I am sure we have all been inspired by Chris Milk’s very personal and emotive The Wilderness Downtown (try it if you haven’t!) and I think as well as showing where we are heading in terms of the power of using ‘users’ digital footprint in transmedia storytelling it raised three other questions:

  • Firstly transmedia definition issues again –  The Wilderness Downtown is on a single screen but obviously uses multiple media & services (video, google street view, google maps etc) coming onto a single screen. Is this still transmedia? Who cares?
  • Secondly – Apart from the opening where you type in your home address everything else is pushed, canned but still has real emotional impact. New network member Andrea Phillips does a great post entitled Does Transmedia Have to be Interactive – posing the key issues about canned or pre-scripted transmedia vs more transocialmedia 🙂
  • Thirdly and most importantly – personalization, resonance, . We have seen plenty of services using twitter and facebook APIs to pull in a little of the users ‘story world’ into the main narrative arcs, are we going to see more of this?

Extending the third point – Going right back to the days of StoryLabs mentor Tim Wright’s Online Caroline in 1998 or so that picked up keywords in your email replies, through hundreds of other transmedia stories that integrated a ‘little’ of the user into the narrative (even at a superficial level such as the Doritos webcam your photo into serial killers lair element to 626) –  I think the power of mangling personal story with authored story is critical AND I know we all do this to greater or lesser degrees, but The Wilderness Downtown did something else, merged past and present and most critical for me there is a moment where you ‘typed’ a message back to the former ‘child like you’ – so a little bit of creativity and really gets you thinking about ‘who you have become’…

Did anyone hate it, see it as old hat and just a tech html5 demo? Or did others see something deeper happening?