The Zing

Last year, I published a piece co-authored with Jessica Clark from the Center for Social Media at American University. It has been downloaded by more than 2000 individuals and has some generated controversy for the  recommendations we propose.  Since then, I’ve written more about the concept of zing, a term I originally coined at public media gathering (New Realities) several years ago.

Zing speaks to the primacy of the individual maker in media.  We’ve know that the unique potential of traditional broadcast or digital media is realized when a gifted producer with an inspired idea and the level of craft to execute that idea moves a listener or viewer.   Zing describes the moment when this inspired, well-crafted idea — transmitted via the airwaves or across digital media pathways – “hits” the listener/viewer.  It describes the feeling one has when “moved” intellectually or emotionally, or in some cases, moved to action.

When we talk about the impact of media, this understanding is central.  Zing is impact at its most human, fundamental, level.  Loyalty, time spent listening, etc… these other behaviors by which we typically measure the impact of media follow the zing.

Here is an excerpt, and you’ll also find a link to the full downloadable PDF of the  article. Do our ideas hit a nerve in you?

There is an opportunity to move beyond established standards of success that have defined public broadcasting      productions of the past. These standards, such as listener loyalty, were defined by the limitations of the broadcast  technology. The profound evolution of media forms and approaches to craft as demonstrated by projects like MQ2 call for a new vision of who public media users are, what effect multiplatform work has on them, and whether they are being encouraged to learn, debate, and act as informed members of a democracy.

The new vision of public media 2.0 impact moves beyond loyalty or “holding” an individual in place and instead brings into focus individuals who are in motion: responding to the work of producers calling for participation, for example, by inviting them to leave their cars after listening to a broadcast feature in order to go out on their streets to take pictures; to then go online to Flickr and upload those pictures; to take the Flickr link and post it to Facebook or send it out via e-mail…. Read more here.