Dec 312011
 

Originally published Oct 2011 in Wired Magazine ‘Change Accelerators‘ by Gary Hayes

Image by Gary hayes

Grab some nibbles, pour yourself a drink, and sit down. You’re now ready to immerse yourself in a TV show. And then you notice that CSI Miami is placing Facebook photos of your aunt, uncle, and cousins onto the desk of a perp. Lean forward, and keep your eyes peeled, updates from your Facebook page are about to be incorporated into your favorite TV show’s narrative. (Your best friend becomes the suspect!) As you immerse yourself in the story, the story immerses itself in your social world. In this context, online meets offline and your family and friends will never look the same again!

While this opening scenario sounds like pure fantasy, it’s not. It’s actually based on Warner Brother’s Aim High, an upcoming web series that will integrate pictures, music, and information from a viewer’s Facebook page into the video. One might call it the ultimate transmedia vanity blockbuster, where viewers are watching and playing with their own distributed, but connected story fragments. If this trend continues, soon we’ll be interacting with TV and games mashed up with our own social networks on big and small screens everywhere.

Since 2003, tools that allow people to easily create, upload, and share personal content are now commonplace. With so many people sharing their lives through networks, there is a social story revolution unfolding. There are more photos taken every two minutes today than during the entire 1800s and, as my Social Media Counter shows, most of this new content is created by individuals who used to be called the audience.

Since the late ’90s, the vision of interactive TV has been to meld this viewer-generated content into shows, particularly live TV. Today, we are taking the greatest evolutionary steps in broadcasting since the advent of live TV. In my presentation, “The Gamification of Social TV,” I examine the ways audiences are becoming more and more integrated into media, such as shows, films, games, and live events; first, there is the social level, then the participative, and finally, the inclusive.

Real-time conversation about what’s happening on TV has pretty much been with us since the beginning of mass TV in the ’50s. However, nowadays we have advanced well beyond the cord-tethered telethons of yesteryear. Today, advanced technology, like text voting, allows shows to measure the sentiment of the crowd sitting at home, not just the studio audience, in real time.

Andy Warhol famously predicted, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” That future has arrived: We can all be stars in our own lifetimes, even if it’s just among our social network. We have become our own entertainment hubs, around which our friends and media circulate. Broadcasters and service providers have caught on to this trend, and now, entertainment-based social networking websites, like GetGlue, allow viewers to check in to movies, TV, and music. These personalized hubs fueled by recommendation and loyalty are allowing viewers to lock their worlds to TV space.

Not surprisingly, marketers are also taking notice of the advantages presented by social storytelling. A recent example is the Rommy Gulla Facebook video campaign run by Panasonic Australia. To demonstrate a new Blu-ray recorder’s ability to store 28 full days of HD content, the company developed a Truman Show-esque, promotional Facebook campaign encouraging input and social sharing.

Other online services, like Hulu, are also allowing users to bring media directly to their networks and take root inside Facebook itself, creating a forum for friends to share video content seamlessly. At the other end of the spectrum, there are options like Beckinfield Mass Participation TV, which takes social media to the nth degree by inviting users to film themselves as the stars and extend the web show format. This concept borrows from the realm of social alternate reality games, such as a World Without OilTruth About Marika, or Conspiracy for Good, which have been allowing users to write themselves into scripts and become the activist hero for quite some time now. Social media storytelling has deep roots in multiplayer role-playing gaming; in fact, the fastest growing game on Facebook at the moment is Sims, the $4 billion franchise game, where players inhabit and merge with social experiences in an alternate character-driven world.

Is alternate character acting the future? The film industry is not far behind in embracing social films. Earlier this year, Toshiba, Intel, and their ad agency Pereira & O’Dell took a gamble onInside, an interactive film experiment starring Emmy Rossum directed by D.J. Caruso. Now some people are speculating about whether or not social films are the next big thing in Hollywood. Will we see a social film revolution where plot dilemmas are handed over to the audience to experience and solve?

When it is done well, traditional storytelling married to social media is very powerful: It takes those people who want to go beyond a behind-the-scenes DVD extra into the story. While we watch to see if integrated social media entertainment will really take off, there are still some issues to consider, such as, is it invasive for characters from shows to enter an individual’s social networks? and Can a TV blockbuster become too personal?

That said, for now, I’m off to watch an episode of House, where I’m the patient!

Oct 232011
 

What do we really value online and can traditional publishing companies adapt quickly enough to save themselves?

Earlier this week I and a group of social media ‘influencers’ were invited to a briefing by News Ltd of their, two years in the making plans to move to Australia’s first big Freemium news content model. Basic freemium model – a range of teaser online news excerpts leading to fuller, more in-depth news stories behind a pay wall at subscription prices starting at $2.95 a week to $7.95 including the daily printed paper.

