Engage your Audience with New Media

Engage your Audience with New Media

by Diane Villadsen

Oscar de la Renta at the de Young Imagine a college student attempting to watch a silent film today. Their mind would struggle to focus on something without sound, color, gifs, scrolling! Even sitting a 20-something down in front of a website from 10 years ago wouldn’t hold their interest for long. The tastes of today’s audiences are morphing rapidly with each new technology. In recent years we’ve seen social media posts move from simple text to photos, followed by video, which saw the highest rate of engagement in 2015. Podcast listenership has also risen steadily, with 1 in 5 Americans tuning in every month. So what’s next? Virtual reality? 360-degree video? It’s not clear. But what we do know is that these varying ways of engaging an audience are becoming easier to access. In fact, many tools of engagement live on the smartphones in our pockets. During a recent press review event at the de Young Museum’s Oscar de la Renta exhibit, I had the opportunity to photograph this stunning collection. While other media-makers wielded their bulky DSLR cameras, I took a step back and opted instead to try capturing the show with my iPhone. I didn’t just use the camera function though; I tried an app I’d recently heard about that allows the user to create stop motion videos. With a few simple taps I had my first stop motion video: 
GIF
While the technique could be refined, I loved the way it lent a unique, three-dimensional perspective to the pieces in the gallery. While everyone else was taking photos, I was creating something in between a photo and a video that would surprise an audience – something that would make them stop scrolling. This is a critical question storytellers must ask themselves: what will make my audience stop scrolling and pay attention? This is precisely the focus of our Mobile Media: Producing Visual Stories with the iPhone workshop, where students learn to create high-quality video on the go. We cover when to use what media, and how to utilize new forms of media to surprise your audience.