I just got back from MIT, where I spoke at a conference called the Futures of Entertainment 3. It was put on by MIT’s Comparative Media Studies and the Convergence Culture Consortium. A great big shout-out to Joshua Green for organizing and inviting me to the conference. He rocks at putting together an excellent show for the brain.
Cambridge was Fascinating
The people are interesting (especially those at the Media Lab) and everyone at MIT is up to something. It was nice to meet MIT and non-MIT students as they converged on this event. Alex McDowell was probably my favorite person there. He and I joked about all sorts of things, and I showed him a bit about using Twitter. Cool things about Alex: he’s coordinating a robotic opera, he has worked on Minority Report (the tech vision for it), and Fight Club, and is currently working on the adaptation of Watchman for the screen.
On par with Alex was Henry Jenkins, who told me a lot about speaking in front of people (including using PowerPoint slides as memory palaces for storing ideas (so that one doesn’t need to use scripts). I also asked him about his Twitter account and how he manages all of it. He said that he doesn’t, and when I asked him why, he told me that his Twitter account was a fan one. I was floored. Jenkins said that he doesn’t even know how to tweet, but that he loved using search.twitter.com to look up what was being said about him online. Much amusement.
Later on, I met Kevin Slavin of Area Code. He does a lot of integrated real life games and is fantastically interesting. On the last night of the conference, he talked to me about some architects who are making fake hermit shells from recycled plastic because hermit crabs are running out of homes due to greedy beachcombers seeking serendipitous seaside souvenirs.
A lot happened. A ton was learned. I wrote a bunch about it for the Discovery Channel’s Nerdabout Blog, all of which I’m linking too here. Since the posts look better in their natural environment, I’ll provide a brief summary here before directing you over there for more detailed reviews.
Henry Jenkins of MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium begin with a slide that said, “If it doesn’t spread — it’s dead!” and then a picture of a Dr. Seuss-like creature with the words: “Amazed I was, it made such sense. And it was at so little expense! No press release, no ad campaign. Those days are gone, the rules have changed!” And thus began MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3.
What is the magical black box that all data will flow through? We see various images of what media might flow through. There’s the iPhone, the computer — the Mp3 Player.
Choice in New Media
“We are selectively choosing what media to pass on. There is a rational way in which we pass media along.”
Convergence as Culture
I’m talking about Convergence as a cultural rather than a technological process .We now live in world where every story, image, sound, idea band, and relationship which will play itself out across all possible media platforms. We have to understand the social context in which media is shared, because, “convergence is in our social interactions with each other — not necessarily in technological devices”.
Read the rest of the event review at Nerdabout.
Notes from the panel on Consumption, Value and Worth at MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3.
Where does value come from in the evolving media landscape?
Comsumption, Value, Worth Panel (#FOE3)
Anne White (VP Programming & Creative, PRN by Thompson): “We had a discussion of Web 2.0 in the context of retail media — but found it difficult to define. So we looked back at Web 1.0 first. We thought of a sign that told people about deals — and then decided that Web 2.0 was about creating a two way street — about contribution to media and an interaction with media”.
Anita Elberse (Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at Harvard Business School): “When we look at the very first ads on TV, they looked very much like print ads. Maybe 2.0 is our path is the same”. We’re still making things that look like TV on the Internet – not yet fully understanding the capabilities of the networked world.
Rishi Dean (VP Product Strategy, Visible Measures): “It’s about moving from a broadcast media into a more participatory media. But it’s less about defining Web 2.0 but harnessing those dynamics — and how to leverage those dynamics. The whole concept of losing control is where Web 1.0 is afraid of”.
So 2.0 is taking advantage of fluidity and using it to get a message out.
Renee Richardson (Harvard Business School): “There is that fear of loss of control — but this is not a bad thing”.
Rishi is developing a way to understand how to measure visitor dynamics and the effects of social media. It is a way of understanding audiences (the company is called Visible Measures).
( more >>).
Kim Moses (Executive Producer, Ghost Whisperer), Vu Nguyen (VP of Business Development, Crunchyroll.com), Gail De Kosnik (UC Berkeley, Strategies for a Digital Age), Kevin Slavin (Area Code), and Joshua Green (Moderator: MIT Convergence Culture Consortium).
Audiences today are not merely audiences — they are creators. And they think of themselves as such. How can audiences can be thought as participants — or fellow workers – in industry? Who is the audience for contemporary media? ( more >>).
I’ll be posting more notes in the future. However, I’m still trying to rest up before Thanksgiving and the preparation for CyborgCamp, which is December 6th, 2008 at CubeSpace. More about these topics will invariably be discussed there. See you soon!
Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and Consultant from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.