We’re within the remix period of social media. Developments, memes, duets, reactions — a strong seed of content material begets a tree, which might flip right into a forest. Content material snowballs, with creators from internationally, in numerous communities, and from varied subcultures, with authentic POVs, including their distinctive take. No snowflake is alike, to finish the analogy, and AI-infused feeds search to ship the exact snowflake that’s excellent for you, the content material that appears focused to an viewers of 1 — you.
So what’s a media behemoth, a decades-old model like ESPN to do on this area, the place they’re one among many voices on social, working with the identical sports activities content material and tales everyone else is? There’s no straightforward reply, however in some ways ESPN is spreading and discovering seeds, serving to plant the timber throughout an array of various sports activities fan communities. I beloved the way in which ESPN’s Senior Vice President, Authentic Content material & ESPN Movies Brian Lockhart put it on a panel on the ESPN Edge Conference [click to watch] in October 2022.
“How will we open supply [a] story,?” he mentioned. “Perhaps ship this to a special accomplice that has an genuine voice on a special platform. “That very same piece of IP can have new life breathed into it and hit totally different for various audiences.”
For a lot of social media, user-generated content material supplies plenty of seeds. Whether or not it’s house movies, serendipitous discoveries of content material, memes, and every little thing in between — followers are planting seeds throughout. ESPN Vice President of Social Media Kaitee Daley utilized a perspective associated to Lockhart’s ‘open supply’ concept in describing how they activate user-generated content material and welcoming various voices to place their spin on it.
“Practically half of all media consumed is user-generated media,” Daley mentioned. “This notion of somebody down the road from me went and filmed their child doing one thing unbelievable within the yard and that’s going to carry out as effectively on our channels as a extremely well-done spotlight. When you consider how we strategy that, generally I believe individuals go ’Properly that’s not progressive in any respect as a result of anybody can do it.
“However what we’ve began to do on TikTok specifically is convey voices like Omar Raja to these moments. So we’re storytelling user-generated content material differently and it’s made for that viewers. They eat they usually suppose ‘that is for me’ And that speaks to that inclusivity as effectively.”
So, sure, create your content material and serve your followers. But additionally invite others to construct off the content material you produce or curate. When platforms like TikTok attempt to ship the precise proper content material to the tiny, precise cohort of customers for which that video is an ideal match — attempting to be every little thing to everyone seems to be a dropping battle by design. There are too many segments and sub-segments, communities, and sub-cultures — the forest is appreciated for its timber.
That’s one among my very own key takeaways from listening to the insightful dialog on the ESPN Edge Convention panel.