Nov 27

Le Web. Again

It’s December, that means’s it’s time for Le Web? Not strictly true this year, as they also had a London edition in June, for the first time. But the Paris version is the main one and I’m looking forward to being one of the official bloggers again this year – and meeting up with the regular crowd and meeting new bloggers. One thing that Le Web has done extremely well is build up a network of bloggers from across Europe, ensuring a spread of reporting in many languages, even if the official conference language is English.

If you’re not able to go, then there are multiple options to follow the action. Make sure you’re following your preferred blogger of choice (and we will be blogging, not ‘live-tweeting’). Alternatively, if you have the time, check the Live streams being provided through Le Web You Tube. There’s even going to be be translations in French and Spanish.

I’m going to be doing my usual Live Blogging of sessions. Depending on the set up, this will most likely be from the main stage. If there’s power this year, I may do some from the Social Business Track as well.

Hope to see you there – in person or online.

Nov 15

Motorsports Business Forum Austin: Sponsorships

The Motorsports Business Forum holds regular events around the business of Motorsports (unsurprisingly). The latest edition was held in Austin, where there were 200+ attendees, most of them local. I went along to listen to teams and sponsors talk the business of F1, rather than the sport, which was the topic of the previous day’s FOTA Fan Forum.

The second session addressed sponsorship with Paul Hemberey Motorsport Director, Pirelli; Graeme Lowdon President & Sporting Director, Marussia F1 Team; and Pablo de Villota, F1 Sponsorship Manager at Santander

As usual, liveblogged, so mistakes possible

Motorsports Business Forum Austin

Q: So Pirelli, what was critical to bring you back?

PH: as a biz,a global business. It is unique as goes around the world. it happens every year, has focus in markets where Pirelli has interest. So fit is there. So we make tyres, not the most exciting. You don’t tell your friends you have bought some tyre.s To try and make them black and round. Pirelli has worked hard at marketing and branding, Try and looks at cool, sporting, prestigious. etc. ALl key for brands. That was a key driver. As we have changed biz strategy, to be leading in premium tyre,s to dominate in 2015. Biz focuses on prestigious manufacturers around the world, we work with the and F1 allows us to qualify that position, leader in segment.

Q: have you seen volume in sales, in OEM contracts…

PH: yes, complex, taking from sport to final sale. OUr brand value has grown (use interbrand) in 6 months, grown 300m. Has seen significant brand growth on end users and doing analysis F1 has had an impact. It is very strong. They are strange role of sponsor and tech support. We were asked to make more interesting racing, make talking points. FOr tyres, challenge, no car ever wins with tyres but they do lose., Or you have problems. Hard to sell that you make the difference. Worked with Nick for years., had to sell that we won champs with tyres. A hard sell to convince the public you had a major impact. Found that they talk about the tyres, as part of tactical decisions of weekend, we have our profile to increase presence, that gives value to us as a business.,

Q: so Graeme, tough business, sponsorship

GL: yes, but guess everyone here has tough challenges. We live in tough market place and we were a brand new team. We were effectively a start up business in 2009…when we got entry Jun 12 2009 we had a 2 page business plan and a successful Manor team. Had bought through a lot of drivers on the grid. We had a lot of experience of racing, but highly competitive market place and build strat to ensure funding. The tyres require money so have to generate income and as a new team can’t do it by asking people to play for stickers. So we create a business ecosystem around the team. Have large organisations that are partners, eg Virgin group was one of the first. Could take that association and start networking and as we got more, we could create more of a theme. A challenging team, We have not scored a point in 3 years, not a bad thing..that is the pinnacle of what we are in…if you could come in and win then reflects bad on spot. We have to balance the entertainment and costs..have to work together. to supply that. The TV coverage, we get 1.2%. Not an asset we can sell. Look at a lot of the sponsors, they do biz s is beneficial from B2B,. A different approach. In first year, brought a lot brands that had none been, and that they stuck with us.

