand averages. So it will be essential to adapt our photo and video content to the watch format, whether it’s through apps or internal design. GIFs may even take a more prominent role as they are essentially a mini video with an image, an emotion or action, and a message. Regardless of preference, wearable technology makes visual content a top priority.
  3. What we read: The Apple Watch demands an even shorter version of Twitter’s 140 characters to fit its face. Shorter headlines can be the most attention-grabbing, but media professionals still need to deliver the news, messaging and updates accurately. We need to improve on telling stories and crafting messaging in just a handful of words to succeed in a future with wearable technology.

While I’m personally a black sheep as a late adopter in the tech world, I recognize the impact of the Apple Watch will be enormous for the marketing and media industries. It will not only change how we deliver and digest content, but how we measure the effectiveness of our campaigns. We will reap the benefits of wearable technology if we start preparing in advance for its disruption.

Topics: Marketing, Media Relations, News, Twitter

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