Yesterday, AOL previewed its new identity to fairly mixed reviews. There’s plenty of conversation about the new logotype, which you can find simply by typing “AOL” in your favorite search engine. What I’m most curious is their resistance to adopting social media technology in their communications.
As a member of the IABC working committee on the subject, I’ve been my own worst critic when it comes to the social media news release. It took an impassioned, patient conversation with Shel Holtz (that’s @shel for the record) to finally win me over. So I minght be the last guys you expect to criticize anyone for not adopting it. But the announcement of a new logo seems a perfect opportunity to try out a few extra bells and whistles with your news release, something AOL failed to do. If you have a look at the press release announcing the new design, the one thing obviously missing is the actual design, or even a link to the design. In fact, there are no graphics or even links to the new graphics in the press release at all. In fact, there are no hyperlinks in the release at all, unless you count the automatically hyperlinked email addresses. I guess we’re just supposed to close our eyes and imagine what the new logo looks like.
Mind you, I’ve seen the design, and so has the entire tech community — no thanks to the news release, however. This indicates one of two things: either the press release is dead and AOL simply doesn’t care about them anymore, or AOL just doesn’t get it.
Digging (hah, get it?) even deeper, the press release as it’s shared on their corporate home page also includes no social bookmarking features, which even the staunchest social media haters have (however grudgingly) agreed to incorporate under pressure from the twenty-somethings in their communications department.
Something tells me AOL doesn’t get it. Perhaps freeing themselves from Time Warner will free up their thinking a little bit when it comes to embracing the new media. Dear AOL: I’ve done a little work for one of your subsidiaries in my past, and Chuck and I would love to help you “take the company into the next decade” as you shed the cobwebs of outdated technologies and twentieth century modes of thinking. Call me!