It is fascinating to see how quickly Augmented Reality (AR) is permeating our lives and the blogosphere. But what will the mass adoption of mobile devices that allow you to layer ‘virtual story worlds’ over the real world mean for new forms of entertainment & marketing? Also what will it mean when celebrities and audience/users, begin to merge – avatars appearing in broadcast TV and film/gamestars composited into our homes?
I have posted about the cross-reality evolution over the last 3 years on this blog under a general mixed-reality umbrella. Now we have every blogger & journalist talking about their AR engaged iPhone, DSi, PSP or smart mobile as if they have discovered some advanced alien technology. But is it really is a game changer, a new playground for storytellers? A window to another world at one end through to a simple layered utility at the other. Actors and fantasy characters deliver lines, embedded in real world scenes, you find the hidden virtual treasure, the historical or future backstories and clues, video, sound, images – even fellow ‘players’ morph into strange aliens or dissapear, you leave red herrings or leave help for other players the possiblities, endless.
There are a multitude of sites out there asking the ‘audience’ (grrr) to submit films, music, scripts, stories, bits of their personal life and anything the brand or property feel will draw them into their branded world. Many go about it in a really poor way, providing virtually no incentive, a pretty small audience (as regards the actual community that will likely see their work) and often give little or no encouragement to learn and improve on their original submission. Many even resort to seeding the ‘competition’ with faux community created videos (made by pros deliberately shaking the camera!) – to pretend to kick-start it – they have no idea how easy it is for the community to sniff that out.
An easier and more enpowering way in for the co-creative community is to give them ‘great’ assets to create great content – it gives them a big kick-start. Giving them the same stuff that the pros get generates the real big incentive – it lets them show how ‘they’ are as good, if not better, than the pros! It also shows a willingness on the part of the usually out of reach ‘creative production’ to expose some of the real behind the scenes’ness and draw communities into the brand firstly from a ‘trust’ perspective. Secondly as the ‘creative audience’ members themselves will be spending many hours with the assets and this creates very strong brand/story loyalty. Often these creative types are pretty active influencers on the web anyhow and will draw their own communities into the brand. The list of benefits goes on.
Below are relatively recent examples of professional film and music folk throwing top draw fragments of content (rushes, isolated tracks etc) over the wall for the wannabee’s to work their own magic.
I have written about this subject a few times in the past but Bronwen Clune on Twitter pointed out her brainchild initiative, a Disney / AFTRS Film “Two Fists One Heart” making available some rushes for the community to re-edit. Cutscene site has all the information on the project and a mention should go out to my colleague at AFTRS, Bill Russo who has the enviable task (yes enviable as it is a joy to see community wisdom like this) of viewing potentially hundreds (see examples below) of alternately edited scenes.
We are giving you the chance to download and edit rushes from the international film TWO FISTS ONE HEART. This is the footage that editors work with and it is free for you to use under creative commons as long as you acknowledge the source and link back to the official movie page. We€™ve tried to give you a mix of scenes so that you can even download all of them and put together a short film of your own. When we told the folks at AFTRS and Disney what we were doing they were so exited they wanted a way to recognise some of the best videos that are created. SO €¦
The best 5 scenes will be posted on Disney€™s promotional TWO FISTS ONE HEART site. This is a great opportunity for some exposure to high-profile people in the film industry. The 5 best scene cuts will be selected by Bill Russo head of Editing at the AFTRS and the creative team from TWO FISTS ONE HEART. TWO FISTS ONE HEART Director Shawn Seet, Editor Milena Romanin and Cinematogropher Hugh Miller are all graduates from AFTRS, Australia€™s premiere Film and Television school.
The WINNERS will be personally contacted by Bill Russo who will give them editing advice and help with their editing careers. All you have to do to enter is post your video on YouTube, link to the Two Fists One Heart site for the movie in the info section and tag it TFOH, then email the link of your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course this is not a new idea and I recall at least five major projects at the BBC I was involved in from 96-03 that did a call out based on downloading and then re-editing, ‘professional’ footage (and at least 20 other ‘mash-ups’ using web interfaces). A recent non-BBC, feature example (Jan 08) that springs to mind is Tracey Fragments – a sort of timecode’esque Canadian film that gave away the ‘whole’ film to re-edit and again used YouTube to show the re-fragmentation. These are still available on the site – click refragmented. Here’s one example of a re-edit that have around 10 000 views each on YouTube.
Tracey: Re-Fragmented made available all the footage from the shoot of the film for users to download and re-edit their own replated projects including music videos, new trailers or to re-redit the entire movie themselves. A contest for best use of the footage has just closed at the end of January and judging will commence soon. The re-reditng initiative also has a competititve elements with Bruce McDonald and his editors selecting the best from the pojects from Canadaa to win an Apple Final Cut Pro prize pack. The winning project will also appear in the bonus features on the DVD release of The Tracey Fragments.
