If you do creative work that lives online, you owe it to yourself to listen to this episode of Jesse Thorn’s excellent The Sound of Young America. It’s a panel discussion with Jesse, Merlin Mann (of 43Folders.com), Mike and Matt Chapman (of HomestarRunner.com), and Jeff Olsen (of Adult Swim).
Go ahead. Listen: [audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/tsoya/tsoya090326_ima.mp3]
It’s 55 minutes long, though. So maybe you’ll want to download it from MaximumFun.org. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, but ultimately, it’s about how to make stuff online that people will care about.
In particular, I found Jeff Olsen’s comments about unnecessarily consistent website design:
I think a lot of what we do is the opposite of what people try and do in terms of branding, of “We’re going to be consistent, you know, we’re going to look the same way in all these different places.” I mean, you won’t see the Adult Swim logo hardly on our site at all. […] I think branding and consistency, weirdly, can fight what it takes to provide great entertainment.
This reminds me a lot of what Mark Ramsey had to say about NPR website design:
I don’t know why when I go visit a program website for NPR or wherever, I end up on npr.org/program, and the page looks just like every other program at NPR. What in the world is that? You mean to tell me that your program is virtually identical… that what’s important to me as a listener to this program is that it’s almost like every other one on NPR? That’s what you want to communicate to me?
Seriously. If you make stuff online, listen to this. It’s worth it.