Digital Media's Shift Back To Tradition
Yesterday morning Facebook announced a new product from their app development team. Dubbed "Paper," the app makes a strong marketing push toward traditional media forms such as newspapers and magazines. This is a stand-alone app that runs apart from Facebook.
In their emotionally driven 2 minute debut video, Paper is seen being used by people in their daily lives, cutting between scenes of typewriters, smartphones, newspapers and more. The emotion conveyed is that Paper will bring you back to yesteryear when waking up on a Sunday morning and reading the paper was not only a tradition, but something you looked forward to.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the app is that it blends stories from your personal life, family and friends among stories from trusted news sources like Time, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Paper's flipbook style navigation allows you to turn pages like you would in a magazine, which is a great feature. With nearly all online brochures today also have this capability, it has become familiar and is extremely user friendly.
Though Facebook is focused on this being a separate product, app reviewers see Paper as a "complete reimagining of Facebook itself." Many who have tested Paper say that "once you've used it, you may never want to open the standard Facebook app again." The biggest improvement is making technology-based media feel more like a real-world experience. Gone are buttons, tapping and clicking - all replaced with swipes, page turns and gestures.
The demand for more natural feeling technology is growing. Flipboard, another popular app on both Android and Apple has seen overwhelming success. Like Paper, Flipboard ties together your social life with news resources. In this case the app brings in several social sites including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and many others. News from these sources is displayed alongside popular news from CNN, Sports Illustrated and more.
As many people on our team have come from the newspaper business and traditional media, we're hoping other technology companies can learn from Facebook and Flipboard by moving in a similar direction. By blending the familiar with the new we're able to reach a broader demographic and have many more people comfortable with the experience.