As mentioned the BBC has a long track record of opening up its rushes to the public (well it would do because the ‘internal’ BBC av assets are effectively owned by the taxpayer!) as well as providing community filming skills to a vast audience with 15 year old initiative such as Video Nation. Another recent example (2006), was when the BBC Commercial Archive opened up some of the rushes from its natural history section and asked the audience to re-cut or rather creatively make a brand new trailer for Planet Earth. Here is one example entry to the BBC Planet Earth video editing competition
To highlight the creative potential of the Open Earth Archive the BBC is also running a competition to make a short ‘advert’ for Planet Earth. Novice editors can enter the competition through the Easy Edit Suite, an exclusive application available free on the Open Earth Archive site allowing users to create a short video with a sound track using some of the best bits of the archive. The competition closes on 30 April 2006 and winners will spend time in an edit suite with experts seeing how the professionals edit for BBC Television. The Open Earth Archive is made freely available for the UK public to use under the terms of the Creative Archive Licence. The Creative Archive Licence allows people within the UK to watch, download and edit material released for non-commercial purposes, using it to inspire and create their own creative endeavours.
MAKE IT A GAME TOO
At LAMP there have been at least 20 projects based on the call for creative contribution. This includes the iEmmy nominee Scorched as well as a Gruen Transfer’esque ‘Sold in 60 Seconds‘ and most of our ARG variants. One really cool ‘video fragment’ example was on our very first residential workshop lab in late 2005, Insect Men. Insect Men was a video fragment scavenger hunt. The mind of a character (of course represented by a linear film sequence) was shattered in a freak lab accident and his mind spread all over the web, outdoors and on linear channels (these things happen!). The audience had to find, collect them and put it back together in a meaningful way. This predated Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and other similar recent play’s on fragmented memory but this is less about story and more about bringing a game-play element into the re-cut too. The team were clear that there was no right or wrong way to put this unfortunate characters mind back together but rather courted community compare contrast – which is the best way forward.
BE PREPARED FOR A TIDAL WAVE
What to do when all this great stuff comes back?! Looking at exactly the same methodology of – here are some professionally created assets by your heros for you to rebuild in ‘your’ way – Imogen Heap (who I keep going on about?!) in the past month gave away a song in the form of lead and backing vocals for the co-creative fans to provide their own music. This takes it a step further as the backing to the vocal tracks truly represents the genre and style of the contributors vs the more subtle ‘persona’ that comes through a pure film edit. Imogen and team got back nearly 400 completely rebuilt unique 3 minute songs and you can listen to 219 of them here on the Twestival site. They were so overawed by them they are going to release a special EP with the best ones on. Shame that wasn’t part of the original incentive – but it probably didn’t matter in the case of a loyal fan base already!
OK there are folk out there who use ProTools, Final Cut, Logic, Cubase etc etc: There are even more who are now familiar with iMovie, MovieMaker, Garageband etc: But although these will produce much better and original results it requires a significant amount of extra effort than a browser based tool. I was a little derogatory about web based editing or mash-up tools earlier but there have been a few good examples over the past 12 years on the web we know today – yes folks they have been around for that long! Even I did some in 1995 when I put the first audio and video on the main BBC sites in the UK – simple quicktime based mixers which worked even in the days of 28k modems!
A recent one that works because it is so integrated with the TV component is ABC Australia’s Gruen Transfer. The thing that really works for me (above and beyond the AdMixer interface and usuabilty – yes they are getting better) is the fact the call out from the show gives a very specific task – this week/series for example the presenter said – go and create using a bunch of pre-built clips/audio and text, a promotional advert to sell Australia. Simple, a bit limited tool and clip wise, but really easy for an audience to quickly produce something meaningful with very little effort.
THERE’S A LOT OF IT ABOUT
As regards remixing, mashable content there are many others worth investigating if your into the subject and a quick look around will reveal the likes of
and the list goes on especially if we include fan driven or film school based competitions!
But a last point I shall leave you with is make it accessible. If only 1-2 % of the audience will get off their a$&#s and make something and send it in then make it easier for them – grow that to 10% or more. I covered the sort of splits of the co-creative audience on my post Web 2.0 and the Myth of Non-Participation. Allow them to search and embed other peoples work, allow them to just vote or rate (obvious and used a lot of course) or give them some really good material so they can create something ‘they’ will be proud of – like most of the examples above here.
OK there are lots more examples of this including community driven film sites like my fav triggerstreet and I have probably missed the ‘big’ ones (so tell me in comments!) but the last message – Throw good stuff at your collaborative, co-creative audience and they will reward you many times over!
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.
The best of’s – Ordered lists based on some open or secret formula of the good, bad an ugly personalities or online sites.
Great tools/software – Really simple pointers to applications that are going to make your online life easier.
Tips/tricks – A plethora in this category as we all want to list our prioritized strategies for engagement, ROI, KPI, SYF and other acronyms.
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’ Â® 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).
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,Â 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!*
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).
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.”
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.”
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.
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 recipeÂ “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.”
Probably the only ‘top’ list that has an accompanying video! Michelle has some very practical 101 link building & SEOÂ tips on her site “These are the top ranking social media websites that you should focus your link building efforts on.”
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”
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.”
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.”