Q: Santander, 2 teams and 4 races. Talk through relationships

PV: how do we manage both teams…have to switch the T-Shirts and jackets. From t he sporting point of view..very interesting, McLaren vs Ferrari is biggest rivalry. Amazing the different teams how they works etc..they are very close on track Amazing to see diff ways of working,not one better than the other. We start in 2007. With McLaren, good decision, started with big programme. Had to learn, we were new in sponsorship areas. It came as part of big rebranding global process. Decided in 2004 to go to single brand as so many benefits of single brand worldwide. We realised there was no better platform than F1, particularly as popular in key markets. Brazil, UK, Mexico and Spain, US, Germany, Poland. Had option of football or F1. The reason was obvious, to sponsor soccer..in UK, if you sponsor Liverpool rather than Everton..the animosity is issue. Don’t sponsor teams due to polarisation. We decided F1 was the best platform to work with. Our decision, after being with McLaren, go to Ferrari gives more flexibility with opportunities. You have so many opps to activate, more than other sports, than with Ferrari..eg in US, F1 not that popular, but Ferrari is aspirational and popular. Interesting..opens up new markets…also with Ferrari they have aspirational brand…but also have passion of fans, fans painting faces in red, like with soccer. The best of both worlds. When we started, we decided to maintain link with McLaren due to Uk being second biggest market it was important to carry on the elements. When decided to carry on rebranding in 2006, we went from unprompted of 9% to 90% just though McLaren in 3 years. It is easy to track, you can follow trend. When we do British GP, with big moments of McLaren, you can track how the trend is going up. associated with F1 and proper sponsorship package.

Motorsports Business Forum Austin

Now for Audience Questions

Q: Interested in qualitative benefits…but media metrics? hard numbers? looking at and how this gets reported. Comparative to TV etc, are you being asked to deliver that.

PH: have quite sophisticated fo measuring TV, one of easiest. Struggle with printed and internet based conversation, struggle to take in everything that is going on. There are lots of bloggers etc that do that. You have to be aware,t here are positives and negatives, you can say what you want unregulated (online..bloggers) but you can monitor what people think you are doing as a brand. If you do things, it is online very quickly.

Ian: Repucon…$10 per 1000 viewers per 30secs exposure?

GL: we are less orientated to more traditional metrics. There are lots of well utilised services. But one of the key challenges, look at future of media, huge changes going on…more trad channels become fragmented, more difficult to analyse in comparable way what is going on. Article in WSJ should advertisers measure delayed transmissions 3 or 7 days. Look at new media. A challenge for industry to come up with metrics…that are relevant. For us. our success is simple, the financial success. We subscribe, but don’t play as big a role in executive thinking as building our role as F1 team

PdV: ongoing battle in every sponsor. With tv fragmentation, decline of print, a personal view that it is not fair just to consider ROI just measurement as media. YOu get so many benefits. How do you measure the # of models that Shell has with Santander on. or Ferrari sell worldwide. The reputation is important and how the sponsorship, the investment of scholarships helps. Key elements for a company like us..ROI is often about media impact, but need to take in other measures.

Q: Can you measure difference between product and driver (eg is driver is the one who is important in sponsorship).

PdV: so Lewis has been the best ambassador for Santander. Going to Mercedes. THe driver is important, the sporting hero, the people that fans are paying their tickets for. But team is very important, we have best example. Before Alonso., F1 not popular in Spain. Looking at research, Ferrari was as powerful as Alonso..when we had opp to so Alonso merchandise with Santander….no value unless with Ferrari. IN UK, with McLaren, with opp for merchandise with Lewis alone…or with team…did not get full impact on own. What makes important is the bond…Ferrari insist the team is first.

GL: a bit of a catch 22 for F1 teams. It is the ultimate team game. THere is no other sport that has teams have quite the size. But the drivers are the heroes. The Teams works towards winning champs..you build the currency of driver, but they may go to race for rival. An interesting side effect. But fair price to pay for best team sport tin world

Q: do you share out? Or geographically specific

PH: we do find national interest driven by driver. So big interest next season with Perez. If Ferrari winning, Italian TV figures. Working with Petrov, does have huge impact in Russia. Local hero can drive interest. Would love to see US, Chinese, India etc. But also important for teams. Not ness all the big teams are good at marketing, some of the smaller out in a lot more effort and innovation and that can be successful. You have to create a system that is sustainable for all the teams. Thinking of rallying, there were teams that were not wining but still managed to create excitement. So F1 need to do this, create excitement for all teams. We see a lot of new circuits. Some new are suffering. coming into Austin, the enthusiasm is great..we are not saying that as we are here. We want to be coming back, it is important to create sustainable events as well and as a sport we have to look more into

Q: for GL, about Maria de Villota. Can you talk about the crash from marketing…

GL: Maria is a very valued member of team, well liked. Why was she in team? We offer a rare selection of services, only 12 F1 teams. Maria a good racing driver, had a career, like most drivers. Most reach stage when cannot progress further…to progress you have t learn a set of skills..you can’t jump into a an F1 car..

