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The Story of Digital

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I see the future of digital being driven increasingly by storytelling.

Not that that is anything new.

Storytelling is as old as the minstrels going from village to village in the Middle Ages telling stories in music.

Gutenberg's invention of the printing press facilitated broad scale storytelling -- newspapers expanded on that -- complemented by magazines -- radio took that to another level -- television even beyond that.

Then came the internet.

From the mid-90's to the mid-2000's, the internet was mostly about facilitating messaging that not only said something to someone but did something for them. And, allowed them to make transactions.

That is still important, but the growth of social networks means that storytelling is now a two-way street. Not just to people and for people, but by people to each other.

As we continue to go forward, the storytelling capability of television is morphing into the digital world as is the storytelling ability of the printed media via digital tablets.

The challenge, as it has always been since N.W. Ayer created the first newspaper ad over 125 years ago, is to find a way to monetize these stories and to do it in a way that both the readers and the storytellers are comfortable with. The new digital currency of viewable impressions of digital display advertising falls right in line with what's going on in offline media. They are combining their stories with measurement that gets to audiences and not circulation.

Probably the biggest challenge lies in mobile.

People want to tell their stories there, but they want to limit the outside world's access to them, more than with any other digital platform.

I don't know what the ultimate mobile monetizational ad form will be, but whatever it is it will facilitate storytelling.

That's my digital story and I'm sticking to it.

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