Ross Dawson, Richard Freudenstein, Tim 'Mumbrella' Burrowes - photo garyphayes

The basic details of the plan were dutifully and immediately blogged in traditional journalistic style by Ross Dawson and Tim ‘Mumbrella’ Burrowes (both featured above with Richard Freudenstein CEO of the Australian). But alternate opinions are surfacing from other online ‘influencers’ who were there – including Laurel Papworth (who just published a thoughtful Paywall for News.com and Online Community Social Media), Gavin Heaton (his tweet compilation) Tiphereth GloriaKatie ChatfieldCraig WilsonBronwen Clune and Karalee Evans. Some were feeling privileged to be at this briefing (in advance of traditional media – who of course are competitors so why not invite the ‘independent voice’) but others were confused regarding the actual value proposition being put forward.

Firstly hats off to the large News Ltd operation for taking this ‘if we don’t were damned’ and ‘if we do were also damned’, step. Also for setting up a no-mans land, bridging site, looking at the Future of Journalism. It is really the only thing they can really do at this juncture – so it all comes down to ‘how’ they do it. I and others pointed out during the session that regardless of the mammoth ‘back-end’ production, business and editorial systems upgrade, it really boils down to IF users like the taste of this particular flavour of digital content. Is there a demand for your ‘paid for’ product?

Some heritage news orgs are starting to turn the corner of this ‘experiment’ of course while others have just crashed and burned. Yesterday AdAge reported on New York Times just keeping it’s head above the water with it’s 324 000 and climbing, digital subscribers. It announced that, as it’s print ads decline by 10.4% a quarter it’s digital ads (up 6.2%) and increasing subscribers online are balancing the books, just.

Within the company’s news media division, which includes The New York Times itself as well as the Boston Globe and other newspapers, digital-ad revenue increased 6.2% — slower growth than in the second quarter — while print-ad revenue dropped 10.4% — a sharper decline than last quarter.

In a world of scarcity asking people to pay for ‘information’ or stories about themselves and the wider world makes sense. Get that. But in a world where digital, to a growing number, means free access, open re-distribution, self-publishing and outright plagiarism of those same stories, will ‘paid for news’ ever work?

Lets step back from the granularity of price points and production challenges covered by others for the moment and without getting bogged down in journalistic integrity or endless ‘manipulative’ stats, lets get back to basics.

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Mar 182011
 

There are a handful of artists out there making great progress and learning how to meaningfully connect with their fans, build communities around themselves in new ways –  one of these  news ways is by bringing the fans deeper into the creative process. But there are still many agencies and traditional artists running fly-by-night ‘campaigns’ or superficial ‘create a logo for us / do an ad and win $500’ dis-respectful call-to-actions. Things have changed and the ‘wanna be an extra in our indy film’ does not cut the mustard anymore in a world where the users have already tasted self-publishing – nowadays we are talking about solidifying loyalty by integrating existing fans into the creative process at from the birth of the project through to the final distribution.

This post, which is a follow-on from my Co-Creating Transmedia Communities post in Sept,  looks at the levels (specifically six kinds) of crowd sourcing engagement and takes it one step beyond.

THE NEW RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ARTIST AND ‘CREATIVE’ FAN

We all have our favourite artists – musicians, directors, sculptures, painters, TV personalities and we all have varying degrees of relationships with them. There is a big difference from appreciation at one end to super (obsessed?) fan at the other. But with the new breed of wonderful, stable online collaboration content networks available, the super fan can now become meaningful collaborator. The nature of ‘fanatic’ has evolved:

  1. DISTANT – Worship from afar and happy to just enjoy pushed, finished, packaged content
  2. COLLECTOR – Collects extra insight content from and about the artists
  3. PHYSICAL – Regularly goes to experiential events and concerts and may possibly have low level interaction with the artists
  4. ACKNOWLEDGED – The artist nurtures the fans into a community, a tribe that builds its own identity. They may change their personal look and brand themselves as being part of the artist’s ‘tribe’
  5. CONVERSATIONAL – A dialogue, direct and often in real time between artist and super fans
  6. CREATIONIST – The artist and tribe make ‘stuff’ together

It is of course the last three of the new types of relationships above that have come to the fore in recent years.

