Great to see that creative energy is still being focused on where the audiences are. A typical example of this is Clickwheel who are aggregating audio comic books – and utilising the fact that millions of people are walking around with quality audio and still image players (namely photo capable iPods). They help users create comics and photo stories that have accompanying music or sound effects. Already in existence since mid 2005, the format is strangely compelling, especially with the right music – much of which is apparently being made on ‘loopy’ Garageband – are Apple behind this? Perhaps. Anyway a new form of media, a simple mix of MP3 and Jpeg/PNG – not ground breaking stuff technically, but in the right creative hands!
Clickwheel comics on iPod

There are many other creative, hybrid initiatives similar to this on PSP’s, PDA’s, mobiles and other small media players – and it is always encouraging to see ones like this grow and gain audiences. Some comics have around 50 000 downloads. I am not sure if Flickr already has a pic exporter yet that names its files serially so the iPod can import them into a ‘clickwheel-type’ show with audio, but it should.

I think the way we share our stories will always be dictated by the common tools of communication we have at our disposal of course. We have come a long way from a world of chalk and caves walls and naturally there will always be a dominance of certain tools over others. In a world saturated with mobile phones, iPods and easy online photo and journal self-publishing one can see a range of hybrid cross media, service models emerging – simply due to strength in numbers. What will be the next story tool/s of choice?

Having had a video iPod for some weeks now I have broke through the ‘wow look a whole film in my hand’. I have almost stopped telling people that I watched the whole of the film ‘Crash’ for the first time on that same device two weeks before the Oscars. Now I am now looking at new innovative ways of using the device – to communicate and be communicated too. I still think that enhanced podcasts have a way to go for example – graphics synch’d to music. Simple stuff, but can be so powerful in the right hands. Now only if someone would get Linux working on Gen 5 iPods that would open up a world of possibilities 😉

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006