Denzil Ford of MediaValet has contributed a feature article as part of our Improving DAM In 2017 series with the title Should DAM Be More Like Facebook?. In the piece, she considers how social media engages users (with particular reference to Facebook and Slack) and whether there are models that could be employed to allow DAM interfaces to acquire some of these characteristics so they become more ‘sticky’. It is important to note that although there are some suggestions in this piece, this is not a prescriptive article that aims to tell everyone in DAM what they should (or should not) be doing, it is more intended to provoke some debate:
“Facebook taps into the brain’s pleasure center. That’s what gets people hooked on viewing, liking and commenting – engaging. Can DAM platforms be designed to engage users at that level? How? There are other tools as well. Slack, for instance, has seen tremendous success in business settings. It solves internal communication problems and eliminates the need to send an emails within the team. More importantly, slack is designed to engage employees, develop usage addiction and become a single source of truth for all projects and communications. So can these principles be applied to a DAM platform? How?” [Read More]
As with the other articles in this series, I plan to write some follow-up pieces to all of them (time-allowing). My initial feedback to this idea, is that I don’t think DAM interfaces will achieve the kind of stickiness that social media platforms do. Not that it is an invalid consideration, I take the point about making more out of asset usage context and connecting conversations between users into that and this does occur now on some platforms with workflow decisions (albeit at a far more rudimentary level). The key issue is the second point in Denzil’s list of concerns:
“Will employees actually be enticed to use such an interface, which is also to ask, will the anticipation of interacting with work colleagues be appealing enough to get people using such a platform?” [Read More]
In the context of DAM solutions (at least in their current incarnation as independent applications) I don’t think it will be appealing enough. My opinion on this is not fully formed yet, but I believe the objective should be to get users to engage with digital assets as opposed to digital asset management platforms. With that in mind, a more favourable response from users might be obtained by integrating digital assets with a social media platform rather than trying to get DAM platforms to have more attributes that are rely on social media themes. This speaks to the need for the DAM software industry to integrate far more and build far less (especially in respect of user interfaces). A point which I have advanced in the past about Facebook (and Google also, to an extent) is that essentially, they provide tools to allow users to organise and manipulate other people’s digital assets. To illustrate that, they are frequently keen to stress that they are technology company, not a media outlet. Without user ‘content’ (which is really an aggregation of unique digital assets anyway) Facebook would become a worthless shell overnight – as has happened to other older social media platforms that have fallen from user’s favour. The key difference is that the perspective is people-centric (aka ‘social’) rather than more directly about digital assets (as most DAM systems are). Denzil is fundamentally right, however, there is untapped potential to increase engagement with digital assets using social methods, even though there might be debate on how to go about achieving it.
As with all the other articles in our series so far, this is well argued piece which does demonstrate that a few people in the DAM market are prepared to behave in a more conscious fashion and consider where all this is going. To date, however, everyone who has participated is involved in developing or marketing DAM technology and services. Considering I get a lot of private emails from end users eager to complain about the state of DAM (and vendors, in particular) not many are demonstrating much willingness to suggest improvements in a public forum (with an option for anonymous posting if they wish). Cynics might suggest that the DAM vendors have a more useful role for some DAM users than they are prepared to admit (and we’re not just talking software here). I am certain all those people who write to me about how awful vendor x,y or z is, however, are busy right now with a whole slew of suggestions for improvements that they wish to share with other DAM News readers. If you are interested in participating in this series, please contact us via the form on the DAM News site, message me personally on LinkedIn or email (the address is on the about page).