Widescreen and Content: Does Size Matter?

SoLoMo content is more importantA recent blog post about the concept of reformatting content to fit widescreen monitors got me thinking about the whole idea of widescreen content. Specifically, I started to think about all of the people who it leaves out. Between second-screeners and older computer users, the idea of strictly formatting to a widescreen seems a bit of a fool’s errand. Let’s dig deeper into why that is.

Size Doesn’t Matter, Except When It Does

As the blog I mentioned at the top of this post notes, newspapers are built on exactly the opposite idea of content formatting: long columns that you read down instead of across. Reading down is a lot easier than reading across, generally, and the long column is a far superior format for smartphone users who can scroll down through that long, perfectly-shaped-for-the-phone column.

In fact, when developing concepts for the future of digital magazines, British design firm BERG spoke to the idea of the magazine as a mountain chain, essentially a horizontal group of vertically formatted articles. Harnessing the power of the technologically omnipresent scroll, instead of simply harping on the shape of one form of reading or viewing something, is a far more interesting and viable strategy for content. In addition, I’d argue that many of the concepts in BERG’s “Mag+” are basically future-proof. I can easily see the mountain range idea carrying over to something as sci-fi as Google Glass.

The concept of strictly-widescreen also totally neglects the concept of SoLoMo, which is well worth looking into if you’re a content marketer.

Wait, What’s a SoLoMo?

SoLoMo refers to Social, Mobile, and Local. The idea is that all three ideas are key to a new form of content marketing and SEO strategy. The integration of a strategy that includes social media, mobile platforms like smartphones and tablets, and local SEO is important to a modern content marketing plan.

The real focus there in terms of the widescreen idea is the mobile part. Building content with responsive design – a layout capable of working on computers, phones, tablets, etc. – is a far more valuable strategy for content marketing and represents a definite nail in the coffin of the idea of widescreen-optimization.

In terms of social media, consider platforms beyond the obvious Twitter and Facebook posts and create content for other social sites with active communities like YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and even Pinterest. The local side of the concept isn’t massively relevant to the widescreen idea, admittedly, but you’ll need the same flexibility in format as you do in SEO strategy.

Building a plan that is not only SoLoMo-viable, but that also eschews the antiquated concept of single-location media, is a great way to not only plan for the future of content, but also to make your own plans look superior to more short-sighted competitors. You don’t just need to think bigger, you also need to think broader.

Do you have a SoLoMo strategy?


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Michael is a graduate of New York University’s Film and Television program. He specialized in writing, channeling a passion for storytelling, no matter the medium. In addition to his work at CEM, Michael primarily works in web content production, including projects like Geek Crash Course, a geek-educational series, the Ansible, a comics-based interview show, live performance series The Next Lab Sessions, and many more. In addition, he’s written and edited for the digitally distributed Champion! Magazine.

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