Can social media content draw inspiration from the classics?

One sign of an advanced civilisation is the definitive art produced and appreciated by its society. The idea goes beyond having robust infrastructure that develops creative skills on a large scale, but into the national pride that beats in their hearts when they express culture in their own way, while establishing their history and propagating their unique heritage.

I attended a Smithsonian Institute lecture a decade ago where the presenter discussed music in its various dimensions and it was as entertaining as it was informative. The lecturer used speech, sound, visuals and our own imagination to teach us something new, and because of this approach, the event is forever etched in the limbic system of my brain.

After every period of musical history in his lecture, he would sit at his Roland piano and play an example of the music of the time, impressing the audience with both his knowledge and talent. However, of all the points he made that afternoon, one struck me as phenomenal in its beauty because of the simplicity of its truth.

He said that children who were exposed to art, music and craft from an early age tended to have a greater capacity to deal with life’s demands in future. This applies not only to those young ones who participate in artistic creation and expression, but also of those who are exposed to the classics and get an chance to appreciate them.

Art in its purest form reaches the depths of our souls and creates a strong emotional reaction that awakens our hopes, dreams and fears. It also develops over time along with society’s changing tastes, and yet it also has the ability to influence those very tastes. Communities that have a long history of public and private art will hold a large body of knowledge from which budding artists may draw inspiration, but at the same time their audiences will quickly turn their noses away from the mediocre because of the high standards that they have come to love and adore.

This is the dilemma we face everyday in Interactive Advertising where content is king. We may thus seek inspiration from established art, because as Marshal McLuhan stated “Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century.”

Select your themes carefully. Most artists begin by working with common themes until they find their inner voice after which they experiment regularly, confident in the fact that they have a loyal following who will not easily abandon them. With social media content, if the themes that you select are outdated, no one will pay attention, and if they come before their time they will equally be ignored.

The quality of your content should reflect the standards that your audiences are accustomed to. In the 21st century people are exposed to material from every corner of the world and videos shot and edited on a low-end smartphone will compete for viewers against world class films produced in high-end Hollywood studios.

Develop talent with the right potential and with a certain je nais se quoi — rare and special qualities that thrive in a collaborative yet competitive environment. Do these things and you will not only ride the wave created by our artistic community but you may also provide inspiration for the next renaissance.


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