Jan 012012
 

Originally published Oct 2011 in Wired Magazine ‘Change Accelerators‘ by Gary Hayes 4 of 5

Image by Gary Hayes

When planning your next holiday to London with the fam, don’t forget to sync up your iGlasses and load up the London experience packs. On arrival, slip on your augmented reality sunglasses and take a look around: Roman-era London appears before your eyes. Slaves and gladiators walk through the streets and chariots rush past. You can add your own comments leaving virtual “We Were Here” graffiti for all time. The experience is part documentary, part user-generated narrative, and entirely pervasive. In other words, augmented reality meets living history.

In our everyday lives, we engage with stories in many ways, whether it’s eye-to-eye contact with a stranger that sparks an instant connection or a well-crafted movie or TV show. But what if we started experiencing those stories in the outernet’s layers?

While online networks are evolving traditional entertainment, such as TV and web series, we are also witnessing the rise of a new form of media called “augmented reality storytelling.” I’ve dubbed this new form of diversion ’ntertainment, as a shorthand for immersive augmented reality entertainment.

At its broadest level, augmented reality is about enhancing the physical world through digital elements, such as images, sound, and information. Now technology is enabling us to further situate and layer our digital stories in places where other narratives can’t reach. Right now, we see this happening when someone holds up a camera on an iPhone or tablet and shares objects or stories from the real world.

The opening Roman London example is based on an existing service called Londinium, which is a collaboration between the History Channel and the Museum of London using augmented reality video layered over real-world streets to re-create an alternate history. Coincidentally, London is also used as a site in the globe-spanning Ghost Tours 2.0. Haunted London encourages visitors to explore the city’s eerie side using locative AR (augmented reality). Likewise, another situated project is Witness, which draws participants into the dramatic and seedy underbelly of criminal Berlin. In this case, players are the hero: They watch graphic video scenes at different city locations and are then sent detective challenges to uncover the truth. But here’s the twist: The story might just bite you back! Augmented reality games and stories can even get physical, like the recent example of Chelsea FC playing the world’s largest Space Invaders game in a stadium using projection AR.

Gaming is leading the way. New consoles, like Vita, allow users to literally take game characters orreality fighters into the streets. Other gaming advances like AR games on Nintendo’s 3DS start to recognize place markers placed around a player’s city, transforming screen-based MMORPG(massively multiplayer online role-playing games) into an LMMOG (location-based massively multiplayer online games).

Augmented reality storytelling is starting to appear across our smart GPS mobile devices. Several marketing campaigns are taking the initiative by spearheading real-time AR challenges, such as Vodafone’s Buffer Monsters, which challenged German smartphone users to download a mobile app to capture virtual creatures and win a lifetime plan. This is only one example, other AR advergames encourage users to competitively run around cities on scavenger hunts for real-world prizes, such as the Droid Bionic AR Game. Similarly, this October, Gundam, the Japanese anime giant, release an iPhone/iPad app called Gundam Area Wars. The game uses the devices’ camera and gyroscopic sensors to show life-size 3D models situated in the player’s real-world landscape.

Given these above examples, I return to my earlier travel scenario and I wonder how commonplace it will become for people arriving in a new location to start experiencing it through augmented reality storytelling and gameplay? The traditional guidebook has already morphed into digital form. The Lonely Planet is already a downloadable app. Is it a big jump to imagine AR and location-based storytelling won’t soon allow travelers to engage history on a whole new level? One might even argue a deeper and more meaningful one than just the 2D sightseeing experience of looking at crumbling ruins. So many guidebooks have been written on the principle of making history come to life—AR actually makes it possible.

One could even take this one step further and question, why do we need to travel at all when we have our own personal Holodecks at our fingertips? Fast Company recently reported on Tour Wrist, a virtual tour that lets iPad users move around a global location with unlimited zoom and freedom. “Travelers” are virtually transported to that place and able to immerse themselves in it becoming the hero in a remotely situated, digital storyworld.

Finally, in the near future, we might all have the capability to create duplicates of our surroundings in 3D for others. This Microsoft R&D initiative to map the world uses the fastest selling piece of tech on the planet, the Xbox Kinect. This would allow everyday people to create unlimited user-generated 3D AR—foreseeable as easily as snapping a digital picture. In addition to this, there is a saturation of location-stamped social stories inside services, such as Google Earth, TagWhat, HistoryPin, Facebook Places, CheckIn+, Foursquare, and Gowalla, among others. What will result from all these stories becoming interconnected and navigable using AR devices?

