Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for the advertising industry in the south of France on Monday (June 18), Arianna Huffington – founder of The Huffington Post – announced the launch of three new initiatives for her traditional media-disrupting news site.
Touting the need to "disconnect to reconnect" as one of three mega changes that she predicts will play out during the next year, Huffington announced a 'slow news' channel offering long-form journalism, an app called GPS for the Soul, and a new video platform that puts "not TV talk, but real conversations" at its heart.
"Hyperactivity is snake in garden of Eden, where our self-expression is blossoming like flowers everywhere,” said Huffington in her seminar titled Tapping the Zeitgeist. “The snake is how we're fetishising social media, looking at what's trending on twitter, or 'going viral'. Tweets about Justin Bieber, really? What value do they have other than to amuse us. Do we have nothing important to say to each other?"
“We need to take stock of the value of social media – and so do brands... By hyper-connecting 24/7 we are missing an important connection to ourselves. We are paying a heavy price for always being connected."
The new Huffington Post Live video site will launch this summer. Despite being 24/7, Huffington claims it "will give you lots of opportunities to disconnect from us". The GPS for the Soul app derives from a call-out in 2011 from Huffington for a way to disconnect from technology – but uses technology to do this. Press a button on the app, and a personalised guide to 'getting centred' – whether personal images or music – will run.
With a slogan reading 'join the slow news movement', a new app called Huffington Period will offer a moment to pause and read long-form stories. "Think of it as going from a one-night stand to a long getaway weekend without the normal distractions that fill our lives," said Huffington. See our report The Long Read for more on this topic.
"A year from now, I believe strongly that brands which embrace these mega trends of Reconnect, Recharge, Resonate are going to be winners because they are going to tap the zeitgeist, connecting but also disconnecting so that we are more compassionate, creative people," Huffington concluded.
You can read our coverage of Cannes Lions 2011, pinpointing key themes that continue to dominate the seminar schedule at 2012's event. Our Balanced Values macroview also explores the theme of Disconnection in more detail.