Personalization of Transmedia Story

      3 Comments on Personalization of Transmedia Story

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?

3 comments on “Personalization of Transmedia Story

  1. Eview

    That was amazing – I nearly fell off my chair when it showed the street I lived in (I just entered the suburb).

    The personalisation / resonance factor is certainly a fantastic hook. The invitation to think back to the younger you, the use of satellite imagery, an evocative image of person running to a heightened rhythm, google maps etc – gives a sense of history and emotions past – which you had the opportunity to revisit via writing a postcard. Sending the postcard into the ether for someone else to find and ‘plant’ means your memories then become communicated, reinterpreted and acted upon in some way… at a different time. Your postcard might also find its way into promotional materials for the band … possibly via a different platform. I think it’s fair to say the full experience is transmedia.

    But I’m happy to be shouted down 🙂

  2. Tony Walsh

    I was initially put off by the execution of this project. The browser windows really killed the aesthetic for me; the presentation felt like a 1990s tech demo. I would much rather have seen this thing in Flash rather than spliced up as it was.

    There’s no doubt that the project is very clever. I do like the postcard hook (someone told me yesterday that postcards may end up being displayed during live performances). The personalization is nicely done, provided your childhood home is actually mapped properly.

    I’m less concerned with how transmedia the project is (I do think it qualifies to various degrees) and more concerned with the user experience, which in this case I feel was diminished because of the technology.

    As a promo piece, it certainly got a lot of attention, so that’s probably a win for whoever paid for it 🙂

  3. Siobhan

    Interesting – Tony we’ve had this conversation – the tech didn’t bother me – I had an optimum experience, loaded immediately, took me back to the house I lived in rather than just in the neighbourhood. The postcard back to my childhood self was affecting – I felt it & yes, I too read that the postcards may be incorporated as projections in live future shows. I would have appreciated a gender option – male/female runners.:

    ‘ “Your postcard may be printed on the Wilderness machine, appear in the tour background visuals, or sent to another Wilderness Downtown user at random.” If your message is chosen, The Wilderness Machine will print your postcard on flower seed paper that can be planted.’

    UGC postcards being sent out really does extend the video out in a way I would define as transmedia. I think we’re seeing the recent PGA definition of transmedia being stretched & I think it may welll be projects that incorporate UGC that stretch that definition further.

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