From that point on, we will be co-creating an augmented entertainment eternity. Together. Will you be a part of it?

Mar 312011
 

How does a country encourage its creative producers to innovate media projects & services? Many leave it to commercial forces only, where it is an innovate or die, sales driven culture. Some though with small or fledgling production communities have to rely on government subsidy and kick-start funding to get most ‘innovative’ projects off the ground. I have looked and been involved in the latter for many years as Multi-Platform producer devising initiatives, director of training units and lecturer in education sectors which include several European countries, Canada, Australia, UK and US. How can we better divvy up millions of tax payers dollars and spread it between heritage and multi-platform?

Below are a few excerpts of a longer article/paper & book chapter (full of juicy stats & facts!) on public tax payers funding of global multi-platform media projects from a perspective of “are we giving it a ‘fair-go’” – as they say down under. It is focused on all government creative funding agencies who help divide up ‘new and old’ screen culture funds in their respective countries. Its intention is to help multi-platform (as opposed to the vagary ‘digital’) move forward rather than be held back by analog thinking or status quo market approaches. I will PDF and link later…

As some of this sails close to one or two of my ‘day jobs’ (some of my credentials in this area are listed at the bottom of the post) I have kept it as generic as possible, without any intentional finger pointing. I hope some top level ideas I suggest to help fix something that has been broken for decades, may not fall on deaf ears.

Preface – Traditional Media vs Multi-Platform: Where’s the engagement?

To choose an excerpt or ‘why multi-platform’ this old argument about the old vs the new is appropriate here. There are many who say we are in a golden era of TV and Film. Audiences both love and trust these mediums and growth is strong across the board. So naturally “we must find and fund new talent and projects in these areas for the good of our culture”. Telling stories through film, tv, galleries, concert halls and books is the only real media to take into consideration. Or is it? This is the status quo, most public funds for media are for localised film and TV and ‘culturally’ significant ‘art’ projects. The ‘other stuff’ oft called multi-platform or digital or online is still not taken seriously. I suggest it still does not reflect what and how its people are consuming media and how they are engaged in that usage.

To give a sense of this disparity, for example in Australia last years total spend (note this includes commercial investment) on film was US $336mill yet overall funds for ‘multi-platform’ creative projects across all public agencies amounted to approx $12-15mill – with the largest funder in the space Screen Australia about to provide approx $4mill annually for creative multi-platform. If we also add TV funding into the mix and think of other territories also (UK film spend US $1.48 bill) we can get to an estimate ratio of around 9:1 of traditional media funding vs multi-platform. Note this is about creative ‘story-centric’ projects vs digital business or hardware enterprise. That means around 9 times more is publicly granted/invested in Film & TV than Multi-Platform or it’s storytelling child, transmedia. I am still adding up figures from other regions which may alter that slightly and although I would like to, don’t get me started on the balance spent on training and education across these two sectors!

As I presented in my last post/article (Navigating the World of Multi-Platform) the media landscape has now significantly fragmented from the 1970-90s yet those in control of the ‘funding’ & educational mechanisms are, I would suggest, still basing decision from those days by funding what is effectively just ‘linear video stories’ – vs more interactive across multiple media channels. Sure there are a lot of statistics that on the surface back this up – for example, TV viewing has remained static and even growing regardless of the increase of  video watching on the web or games usage and box office is strong even with illegal digital distribution and on and on. But when you look at some sectors, print and music for example, who themselves were saying ‘business as usual’ 2 years ago, it tells a completely different story purely from a sales perspective – due to online distribution (eBooks & mp3 torrents) traditional sales are falling at between 10-30% annually.

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Oct 102010
 

It has been a year since I spent a lazy Sunday creating & coding my little Social Media Counts flash app. Since then a bunch of statistical and functional updates, millions of impressions across the web, thousands of embeds on sites around the world and hundreds of comments and requests. A few folk have asked for an iPad version, in fact I originally had the proportions of the iPad in mind when I coded it, so, drum roll, here is the iPad version I have lovingly objective-c coded and placed on the App store (via my company MUVEDesign of course)

So GET IT NOW via the iTunes App store now or go to the Apple App preview page.

