It is sometimes said there is no such thing as a free lunch, but last Friday I had one. There is such a thing as a free lunch... as long as...
Liveblogger Adam Tinworth offers some white out fluid to improve a recent Pencil Point post about digital drawing tools:
Recently, Matt posted about a review of the Apple Pencil drawn with an Apple Pencil. And he made a central point:
Despite the boldness of Apple’s marketing strategy (we made a PENCIL!), similar products have been widely available for some years. We use Samsung for our digital pencils but in truth we find the benefit is less in the manufacture, the branding and the claims of unique utility than in what you produce for your customer.
Now, I’m inclined to be a little more generous to Apple than Matt – they have put a lot of technology into the Pencil itself, and into the iPad to support it. But then, my skill is less with the pencil and more with the keyboard, so I shall mind my place and keep schtum about matters I don’t understand…
The technology facilitates the content
In his final point, though, Matt is exactly right – it’s the final output for the client that matters. But in as much as technology can facilitate different forms of output, it’s something we have to pay attention to.
At its most obvious technology facilitates doing what you do now, but doing it better, or faster. The classic example of this, perhaps, is photography. My daughter will grow up with no sense of waiting for a photograph to be developed – or to have to be judicious in the number of photos you take.
But technology also offers up new opportunities to do new things – or different things. I started liveblogging simply because I was sitting at a conference, taking my notes digitally rather than in a reporter’s notebook, and realised that I could publish them on my blog – and make them more useful that way. They’d no longer just inform what I might (or might not) write later; they’d inform a wider digital audience.
So, Matt is right in that it is the output that matters. But that doesn’t stop the technology itself mattering. It facilitates new and useful forms of output that conventional media didn’t.
Enhancing an event through art and technology
One of the core offerings of Drawnalism – scribing in real time on paper displayed around the event – is not dependent on technology. But it can be enhanced by technology, through capturing those images digitally and republishing them on the web, or incorporating them in blog posts, or in ebooks distributed to the clients after the event.
Digital has opened up many new ways of extending the life of an event – both before people gather in a physical place, and after they disperse again. The costs of communicating with the attendees are dropping all the time – and providing them with visual and textual material that excites and provokes them before the event, and then helps them get the most of the event afterwards becomes a possibility and a useful one.
We live in an era of accelerating change – and allowing yourself to be open to that change is part of being a professional creator. When I started doing digital development work for a magazine publisher back in the mid–2000s, much to my surprise the biggest blockers of what we were trying to do weren’t the old print folks, but the first wave of “new media” types. They knew how to do digital, you see, and all this “new fangled social stuff” wasn’t part of that.
Folks, Zuckerberg is laughing.
Fundamentally, they’d been innovators – but got trapped with one set of tools and ideas. There’s a warning there to any digital business.
Now, this might seem like an extended exercise in trying to justify buying a new iPad Pro with a Pencil – and it’s not – honest. I had the pre-order page open a week ago, but I walked away. I’m the wordsmith not the artist, and so I don’t really need what it has to offer – yet. But it is still beholden on all of us to keep examining and experimenting with our tools – because if they give us the chance to change the way we communicate around events, then we want to be doing just that.
If you know better than we and Adam about Art, tools and technology, please let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, our thanks to Adam for making such an interesting correction.