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Yearnotes – a year of Digital Attention

Storythings started as a company on March 18th 2011, so we’re just over a year old.

Its been a fascinating year, working with some brilliant people and clients, and developing from a bunch of ideas and contacts into a real pipeline of work and a clear sense of what the company does, and how it can grow. Talking to friends who have started companies, the constant piece of advice was to find the work you want to do, and build your company around that, rather than the other way round. Its good advice – companies are rarely forged in a single strike, but instead accrue like coral, taking shape with every decision, conversation and piece of work they put into the world.

One of the things that has refined a lot over the year is the one line pitch about what Storythings does. Our work this year has been about 50% strategy and R&D projects, and 50% making stuff (like Pepys Rd for Faber & Faber – go and play it now if you haven’t had a chance yet). This balance is important – in an age of agile and iterative culture, the lines between research, strategy and product are blurry and often irrelevant.

What unites everything is an interest in Digital Attention – the way that digital networks change the way people find, share and engage with culture. We’ve been interested in attention and culture for a long time, but this year has focused our thinking away from the debate about digital cultural products – ebooks, online video, apps, games, etc – onto digital attention – the patterns and behaviours that we use to find and share culture.

Over the last five years, digital networks have become the default way of finding cultural products for nearly all culture industries, regardless of whether the product itself is digital or not. Even if the end result is not digital, a digital network will have been involved at some point in the discovery, research, sharing, buying or remembering of that cultural experience.

Most media and culture businesses have waited until the format of their industry turns digital, but really, this is far too late. Way before then, people will have been using digital networks to find and share information about what you make. The cultural object itself is often the very last thing to turn digital.

At Storythings, we’re helping clients understand recognise these new patterns. We can already see reasonably mature patterns of digital attention in most cultural sectors, and help companies think about what this means for their cultural products and business models. We can also develop new products that take advantage of these patterns, or that encourage new patterns of digital attention to achieve specific goals.

This is a more sustainable long-term strategy than focusing on specific platforms. Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest may or may not exist in the same way in five years time, but  the patterns of digital attention that your audiences are using now will have become deeply engrained habits, regardless of whatever platforms happen to be popular. Understanding these patterns and designing for them is what Storythings is passionate about, and what we’re focusing on as we enter our second year.

So – thank you to the people who have worked with Storythings this year – James Bridle, Hugh Garry, Phil Gyford, Alex Parrott, Kim Plowright, Tassos Stevens, Blast Theory, Chris Thorpe, Dean Vipond and Tim Wright.

And thanks to everyone who has hired us for work this year – BBC, CNNi, Dazed & Confused, Faber & Faber, LBi, Manchester International Festival, MSL, P&G, Pulse Films, Speak-It Films, Syrup, and Wellcome Trust.

We’re developing a fantastic roster of clients and work – if you’d like to talk to us about working with you, please get in touch. Its going to be a very exciting second year, and it would be great to find some new clients who are as curious about digital attention as we are.

2 thoughts on “Yearnotes – a year of Digital Attention

  1. Pingback: Currently reading lots of things about digital patterns of attention « tl:dr

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