This is the first of several ‘home grown’ non-client iPad apps that are awaiting approval/final design for the store. Most fall in the social, transmedia, game, philosophical reference plus media education and music toys – some based on my Randomizers, one on the quotes of the decade and a few interactive versions of my transmedia infographics/diagrams. Several will be free but some of the more ‘code’ intensive ones will be in the 99c range. so you have no excuses 🙂 A few hundred have already been sold in a couple of days too.

1.0 RELEASE VERSION 1.0 – Description and screen shot

Social Media Counts is an amazing and hypnotic real time display of eighty four user, content and business metrics across social media, games, mobile and traditional or heritage media. The data is based on actual reported numbers which are listed in the embedded info panel and this rolling ‘count-up counter’ is a projection forward in time based on these real numbers. With over 40 million impressions already of the embeddable flash version across the web this counter gives real insight into the tsunami of content, proliferation of devices and the money being made from a range of entertainment and services.

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Jan 182009
 

3202996043_3a42cea2a0 I don’t know what is in the blogosphere water at the moment but every day for the last 6 months or so we seem to get a new list or top 10/20/25/50. They seem to fall into 1 of 4 categories.

  1. The best of’s – Ordered lists based on some open or secret formula of the good, bad an ugly personalities or online sites.
  2. Great tools/software – Really simple pointers to applications that are going to make your online life easier.
  3. Tips/tricks – A plethora in this category as we all want to list our prioritized strategies for engagement, ROI, KPI, SYF and other acronyms.
  4. Case Studies – we all want to know what is working and who is making Social Media, PR, Marketing etc: work.

I have nothing against lists per se as to many new entrants they are very useful ‘bookmark’ fodder or research or creating ‘Link Juice’ ® and getting ‘linked’ to the top influencers/sites etc: but the reasons they are created follow a rather predictable pattern. First the top ‘anythings’ attract us generally – knowing the best examples in any field will help us ‘enter’ that field. Secondly in a linked online world, all those links out draw the same people to your list to check out ‘where they are’ – they will then often re-blog your list and add endless comments of thanks, what about so and so plus quite a few moaners about ‘how unfair the system is!”.

BTW the picture top right is me just playing with my new Canon 5D MkII (*distant shouts of show off*)

But generally it is, like the Oscars, a virtuous circle – award winning, creates more award potential. For any new Social Media entrant, throw a top 20 list together over breakfast and watch the technorati links come in – even if you don’t really have a clue about anythong on the list your creating! Thirdly being seen creating a list suggests, contrary to point 2, that you know so much about your area you can actually filter, rate and rank ‘all’ the masses of activity in that space. Many lists use a mashup of traditional SEO type ratings (links in/out, longevity etc) but we still need to get to a point where subscribers and more importantly true engagement (how many comments and how much time the ‘auteur’ spends in conversation with his/her readers – Laurel Papworth has just done a comprehensive post No Comments? No Engagement, on this).

DRUM ROLL

So without further ado here is a list of my top (plucks figure out of the air) 25 lists/top ofs/best of’s lists (Social Media, Marketing, Media and some Australian ones thrown in). I have used a special algorithm (roughly if the list has lots of pretty colours and has me in it!) a rating from 0 to 100 and then the associated position. Seriously, it is ranked by me on the science behind the list, how extensive and global and if it looks ‘real’ vs political (sure you know what I mean here). Plus elements of timeliness, if the lists are dynamic or a manual operation every month or so.

But I hope you find it useful,  the list ranking is the number at the end of the first line – *sits back and watches the links & comments come in 🙂 Or have we reached saturation point already!*

1 – The Power 150 Media & Marketing from AdAge 92

Not really 150 but now approaching 1000 blogs/sites, a dynamic list (I like those) based on many of the key web measurements systems (technoratic, google, alexa etc) “The Power 150 is a ranking of the top English-language media and marketing blogs in the world, as developed by marketing executive and blogger, Todd Andrlik.” Also check out MediaHunters blog, he has filtered out Australians on the list (snapshot only).

2 – Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2008 by Tamar Weinberg at Techipedia 91

A fabulously researched list of the best articles (cause that’s what thought provoking longer form posts are) on Social Media & Marketing “In the Internet Marketing Best Posts “series,” I take posts that are typically timeless — they’re not confined to a specific event or news occurrence — they’re valuable for the long haul in terms of Internet Marketing and creative strategy. Hopefully, you’ll see that these posts are still relevant in a few years down the road.”