Q: do you think Danica has what it takes?

GL: saw Danica in junior, had great reaches, chose to take her career in one route and it has been successful. Back to skills needed…extremely complex. Maria was immersing herself in a rare environment and learning skills of trade. Accident was unfortunate…still a real part of teams, was personal setback for team. There in professional capacity, progressing her career in difficult sport. The hollywood version, you go out dancing then jump in car next day..a million miles away. Complex and highly technical. Unless you understand the complexities nad how to interact with engineers, the team…she was doing a great job of progressing in that area.

Q: F1 has spent a lot of time marketing itself…curious from a fan persepctive…so much said about F1 needs to do a better job of selling itself? Is there a unified approach...

GL: It may sound simple and it is. Listen, Listen, Listen and then do something about what we have heard. Have spent a huge amount of time talking to people, In street, restaurant, at FotaForum..These events are so important…you have to listen to me but I want to hear from you as well about what is important in your biz for F1. We have to satisfy a demand and biggest mistake is to assume we know what the demand is. We have learnt things, fascinating to learn of different perspectives.

Ian: Feels very different in Austin. Asked in Houston in customs about coming to for F1. instant excitement

PdV: when they city embraces the race, it is a completely different thing. F1 wants to be seen as the first motor racing series in world. F1 has done the right steps…the show that we are having this year is unbelievable. Different teams winning, away from top teams, other teams winning races. Think FIA has done right steps and the show is much better

GL: agree completely. I flew in through Dallas, the customs guy was coming to race etc. Giving people access is something we try hard as a team..but eveyone we met was coming!

PH: being aloof is an issue..in US they like an event, not just turn up on Sunday, not just about the race, about being entertained. See in Melbourne, Canada, Silverstone for other reasons. All the signs that the enthusiasm created..great…it is clear coming in that there is an event going on, that there is a lot of enthusiasm, we can tell the difference, Whatever is being done to start with, then clear great start

GL: the fans are very well educated on the sport. You would be surprised how many markets that know there is something but they don’t know the sport, the nuances. That is something the teams value.

Nov 15

Motorsports Business Forum Austin: Nick Fry

The Motorsports Business Forum holds regular events around the business of Motorsports (unsurprisingly). The latest edition was held in Austin, where there were 200+ attendees, most of them local. I went along to listen to teams and sponsors talk the business of F1, rather than the sport, which was the topic of the previous day’s FOTA Fan Forum.

First up was Nick Fry, CEO, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team who talked about “The Opportunities and Challenges Facing Formula One”. Nick gave a talk and then opened the floor up for questions.

As usual, this is liveblogged…so mistakes are possible!

Motorsports Business Forum Austin

To frame things..will talk about our team, but numbers apply to front of grid. All published numbers. Team is 500+ people, You can’t buy the car, you can’t buy the major parts. the rest have to be designed and released themselves. Have to do it every year. about 4000 drawn parts every year. Have about 200 people to design, 200 to make and everyone else is indirect. Budget is quite large. Spend $200m a year, around that. as there a re so many people, the technology. the speed. start designing in July, design and dev to Christmas,when start making, ready to go in end Jan, test for a couple of months, start in Australia in march, race through to Nov in 20 locations. For those in auto industry, who may thing they take shortcuts…in Ford etc would take 3 years min, then do they cut corners…the reality is that the teams design use IBM system Petia…the same as the cars company. Runs on SAP on start to finish, same as nay big company. Pay for it…50% from partners, have a number of premium companies associated…(he named a few)…The other comes from promotion of sport. The profits are split, depends on performance..( 3 year basis). 100m+ the race, significant audience on a global basis. For major corporations…eg countries, who want to advertise globally, there is nothing like it globally. Not dissimilar to Olympics or World Cup. Significant marketing opp…it tends to be national sports for many, very little has reach globally.