COLLABORATIVE ENCOUNTERS OF SIX DIFFERENT KINDS

Bondi Sculpture by the Sea 2010 162

As I was formulating the previous 6 levels (yes I like doing levels!) I suddenly thought of one of my favourite films, from my youth. I have always been fascinated by Speilberg’s Close Encounters…and particularly the meaning behind the ‘Third Kind’. As we know it is actually a reference to J. Allen Hynek‘s 1972 scale of interaction with extra-terrestrial life forces. (There are actually seven levels listed on Wikipedia but the sixth one is redundant being a duplicate of number 2)…

  1. A sighting of an extraterrestrial craft
  2. Physical evidence of the extraterrestrial
  3. Seeing live extraterrestrial beings
  4. A human is ‘taken-in’ or acknowledged by the extraterrestrials
  5. On-going, real time, communication between extraterrestrial and humans
  6. Procreation between extraterrestrial and human

So as you do, I decided to merge 2) the escalation of our extraterrestrials with 1) the evolution of the fan and I came up with, drum roll – Gary’s Online Crowd Sourcing Levels of Six Kinds: (lets assume a level 0 which is basically passive consumption of everything that follows)

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Jan 172011
 

Social media is a humbling experience much of the time. For one it is a super fast barometer of many aspects of our digital persona made up partly of a) our online influence, b) what people ‘feel’ about you (sentiment) and c) who we are connected too but more recently with the introduction of Twitter Lists we now have an element of ‘labelling’ aka ‘tagging’. Like most I am not keen on being pigeon holed, filed and rubber stamped as ‘this kind’ of person or someone who only ‘thinks/creates/is involved’ in those things, but I was fascinated this morning in doing what Laurel Papworth did some months ago, looking at how others saw me based only on my Twitter activity.

I have currently been added to 700 lists (which I think is up in the top 10% or so?) –

the key of course is that these lists are created un-prompted by those they follow, they have selected ‘you’ quietly in the background to be a part of a personal filter, carefully structured by users who want a way to distill the vastness of a 140 character universe of noise, that is twitter – making lists for themselves of a few key personal influencers through to hundreds of sharing tweeters across several lists on quite broad topics, the lists themselves followed by thousands.

There were over 6.5 million twitter lists at the start of 2010 so I suspect at least double that for 2011 according to TNW and there are hundreds of tList directories on the web now such as ListAtlas that focuses on the most popular lists such as 22 000 following the @bieberarmy :: justinfollowplease list of 91 fans who “want to be followed” by JB himself or  38 verified world leaders compiled into this list @verified :: World Leaders followed by 15 000 or so. But back to my own little world…I am not sure if the lists below represent ‘who I am’, especially as 75% of my twitter activity is sharing links, but they certainly represent areas I work in and am interested by.

… without further ado – I quickly used TextWrangler to pull out key words and broke the 700 lists (I am on) into smaller ‘categorised’ batches. This serves as a one stop shop for me to dip in and out and decide which lists I will follow and for you to possibly find ones you may find of interest.

What do your lists say about you?

TRANSMEDIA

  1. http://twitter.com/tlists/transmedia-995 The most listed Tweeters on 37 lists about Transmedia
  2. http://twitter.com/#!/aliciakan/transmediatweeps Teaching me a little bit more about transmedia, everyday
  3. http://twitter.com/#!/annabelroux/transmedia
  4. http://twitter.com/#!/matthanson/screen-bleed Media theories & futures in a multiplatform world.
  5. http://twitter.com/#!/brand_candy/transmedia-storytelling People interested in transmedia storytelling
  6. http://twitter.com/#!/bulldogmi/isthistransmedia A list of crossmedia, transmedia and storytelling tweets
  7. http://twitter.com/#!/Ch_Larue/transmedia
  8. http://twitter.com/#!/daniele_ferrari/crossmedia-transmedia
  9. http://twitter.com/#!/DilemmaLA/transmedia
  10. http://twitter.com/#!/eceilhan/transmedia
  11. http://twitter.com/#!/FilmThreat/transmedia-artists A self-updating filtered list of people I follow (generated by http://twitter.com/#!/formulists)
  12. http://twitter.com/#!/FLB_AlainThys/media-innovation tweets about media innovation, crossmedia, transmedia and other interesting media developments
  13. http://twitter.com/#!/frank_tentler/transmedia-avangard List of Transmedia and Transmedia Storytelling Avangard on Twitter
  14. http://twitter.com/#!/geoffreylong/transmedia Scholars and practitioners in transmedia.
  15. http://twitter.com/#!/helloflow/worldoftransmedia all people you want to follow on transmedia storytelling!
  16. http://twitter.com/#!/ivanovitch/transmedia People working in, interested in, thinking about Transmedia.
  17. http://twitter.com/#!/jlsimons/transmedia TM
  18. http://twitter.com/#!/KH_enthu_Ziasm/transmedia well, are you transmedia ready ?
  19. http://twitter.com/#!/melaniemcbride/gaming-transmedia-10 Makers, observers, researchers and players of games/transmedia.
  20. http://twitter.com/#!/nouners/transmedia
  21. http://twitter.com/#!/nwangpr/transmedia This list follows those who are exploring new storytelling opportunities for brands and agencies.
  22. http://twitter.com/#!/nyuji/transmedia
  23. http://twitter.com/#!/onceuponaword/transmedia A list of people who regularly tweet smart things on transmedia
  24. http://twitter.com/#!/pascalmory/transmedia
  25. http://twitter.com/#!/paulalexgray/transmedia
  26. http://twitter.com/#!/Pixel8studio/transmedia Stories to be told.
  27. http://twitter.com/#!/pseudonymDK/transmedia Important people to follow to learn more about transmedia
  28. http://twitter.com/#!/Sarn/transmedia-2
  29. http://twitter.com/#!/tactica/transmedia
  30. http://twitter.com/#!/TedHope/transmedia
  31. http://twitter.com/#!/WebVideoMedia/transmedia-storytelling
  32. http://twitter.com/#!/nativeshell/trans-incidental Transmedia news and peeps

