It's not just a book anymore - now keeping the memories of the school year is going truly multimedia...
All year long this year I've been telling yearbook staffs that the new world of yearbooking is now here. What is that??
Yearbooking is nothing more than storytelling, than record keeping, than memory storing. Until now that has primarily been done in the pages of a book, your yearbook. Pictures and words, and in recent times far more pictures than in years past. Yes, too many staffs don't use enough words or really ANY words. I'll keep trying to get those staffs to do more writing and describing in their books because those words fill in the information that pictures can't convey.
Thanks to much better tools than in years past the storytelling is now also being done in charts and graphics easier than ever before. Surveys and polls are helping to tell the story of the school year, what people are thinking and feeling, for recollection now and many years into the future.
But with the prevalent use of the Internet in society today, not just for web surfing but more for shopping and research, for streaming videos and education, for interactivity and now social media, it's time for the entire yearbook experience and memory keeping to expand as well. And "gadgets," as I call them, have also become a major part of modern life. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and the like have changed how we consume information and communicate with each other.
And as we've done for decades now, Jostens continues to lead the way in yearbooks and memory keeping. As I look ahead to next year I'm excited to grasp the future because the future is HERE NOW.
I see the new world of yearbooking as a multimedia exercise where yearbook advisers and staffs don't just take a few pictures, slap them down on pages and write a little copy to go with them. Now I see yearbooking as using multiple channels to fully engage our audience in not only viewing our school memories but also by becoming part of the action. What do I mean?
As Jostens advisers know, Jostens ReplayIt is the amazing online feature which allows anyone not only to view images from school days on a stylish website or via the cool smartphone app but also they can submit their own images from camera or device. Unlike past years, when pictures coming in was the end of the story, now students and folks can also view their images on ReplayIt literally within minutes of submission.
Our ReplayIt moderators, a Jostens exclusive, examine EVERY image submitted from anywhere for appropriateness and post those images on a school's ReplayIt site in an incredible three minutes or less on average. Don't believe me? Try submitting an image sometime at midnight, a rather ridiculous hour, or anytime, then watch it appear on the ReplayIt site or via the smartphone app. These moderators somewhere in America are incredible.
And every school is able to also post videos on their ReplayIt site. A function of the yearbook adviser only, these videos can be anything - action at a game or match, the moment the Homecoming Queen was crowned, a chemistry lesson from a favorite teacher, a raucous pep rally, ANYTHING. Pictures and videos will truly bring the memory keeping to life for any yearbook staff. And the ReplayIt Time Capsule will insure that those valuable memories in all forms will be archived and saved for viewing for many years to come.
Some might say "but we already have that" and point to sites like YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest or similar services. Two thoughts there - first, Jostens guarantees your Time Capsule will always be there, much like your yearbook. Will these other websites stand the test of time? Anyone remember MySpace, the precursor to Facebook that now has nearly disappeared? Are these other sites destined to follow that path?
And school videos on YouTube share space with rather unsavory videos that are just a click away. Material saved on ReplayIt and Time Capsule are only about your school, a protected environment dedicated to only one mission - preserving the memories of your school year.
Now we add augmented reality to the storytelling mix, the chance to use a mobile device to see school videos attached to so-called "trigger" images on pages in your book or even on posters or signs you create. Fire up the Aurasma app, place your device over the image and VOILA, the video starts. Imagine doing that - on your football spread a reader places their device over an image and a video of one of your football games appears on the device. Everyone that I have demonstrated this to has been amazed and interested. For those with the Jostens World Beat supplement in their book this year, note the AR symbols throughout the pages and watch the cool video compilations. It's free and easy to do on your own.
Over the summer and come fall I'll be working more with yearbook advisers and staffs to change the focus of their yearbook effort from book only to book plus images online plus videos of any and all activities at and around school. And actively reaching out to your audience will be a major component of the new world of yearbooking - let's get as many people involved as possible. One by-product of that strategy would be more students engaged in school and not feeling disconnected. Getting them involved as part of the memory keeping team should offer any student the chance to contribute and foster more positive feelings about school.
It's ambitious, it's active and it's exciting - the new world of yearbooking. Stay tuned - Jostens as a company is 120 years old but in some ways we're just getting started!