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.”
…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 accountÂ yourself. Or you could just check the list out for a few new interesting sites to visit.
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.”
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.”
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 Twitter? Scroll to the bottom. Business Week have a piece on each CEO that uses the so-called ‘microblogging’ service Twitter. I don’t like the term micro-blogging when applied to Twitter 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.”
“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”
Really an Australian subset of AdAges Power150 with a JulianÂ ‘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.”
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.
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”
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.
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….
At the Cross-Media Storytelling conference a few days ago I witnessed a strange event with one of the categories of speakers. There were three groups of speakers, forward thinking practitioners, catch-up heritage media representatives and theoretical, reflective academics. The last group had one or two useful observations wrapped up in PhD-like presentations but the two hundred strong continental European audience requested a little less complex rhetoric – I have talked about this problem before and upset a few in the process. But, that was not the strange element, it was that each academic, and I forcibly recall four in particular, were keen on de-constructing and putting forward the view that participation in and around web 2.0 is a myth. This ‘opinion’ would have been fine as a short two minute statement, but being academia they spent hours analysing it from many angles, backed each other up and of course gave many citations from esteemed writers and colleagues.
Now. Is it currently fashionable in academia to take the opposing view to popular media, industry? Probably, it gets you noticed. Is it common for several similar ‘theories’ to pop-up in one conference, a sort of academic zeitgeist? Most importantly is there any truth in what was being said? I don’t have time to write a long article on this (I am travelling – hence some probable typos and bad grammar) but I threw together a little diagram to support MY simple viewpoint. This diagram grew out my frustration of this one dimensional view (that only those who post/upload content are valued participators) and also from a live, real time, question I asked the last speaker who had put the theory forward for a fourth time. So I tried to get him to clarify what he meant, I paraphrase the question…
Gary: “Am I participating in this conference by asking this question”,
Speaker: “Yes of course”
Gary: “Then why are those who comment, rate, share, recommend, mash-up not considered participants in online social networks?”
The speaker then went onto to say academics have to draw a line in the sand between involvement those who may change the title of a podcast they downloaded for example and those who submit truly original content. Afterwards I said why do you have to draw a line when we are talking about ‘degrees’ of participation? He said academics like defined lines and specificity to be able to hang theories on – yet none showed any kind of digram or quantification of those lines. So here is my ‘line’ in the sand stating that participation in society, politics, online social networks etc: is not either on or off it is a continuum of degrees of influence. It is an analog and not a digital 0 or 1 as the academics represented seem to propose.
All the speakers on the other side of the participation fence (I was one amongst the web 3.0, cross-reality stuff, putting forward simple concepts of co-creative communities and participation) talked about over mediation, moderation and artificial constructs that gave the ‘users’ (yuck word) a perception of participation in which there was none. My diagram above takes a different view. Anyone and everyone can have significant influence in the social network. Whether you simply share a video (The Sharers) with a friend or create one from scratch (The Creators), makes a statement and you are influencing. You can also have significantly more influence by commenting (The Critics) than by creating sometimes. You make a video that has ambiguous socio-political stance and the first comment may actually draw attention to what it is actually saying. I know many of ‘The Critics’ who fall into this. The other thing I was trying to represent on the diagram was scale, numbers and level. So we obviously have more of ‘The Consumers’ (passive watchers/readers) than say ‘The Editors’ – those who will take content and ‘modify it’ before presenting it. Also the potential ‘level’ of influence of each group is indicated in the right triangle, and one would imagine a focused blog post or moving YouTube video would have more influence – but as I said before if enough people rate it highly the actual influence is generated by the community, not by the original piece.
A few of the academic presenters talked about the environment the perceived participation exists in. That something like a TV show that utilises video stories from its community is filtering and doesn’t really allow them to participate – but who said Broadcast TV is about participation in the first place – especially the example from 1993 given! Another one said that a social network run by a commercial company is controlling and is naturally inhibits due to complex, proprietary interfaces the natural course of participation. My simple answer is, if any ‘environment’ allows the community to communicate with each other freely and have at least some degree of co-creation then it is totally valid. Open source is one end of this spectrum, but even then open source is still a ‘tool’ created by a small group of people for much larger members of the community that use it. One thing I referred to in my talk relevant to perception of involvement is something I call ‘pushed interactivity’. This to me is the real problem with so-called interactive services, point and click, pots of content. I have many tens of posts on this topic in the archive on this blog (which is founded on personalization of course) and its relevance here is the word ‘resonance’. To me participation is about resonance, what you do changes in whatever way the environment or system you are participating in. Period. When you perform any action in society (online or real world) you are participating in it.
My blog time is up. Duty calls and I have real time, real life conversation interrupting. You can participate in this particular discussion by being The Critic (comment), The Sharer (forward it to your peers), The Editor (copy paste bits, nick the diagram, write a nice soundtrack to it and re-present it to the world) or become The Creator (by writing an original piece on this topic, vs a fashionable one). An interesting question – is this post a comment? An original creation? Sharing? An edit? Whatever it is I believe it is participation and have some small influence.