LEads to first opportunity..travelling around the world…we are good at going into emerging economies early on and getting a high level of interest early. We have been adding new venues regularly. That number will continue to grow. substituting for European events. Russia, easy to see in Mexico, huge demand for races, amplifying the marketing benefit. SO an example, in India, Airtel, they decided to sponsor the one race for Mercedes. They did an ad for the sponsor, got 2.5m views of video in the 2 days. ANother thing, unique, is technology. The people who watch are interested in the tech behind the car…tech is important and what we need to do is to combine tech with entertainment. Have loyal fans…with us and for us..but to get numbers then have to make it appealing, have to get to outer areas of bullseye. The tech spins off to other others, not just auto. There are about 45k people who work in associated areas, highly paid, tech jobs, significant job.s The spinoffs are into defence, space, aerospace. THe tech on cars, the composites, the electronics, the engine, the telemetry,have done a lot of work in energy recovery…is being used to sell into lots of other areas of business. Eg train industry and fly wheels. Buses using hybrid tech. In our own case, the energy recovery system, going into the SLS Mercedes car. Next version is purely electric, all the tech developed with help of F1 team. There is a direct spin off. The F1 engine changes in 2014. going for a 1.6l and turbocharge and energy recovery, 10x power of system in cars now. Important to make tech relevant to what can be used in outside world.

Challenge. Like most sports, problem with costs. THe money is difficult to raise, Teams at back..and middle…are struggling. Need to bring down costs. The benefits of winning are huge..so people spend vast amounts of money to be successful, to get more tv and publicity. PLus making tech relevant, and FIA trying to do this. A few years ago, making engines with 21k RPM, could not find home for those engines. So things like DRS, allow overtaking, keeping excitement with passing.

Lastly, why Mercedes in F. The product development benefits. Not just the teach but the process of developing car in 6 months. Plus to sell cars, Merc successful, supply 3 teams with engines at moment, plus demonstrating the tech advance of cars and that comes through in market place. So far this year, Merc number 1 market (2 last year, after Germany). Have about 23k people in US working in it. Important that successful here, so thanks to Austin…have a great springboard for future so great business opp.

Questions.

Question: So huge amount of car experience, and yet Merc world titles are with smaller teams. Are there framework with smaller teams that make it easier?

NF: so issues that we face are similar to a big corp taking over smaller one. danger that kill golden goose with kindness. Diff to get balance with large corp given money resources and not smothering them with too much kindness and bureaucracy. THe people who are in small companies are there for a reason…the nimber, fast etc…the secret is to preserve autonomy and provide the support but let them get on with it.

Question: with quick decisions, etc, what challenges are there to managing expectations at Mercedes group level. How do you act small as part of large.

NF: the want to preserve uniqueness Bopard say have all this stuff…you take what you need but will not impose anything in you. They say have what you like, if you want to use sim tech, then do but they won’t come and tell us what to do. A difference to how Merc have behaved and other car companies. So performance is our doing and not Mercs.

Question: how do you feel about Hamilton joining you?

NF: feeling inside team was positive…we have had one of greatest drivers working with us..in age terms, then reaching end of team..to do well in f1 need to have the best..and best drivers. IN my view, Lewis, alongside Alonso, are the 2 best drivers. Vettell may be in that group and have alway had best car..and he has to prove it in my mind. Alonso done exceptional job. Lewis in category of giving him not quite the best car and can still deliver. THis has given pressure, as Ross has to provider the best car..he can win in not quite the best…nbut still have to bridge gap.

Q: (Red Mccombs) What are you concern about in a new venue.

NF: it’s all around the enthusiasm of the town. If you ask them in F1 which are the favourite, what the place, most will say Melbourne…plus Montreal. Because they are sports town,s everyone supports, there are bands, activity, people com in as great towns. The whole place gets abuzz. The circuit is important, but most important is the venue…you can normally see from early in gestation whether it will be successful..,but think Austin has got off a very good start…get reaction that people want it to succeed, they are friendly, the right kind of town…maybe theplaces we have raced in were not tourist, towns that people want to go to. Especially if embraced from business not just circuit.

Q: what happens to old cars?

NF: some go to sponsors..(as part of deal), some go to MErc). They can’t run or do anything with it, looks nice . The rest go to show cars…Will eventually go to second hand market.

