August 22nd, 2013
I’m always on the lookout for new and unique pieces of online content, which is really as nebulous as saying, “I like the Internet!” but stay with me here.
If you’ve read some of my other blogs, you know I love the various forms of “content” in the online world, writing and otherwise, and I’ve been stumbling upon a lot of cool examples of creative online content that might give you some inspiration for content creation of your own, whether you’re a business owner, marketer, artist, or just someone who enjoys neat stuff. Here are just a few.
PBS is known for its commitment to providing educational programming, creating quite a legacy with shows like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Although much of their programming is aimed at toddlers, PBS seems like it’s trying to cater more to an older audience. I’m not really sure how many kids would understand references to Sons of Anarchy or Mad Men.
And that’s where the PBS Idea Channel comes into play. Affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service and hosted by Mike Rugnetta, the PBS Idea Channel is a YouTube show/vlog that asks some intriguing questions and attempts to answer them using philosophy, literature, history, and math with a healthy smattering of pop culture and memes.
It’s not exactly a new idea, but it goes to show that PBS is in the know. They realize that their core audience has grown up and potentially has kids of their own. They’re keeping up with the times, keeping eyes (and clicks) on their content.
Webcomics are near and dear to my heart. They aren’t a new idea by any stretch, but with a wealth of creativity, social media, and easy accessibility to distribution—Tumblr has done wonders for creatives—webcomics are as popular as ever.
It’s simple in concept. Take a comic and post it online. But there are a ton of webcomics that go a step further. Hobo Lobo incorporates sound, music, and amazing parallaxing. Thunderpaw: In the Ashes of Fire Mountain mixes animated GIFs with creative storytelling. And then there’s Homestuck, which defies all conventions to create an insanely interactive meta-narrative that uses static images, GIFs, games, and chat logs.
Loaded is one of the biggest longboard makers and distributors in the country. They’re doing their part to sell boards while creating an excellent user experience, but my favorite bits of content come from their YouTube channel.
I know, another Youtube channel, but this is different.
Along with their various promos and demo videos, Loaded features some very cool serialized content—originally called “Long Treks on Skate Decks”—featuring pro boarders skating all over the world. It’s one part reality show, one part travel show, one part old-school skate video. The company has taken skaters everywhere from Morocco to Peru to Bolivia to China. Currently, the channel is running a Spain Trippin’ series. The videos are a cool way to show off their boards, get global coverage, and explore all parts of the world. They also make me want to dust off my board and travel to lands unknown.
Started by Vincent Moon, La Blogotheque was one of the first to deliver on the concept of the live recorded session, offers performances from established acts and young up-and-comers. Each session is intimate, tearing away the artifice of the “traditional music video” to present something raw and—for the most part—unrehearsed. It’s exposure for the bands and the filmmakers and gives users a stellar combination of street photography and good music that is a huge step up from shaky concert footage.
These days, I listen to more podcasts than I watch TV. While there are plenty of cool podcasts covering current events, movies, and all other media, but nothing has really come close to Welcome to Night Vale.
Created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Welcome to Night Vale is set up as a news radio program for the fictional town of Night Vale, a burb that mixes everyday happenings—pizzerias, street cleaning, summer reading programs—with a twist of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and H.P. Lovecraft. It’s all brought to life by Cecil Baldwin, the host, narrator, and voice of Night Vale.
The podcast has gained a huge fandom and has become the most downloaded podcast on iTunes in the past few months.
I like living out the fantasy of living in a strange horror movie, but what I love most is that, amid the dark humor, hooded figures, strangeness, and silliness, the podcast is ultimately inquisitive, optimistic, and hopeful.
Just, for goodness sake, stay away from the dog park!
These are just some of the examples of engaging content out there, which really goes to show that the Internet and content aren’t set in stone. Let these examples spark some ideas for your own smart content. The sky’s the limit, so get out there and get creative with what’s right at your fingertips!
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