Culture Hack

Culture Hack

How Social Media Saved Poetry

It makes sense. With so little time to spare, we look for more powerfully succinct ways of making a point. Yet more importantly, given the stress of modern living, we want emotive codes to make us feel a certain way. And the political noise we are all grappling makes this desire stronger.

This is the conversational and emotive space that social media, in its good and sadly mostly vapid forms has occupied. We want a certain sort of fix which a like, a share, and post delivers for many. At the core is a certain form of brevity which serves as an urgent smoke signal for what we want to say or feel. This is what ushered twitter, the world of hashtags, and more.

While not new (think newspaper headlines, movie trailers, taglines, etc.), it seems like brevity is ruling the conversation, and key aspects of our society. We now, for instance, have a Twitterer in Chief in the most powerful office in the world. But unfortunately, social media’s attention-grabbing ways have sparked a vast anxiety-building underbelly, and many consumers are looking for a more human redemptive space for the medium.

New York Public Library’s Insta-Novels.

That is why, of the various forms of artistic expression, that it comes as no surprise that poetry is having a powerful, social-media fueled renaissance. Poetry is helping to give us a time out and a refuge to refuel.

In markets like the U.S. and the U.K. poetry has posted significant gains. This commercial boom is coming from mostly young women. In poetry they find a powerful medium for discovery, identity-affirmation, and very important in this social media age, an accessory form of social-friendly content.

The poster child of poetry’s renaissance is 26 year old Canadian poet and illustrator Rupi Kaur who espouses an assertive new form of feminism. Her posts and illustration inspire close to four million followers, a medium-like strength unlike anything past rising poets ever experienced.

Rupi Kaur

Poetry’s brevity is having an influential effect on the rest of communications as well. Besides the huge popularity of motivational manifestos, for instance, we’re seeing a literary form of brevity play out in branded content. A recent witty and literate example has been the New York Public Library, making a slew of literary classics available in short, Instagram-friendly formats. Poetry is also heavily responsible for the rise of fashion’s message t-shirts and sweaters, giving brands an open canvas for expression and consumers a manifesto to brand themselves. In a world seeking meaning, brands can learn a thing or two about the power of poetry.

Gist. Poetry, in its artistic brevity, captures our current need for meaningful experiences. It’s very timely in terms of the degree of uncertainty many consumers are feeling, and for its increasingly younger female fans, it offers a timely creative form of expression around a time of new opportunities.

Explore. Explore the power of meaningful brevity for your brand. Is there an artistic/human quality to your content approach? What other forms of human expression can you brand adopt?