Q: you mentioned the tech..can you add colour to FIA limiting driver track/accessibility and they are moving to simulations

NF: we are doing what is reflected in mainstream automotive…in Ford we made loads of prototypes, to get in plenty of experiences. Very expensive, something that car manufactures are sims. Final test to be physical, the rest on screen, rig, sim. F1 in the same direction, because it cuts costs. Have several as drive in loop simulators…a very expensive playstation on steroids. Sev million pounds. Driver sits in chassis. It moves around a little. most us has an understanding of the inputs needed. It is a rather dull job, darkened room, with screen. The driver has to believe they are in the environment, to get their brain around it. Such is the resolution. that most top teams will also run a sim in the uK at the same time, and doing resolution. Wil run sim during evening to find more info, most drivers spend lot of time driving round. a lot cheaper and many cases more accurate with other variables. That’s an areas where we and MErc work strongly together. Have fed off that to the f1 sim and vice versa

Q: How does the IP participate in funding the future car.

NF: kind of gentleman’s agreement that they don’t patent. Thor is an underlying undercurrent, about protection is not the sense of what they are trying to do. More practical, takes too long to protect,,,as teams copied in 3 races. Most races have got people employed that just look at other teams, Copying does not really work unless you understand the physics, you have to know what it is doing. IN terms of hybrid, the Williams have done great job with flywheel system on cars etc…prob is patented. There is stuff that may have a home elsewhere…

Q: you were discussing marketing opps…plus enthusiasm of city. WOuld you consider a US driver racing as part of marketing activities?

NF: we would consider any driver regardless of who they are….as long as they are a fast driver. Historically some team shave taken a driver for financial reasons and it can backfire if not successful….if took a US driver for marketing and not successful, then does not reflect well. Not on radar if can’t drive fast.

Q: when f1 started, safety not a concern. How do you find safety, does it hinder dev, or in direction, or in maintaining..

NF: the safety of everyone critical. incidents are one things and part of excitement but no one wants to see another hurt. Driver is relatively well protected..reduce whiplash, safety cell. Bigger concern is bystanders, marshalls etc, bit of wheels. Spend lots of time and energy in this. Certainly adds to cost but not inhibits..have improved a lot in last few years, lots of money. but think it is necessary. Some of the energy absorptions very interesting, going into road car. AN added dimension which is important.

Q: How many are in team that you bring?

NF: bring 65-70 people. about 40 directly involved in car, plus marketing, catering, support functions…that’;s where a lot of the expense is. Move 24 tonnes of equipment. Some of the bigger venues, eg Singapore..one of the sponsors had 400 guests…

Nov 10

FOE6: the future of storytelling and sports

Liveblogged – there will be mistakes

Throughout the history of mass media, sports programming has been an innovator. In today’s era of online circulation, transmedia storytelling, and 24/7 access to engaging with sports stars, teams, and fellow fans, sports franchises could be argued as the most immersive of storyworlds–with drama playing out in real-time, and the “narrative world” being our own. What is driving innovation in how sports tell their stories, and get their fans more engaged than ever, through multiple media platforms? How does operating as a media franchise in our everyday world set sports apart from entertainment properties? How are sports empowered by being “real,” and what constraints does that place on what they can do as well? How are talent engaged to be part of the storytelling? And what innovations are seen as sports are extended wholly into the fictional realm, whether through licensed extensions or various forms of “sports entertainment”?

Panelists:
Abe Stein, researcher at Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab; graduate student, Comparative Media Studies, MIT; columnist, Kill Screen
Peter Stringer, Senior Director of Interactive Media, Boston Celtics (Basketball)
Jena Janovy, Enterprise Editor, ESPN.com
Jamie Scheu, associate content director, Hill Holliday
Moderator: Alex Chisholm, transmedia producer and Co-Founder and Executive Director, Learning Games Network

AC: one of things about entertainment is an areas that drives innovation in media, we are here to discuss how sports have changed, how they engage with fans etc. (asked some questions about sport)
(the panelists introduced themselves)

AC: want to start…PS, having grown up in NEw England, being a fan, then coming into the org, how does the fan experience inform what you do?

PS: i think it is a huge part of it…I look at what others doing,m not just in sport, also entertainment, big brands ec, when it comes down to having a culture, what are the Celtics to our fans., we are 17x world champions, 60 years. Our brand and product are the players. Knowing that history and being indoctrinated is very serious..it’s about not wanting to screw that up. What our fans expect is different to other teams. It is the history etc. We have a built in advantage as people are passionate from the get go, people have an emotional attachment. I have my dream job..but can’t ever escape it…players change…and when they do, they are a heel..but there is the history there as well. They guy goes from good guy to bad guy..having the pre-conext, growing up with the team, if you had it without the background….then having that context, and having the glory restored is a big part of being a success in this role, you know what the fans expect. YOu look at teams and players as a brand but the fans don’t look at it this way, what we are selling is emotions. It is about playing on emotional triggers that are triggered by personalities. Having that understanding makes me success.