3 – Top 50 iPhone (jailbroken!) Applications by Doug at Installer Apps 89

There are hundreds of iPhone lists popping up – that look a lot like this one. But this top 50 involved the iPhone modding community in a big way so thumbs up from me! “The list is the top 50 applications for the jailbroken iPhone and iPod Touch. If you’re looking for a top list of ‘official iPhone apps’ then refer to the 2 links at the top of this post. I have taken the data from the iPhone Apps you all have rated. . .tweaked the list a little(adding some apps not listed here). . .and here is the massive list.”

4 – Internet Marketing Top Blogs – The Ultimate Rankings – from Winning the Web 88

Tracking over 300 blogs – IM Top Blogs uses a variety of important metrics when ranking sites on the list: Feedburner, Alexa, Complete Rank, Technorati, Google PageRank, Yahoo, Stumble, delicious, Winning Web links and user votes. These 10 quality factors are weighted according to their importance and then combined in a way to give each blog a relative score in points (out of 1,000). This comprehensive points system is used to accurately rank each blog on the list.

5 – The Twitter Power 150 from A Source of Inspiration 87

Based on a secret TwitterRank algorithm and is a bit of a mashup between AdAge Power150 and Twitterank  “the January 2009 list for the top 150 twitter users with advertising and marketing blogs”

6 – Top 100 Australian Blogs Index – by BigPond (Meg at BlogPond) 85

Although an ‘all areas’ list, I like this one because Meg actually tells you the formula (albeit very few ingredients) – useful if you want to try and game…I mean improve your rating! For now the secret recipe  “The Index can be explained as follows. I have taken three variables – AU = Alexa Rank in Australia, X = Global Alexa Rank, T = Technorati Rank and applied a formula – which is (3 x AU + X + T) /5.”

7 – Top Ranking Social Media Websites by Michelle MacPhearson 84

Probably the only ‘top’ list that has an accompanying video! Michelle has some very practical 101 link building & SEO  tips on her site “These are the top ranking social media websites that you should focus your link building efforts on.”

8 – 50 Best Web 2.0 Travel Tools by Christina Laun 83

There is a bit of a collection growing in this series and they are all pretty good. From Christina on the travel tools “Travel tools on the Web have continued to evolve, taking in all that Web 2.0 has to offer, and enhancing the ability to share information, work creatively and increase collaboration between users and companies”

9 – BIGLIST of Search Marketing Blogs by Top Rank 83

OK not particularly ordered, just a very Top Rank editor’s BIGLIST of SM and marketing blogs, alphabetically. A good resource, but not really a “best of”? – “…a collection of over 400 blogs maintained by the staff at TopRank Online Marketing. This edited list includes blogs that cover a range of internet marketing topics ranging from SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) to blog marketing, marketing with social media and online public relations.”

10 – Top Mobile Social Networks Services & Applications by Laurel Papworth 82

A particularly large growth area. This directory site is a great starter resource for those looking at some of the key applications across the mobile social web. “This is a directory list of all known mobile social networks for cellphone and mobile devices. Well, known to me, Laurel Papworth anyway. I compiled a couple of hundred social network services for the cellphone and mobile devices in mid 2007 for a presentation at WebDirections on Mobile Social Networks. In 2006 ish I was posting on GPSLocationBasedService any gps mobile stuff on social networks I could find. In 2007 I used MyMobilePals. I’m now merging those two sites into this directory list of mobile social networks.”

11 – Second Life in perspective: A round-up of 50 virtual worlds by Dan Taylor 81

One of the best early lists showing how widespread virtual worlds are becoming – and there are a lot in this category also. This list contains lots of useful subscriber information but also has online games. Of course I did my own post and popular Virtual World video list (of sorts) a few months ago here. From Dan “the below round-up of 50 virtual worlds, ranked by approximate user numbers. Gleaned from a wide range of different sources, they are mostly self-reported and cover a multitude of differing definitions. I’ve tried to reconcile the figures wherever possible to try and reflect number of active users rather than number of avatars or visitors to the website, although many will still be way off base.”

12 – 50 Top Niche Social Media Sites, and Their Power Accounts from Kolbrener 78

…below is a list of 50 niche social news sites and their power accounts. You could contact a few power accounts the next time you have a piece of news you want to get out. You could join a small community and become a power account yourself. Or you could just check the list out for a few new interesting sites to visit.

