format, format, format

The theme du jour is format. Google’s Eric Schmidt was quoted saying “mobile is the next dvd” — meaning that mobile format is not going to be some side show, but more like the main act.

Then there’s all the format – content separation buzz regarding Web 2.0. It appears that this is a very significant, if not the significant, technological evolution that has allowed for the next generation, 2.0 moniker to have any real meaning.

I’ve been listening to some audio clips of Bootstrap presenters done by HearThis.com’s Brian Massey. These make me think about format, too, because he does a good job inserting a nice music/voiceover intro in the beginning, and just working to smooth out the kinks of the audio production, instead of the lack of attention to detail in the usual podcast.

I also recently watched a webinar (yet another format!) with tips for professional presenting–whether in front of a large audience, board room, or a computer giving a webinar. Again, most of the talk centered on format, organization and packaging.

And then of course, with the upfronts coming up in TV (bulk buying of advertising for Fall and Winter top programming), there’s all kinds of talk on format. TV versus Internet. TiVO’s new format for advertising at the end of a show.

All very Marshall McLuhan: “The Medium is the Message”-esque.

A few ideas:

1. Format decision. There is so much out there in terms of options. Survey the landscape. Make sure you pick the right ones. This holds true whatever you’re producing.

2. Format polish. Format is not lipstick on a pig, but lipstick is involved. Details matter because they can stick out and their impact on perception is unpredictable.

3. Format unlocked. 1 and 2 were about executing on specific format(s). This is about keeping as much as you can flexible. And open, where possible. Format and content (or other substance*) take turns evolving. Nirvana is being able to substitute content in your existing format, and change format while maintaining content with equal ease.

*I couldn’t think of a better word than substance. I’m not just talking about text, or even media in general. I drive a Toyota Highlander. This SUV is in fact built on a Toyota Camry frame. This frame is also used in the Lexus RX 300…and probably others.

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