A new trend in digital media will have a massive impact on how information is shared and accessed.
It's called "Glance Journalism," and its intersection with Millennial behavior and the 2016 presidential vote could create a make-or-break situation for engagement and influence in a culture where the millennial voice rules.
What is "glance journalism"? Robert Moran, a partner at Brunswick Insight, an advisory firm, is one of the first to identify the trend and give it a name. "Smaller than a tweet, glances deliver content specific to a person's need at the moment," he writes in the latest Brunswick Review. Think small data that is made for a variety of screen sizes and become increasingly available in our connected worlds. Such data will be key for driving messaging, whether selling a candidate or selling a consumer packaged good. Examples of such mini-stories can already be seen in the rise usage of emojis, GIFs, memes, and more.
Glance journalism's effect on voters could be significant this year. They are increasingly prone to making decisions about candidates based on the smallest snippets of information, say some observers.
"Millennials make data decisions quickly. They have to. They are hit with millions of data points daily. Their brain is largely on sub-conscious, auto-pilot. Thus, even a decision as potentially significant as voting for president could likely be 'at-a-glance'. This point has now been substantiated with some of the deepest psychometric studies in history, " explained Rick Breden, the founder and president of workplace culture firm Essentials and a clinical psychologist.
Younger voters who value transparency and trustworthiness are looking to identify the campaigns and brands that connect with their value.
"There's no doubt that 'glance journalism' will impact the Millennial vote because younger voters are looking to filter information with alerts, tweets and social buzz from trusted sources. Instead of sitting and watching an entire debate, Millennials may be more inclined to check the four-word synopsis from BuzzFeed than read the detailed analysis in the Washington Post, " said James Goodnow partner at law firm Fennemore Craig, which has been lauded for its use of digital technology on claims and cases.
Michael Embrich, a prominent New Jersey Democrat concurs. "I remember Snapchat looking to hire folks to 'cover' the New Hampshire primary for their story mode," he said. "Glance Journalism is a new spin on the 30 second-sound bite in order to appeal to Millennials. Will it be successful? Probably, the 30-second sound bite now dominates our whole media landscape. But it is very hard for campaign managers and media consultants to sell their candidates in 10 words or less. Campaigns and candidates who evolve further faster on this during the 2016 race, will be those who win."
This trend will continue to grow because of the sheer amount of information and a deepening attention deficit. Headlines and images seem to have a distinct impact, especially as it relates to our current contentious presidential campaign.
"As a Millennial and busy entrepreneur I often find that I don't have time to stay up to date on politics. I was dead set against Donald Trump as I think he is a sad example of the state of our political system. I read a quick Reddit post yesterday and it changed my opinion in some ways as it made me even more worried about the other candidates!" said Candice Galek CEO & Founder of Bikini Luxe, a swimwear brand.
"Every campaign is reaching time-stressed voters with short-form messages on Twitter," moran added. "This will grow with the development of 'glance journalism.' Extremely brief and timely news nuggets on messaging platforms and devices like the iWatch will yield great power in connecting with such a huge demographic."
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.