13 – Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger from The Buzz Bin 77

As a result, there are many, many companies, agencies and consultants rushing to offer social media services. Unfortunately, they don’t know what they’re doing

14 – 10 of the Best Social Media Tools for PR Professionals and Journalists from Mashable 76

In the ever-evolving world of social media, public relations professionals (PR) and journalists have more opportunities than ever to build strong relationships.

15 – Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs from Junta42 74

Junta42 is a search community site focused on content marketing and custom publishing solutions. If it’s content about content, from blogs to articles to podcasts to videos, you’ll find it here.

16 -Top Social Media Sites by Prelovac 72

Only based on Alexa but a nice long list and nicely coded with column sorting. This is a good exercise in php/Alexa and all about deciding what should be included “This is the comprehensive list of best Social Media and Social Bookmarking sites. I have sorted it by Alexa ranking which roughly represents the popularity of website.”

17 – Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blogs by eCairn 71

Bit of a URL dump but based on one of those ‘secret algorithms’. “We just implemented our “influence ranking algorithm”. So we ran it against the ~1000 ’social media marketing’ blogs we monitor on an ongoing basis (along with tweets, forums, Q&As…) – The influence algorithm used for the ranking is purely link based. Its uniqueness is that we are only counting the links within the dataset of blogs that are part of the community, both blogroll and direct links.”

18 – Australian CEO’s that Twitter by Laurel Papworth 69

Another list only, but given Twitter’s growth and engagement a very important one from a national standpoint. It contains over 40 examples with links to their Twitter accounts. Be interested in other country’s version of this from Laurel ” Want a list of Australian CEOs that are on ? Scroll to the bottom. Business Week have a piece on each CEO that uses the so-called ‘microblogging’ service . I don’t like the term micro-blogging when applied to as it’s less of a one-to-many asynch depth of content site like a video blog or a multimedia blog and more of a few-to-few synchronous chat channel.”

19 – Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps to Grow your Business from Aviva 69

“In this guide we cover the 25 best web2.0 applications for entrepreneurs who are looking for simple, cheap, and effective solutions to solving some of the tasks facing their small business or startup. The 25 applications selected were chosen both on the basis of their usefulness for the individual small business manager as well as their effectiveness in providing community support and networking opportunities for users”

20 – Top 100 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs by Julian Cole 68

Really an Australian subset of AdAges Power150 with a Julian  ‘marketing innovation’ ranking element – “The ranking system is very similar to the AdAge Power 150 methodology…I have also added a Pioneer score (10), this is a subjective score which is scored in terms of the blogs ability to have pioneering thoughts about Marketing. I believe it is our role as Marketing bloggers to discover and inform the rest of the industry about the changing Marketing landscape.”

21 – Australia’s Top 50 Twitter Influencers (aka The Twitterati Top 50) from Shifted Pixels 67

There have been a number of lists posted around the blogosphere about the Top 50 Australian bloggers or Top 100 australian marketing blogs etc. As we couldn’t find an equivalent list for twitter – we put together a list of Australia’s most influential Twitterers. This is a draft version for now and im sure we will release a more accurate version soon.

22 – The Top 50 Social Media Blogs Of The Year 2008 from Evan Carmichael 65

Trying to keep on top of the ever-changing world of social media? Whether you are a marketer, developer, technologist, industry insider, or simply a news lover, this is the list for you

23 – 50 of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Social Media from Immediate Influence 64

Based on Alexa and Twitter nominations only “I asked my twitter friends to nominate people who they thought were some of the most powerful and influential women in Social Media. It was no surprise that they quickly and enthusiastically responded with the list of ladies below”

24 – Social Media Case Studies SUPERLIST- 19 Extensive Lists of Organizations Using Social Media from Interactive Insights Group 63

OK getting spooky now, lists within lists within lists…A great way to get ideas for how your organization can use social media is to check out what others are doing. Here are 18 sites below (and one book) that will get you started.

25 – Top 12 Communications, Marketing And Social Media Podcasts from Davefleet.com 61

“If you’re into PR and social media and you’re new to podcasting or are looking for a few new shows to check out, here are my current favourites, in no particular order”

26 – Top 10 WordPress Plugins for Social Media from Traffikd 56

Did I say 25?! Ah well. If you’re a WordPress blogger and you’re looking to use social media to reach more readers, there are plenty plugins to enhance your blog’s optimization for social media. Here are 10 of the best.

So there you go. You made it this far and still conscious. If you have any other great top 10s/20s etc: or other favourite lists please chuck-em into comments for all to see and who knows there may even be an update of this already definitive (hehe) list….

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