NEWER MEDIA

  1. http://twitter.com/#!/thatgreg/new-media-2 People actively changing the way media is created and ultimately consumed.
  2. http://twitter.com/#!/chicklitgurrl/new-media-9
  3. http://twitter.com/#!/ftiwa/new-media
  4. http://twitter.com/#!/iamlowetion/new-media
  5. http://twitter.com/#!/Morgan_Flood/new-media
  6. http://twitter.com/#!/pascalroeyen/new-media
  7. http://twitter.com/#!/RichGarner/new-media

AUGMENTED REALITY

  1. http://twitter.com/#!/AaronMarshall/augmented-reality Cool folks tweeting interesting things about Augmented Reality.
  2. http://twitter.com/#!/ayaLAN/augmented-reality
  3. http://twitter.com/#!/Balubab/augmented-reality Augmented Reality universe
  4. http://twitter.com/#!/bobbyverlaan/augmented-reality
  5. http://twitter.com/#!/BrianSe7en/augmented-reality
  6. http://twitter.com/#!/chrisgrayson/augmented-reality-peeps People & Companies involved in Augmented Reality, as well as AR Blogs
  7. http://twitter.com/#!/claudiochea/augmented-reality-ar
  8. http://twitter.com/#!/fbeeper/augmented-reality
  9. http://twitter.com/#!/Franck_Briand/augmented-reality
  10. http://twitter.com/#!/jamesalliban/augmented-reality
  11. http://twitter.com/#!/renatefischer/ar
  12. http://twitter.com/#!/konterkariert/augmented-reality
  13. http://twitter.com/#!/mikeyjhay/augmented-reality
  14. http://twitter.com/#!/RWW/augmented-reality
  15. http://twitter.com/#!/eduardovalencia/augmentedreality
  16. http://twitter.com/#!/tomyun/ar
  17. http://twitter.com/#!/GaryPHayes/alternate-augmented
  18. http://twitter.com/#!/siyann/immersive virtual worlds, augmented reality, immersive experiences
  19. http://twitter.com/#!/dromescu/ar Augmented Reality
  20. http://twitter.com/#!/jlapoutre/mobile-ar Mobile Augmented Reality

INTERESTING, THOUGHT LEADER & MINDS

  1. http://twitter.com/#!/_Antonella_/ar-thoughtleaders
  2. http://twitter.com/#!/9dimension/brightside bright ppl
  3. http://twitter.com/#!/owlark/interesting-people-a1 Great people: listed or interested
  4. http://twitter.com/#!/InShot/thought-leadership James Grant Hay’s Thinking Out Aloud
  5. http://twitter.com/#!/7seashell/interesting-people
  6. http://twitter.com/#!/torridluna/minds
  7. http://twitter.com/#!/BlessTheTeacher/interesting-people
  8. http://twitter.com/#!/CelticWitch99/no-idea-but-interesting
  9. http://twitter.com/#!/holla_tweet/interesting-ppl
  10. http://twitter.com/#!/LMurphy140/from-far-far-away non local interesting
  11. http://twitter.com/#!/ManuCedat/interesting-people
  12. http://twitter.com/#!/Marcey_H/interesting-people
  13. http://twitter.com/#!/MikeFreyParadux/bloggers Bloggers! Check these wonderful blogs by interesting tweeps.
  14. http://twitter.com/#!/OwenKelly/people a miscellaneous assortment of interesting people
  15. http://twitter.com/#!/paolonieddu/insight-and-cool-shit Links to interesting stuff
  16. http://twitter.com/#!/robbnotes/interesting
  17. http://twitter.com/#!/sonjagottschalk/interesting
  18. http://twitter.com/#!/WayneNH/interesting-watch

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