A few weeks ago, I joined The New Hive, and I am really impressed. The main focus of this new network is creativity and expression – a niche that none of the social media channels had been able to approach with such a degree of elegance.
Social networks as a medium of communication: What’s lacking?
As any other communication practitioner, I actively partake in all sorts of social media – usually with a professional objective in mind. They all have a role to play: career development, networking, driving traffic and learning from all sorts of inspiring people.
In a professional setting, the value of all social media, be it Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus, revolves around communication. Various mechanisms have evolved for us to derive this value and achieve very concrete communication objectives: spanning from relatively superficial, such as information, to rather complex – such a brand awareness and loyalty.
And yet, social media is wanting. It is still a means to an end and hardly an end. You link, you talk, you share, you comment and you like. Most of the storytelling you will still do on your blog or your corporate website.
I have always found social media uninviting in terms of creative communication: storytelling through a free-form fusion of the written word, sound and image. Largely, it’s because the technology has not yet been able to provide us with tools that enable full-scale customization of the web space without knowing how to code.
Of course, there are also other factors such as our obsession with quantity and speed – of everything – there has been only limited pressure on the social media market to cater for creative communication.
It is a shame, because our lack of reflection is not inductive to inspiring storytelling, which is a very powerful tool of communication.
On the positive side, there is a new player in the market and it has brought a whole new bunch of toys.
The New Hive: Express Yourself
The New Hive say they are the new creative playground, and justly so. You can create your own pages – aptly called “expressions” – to display whatever content you wish: text, videos, audio recordings and images. You can, of course, create as many pages as you wish, but the really nice thing about these expressions is that they are self-contained and you are forced – ever so gently – to treat this space with respect. Almost as if you were standing in front of a freshly primed canvas.
You have the opportunity to reflect, develop a story and then finally create the whole thing in your browser window. Easy.
The technology behind The New Hive is amazing, even in the current beta stage. I am not highly proficient in website development, but I can’t help visualizing a whole army of little divs manoeuvring around while I drag and drop my content into place.
This video, however, can probably say more than the preceding 504 words.
Is this going to be useful in a professional setting?
I believe so. Whether you are working for a company, an agency or as an independent communication professional – you are most likely always conceiving of a good story to tell. The concept of The New Hive and the technology behind it enables you to do just that – be creative in your communication on top of all the benefits that social media is already expected to provide. Wait and watch: as The New Hive community grows, so will the opportunities it provides. Or go give it a spin, and let me know what you make of it!
You can find me on The New Hive here.