AC: as it is such a brand, and such history and players, but JJ, a lot of what you do is not superstar athletes. With big ones, there is a lot of image making that goes into it. Would you have a lot of access to larger celebrities, the real instead of the mythology
JJ: sometimes, but often the best stories come when we do not have access and the best reporters come to own conclusion of the subject. TV rely much more on access; radio is different, relies sound so access needed. Different platforms have different needs. Reporting, investigative journalism works different. We work closer to TV as well in last few years. We are at a place where we think about story first rather than platform first, so we think digitally, about what is the best story, what is the best treatment no matter the platform. There is a lot of energy and effort into thinking about storytelling as platform has merged…the people are growing closer in working relationship and what the platforms can bring to a story. We are really focusing efforts on playing to each other stories strengths..we sit down at ideas session and collaborate about what is the best platform to reach the fan. It starts with the fan, about where you are, the interests etc..it is our responsibility to find you where you are. yes, come to the bars and watch but engage in conversation on digital platform etc.

AC: looking at backchannel, is there a divide in talking about sports fans and fans of other media. Why, and what can we learn?

AS: a great question. I wrote a piece called geeks vs jocks…there are a minority in sports studies looking at video games. My hunch is that is has a lot to do with certain forms of pop culture content has been embraced by mainstream culture. There is a divide in how it is approached. There is an historical tension. I think it is important to look at the specificities of sport culture that may be different from other cultures, to look at the formal differences. A good example (off top of head)…about sports broadcast..there are layers of information, the stats and the data etc.

AC: one of the big difference is a lot of pop culture is fixed artifact..but sport has a season arc. So looking at the Sports Cave (watching all the baseball games)

JS: last year we had 2 people and we had 9 people this year. with a survival style game..there is potential for baseball overload. But they are chosen because they are so passionate about the sport. I think sport drives fandom because of the strength of narrative over season, over series, over games etc. The way we tell those stories, the real time broadcast, it hooks the fans. In others, the fandom is just as strong, not ness for brands. Yes, consumption of baseball in the Cave can be overwhelming but they are getting closer to the sport they love, players come in every day, they interact and never get to see it otherwise. We share with other fans and brings people to life and adds dimensions.

AC: going back to PS, getting into data analysis. So how do we use the stats to inform how we programme? (metrics on platforms)

PS: it is such a nascent field. On a basic level, website traffic. plus 6.8m followers on fb, 830k on twitter, 220k on Instagram etc. Are they bots, how do they relate to each other. THere are lots of questions…the numbers sound great. I will tell my next boss how great i did at growing numbers. But it is so new, so saying there is a science is a little silly. There are 2 ways of generating revenue..we sell tickets and we have partners. We want to get the partners in front of the audience we have. Anything I do from digital etc we are still trying to build audience for partners. We wil have live chat with players..video…we brought the players to the fans, allowed them access to ask questions. How do you judge success. We had 6k people. So can we sell that to a partner and generate revenue. We bring things to fans they can’t get anywhere else and that is what fans are asking and demanding of us. The access was determined previously by media and now team is own media channel and at first you think it is a massive undertaking. but tech allows stories in realtime. sometimes it is a short story. We were playing in playoffs…if we had won a match in Miami we went straight to the Finals…there was mesage on board to pack for week. I took photo – one of my most popular. We have that access that we did not. But we sink time money and resources to platforms and are judged on the revenue that can be created

AC: How can we make non-pro-sports narratives more viable? Moving away from competition as highest good

JJ: Find great stories. Telling the core human stories. I think we do… eg police raid story last week on a gambling operation on youth football…(defied what youth sports was about, about innocents) you had adults waging on children. It really was an afront to sensibilities. There is a whole world engaged on sports that have nothing to do with profession that are waiting for their stories to be told. We have done lots of things…we get loads of ideas from plenty sites, blogs etc, high school and youth sports etc

JS: brands have stepped up to support non-professional sports. You see brands telling stories about sports that don’t focus on competitive aspect. Puma in spain and bike rides – about the camaraderie…Red Bull is a good example, how they have built up sports from nothing, they have created the entire experience. As tech and platforms evolve, they did not have to go through major networks, they did it on YT.

JJ: you see lots of stories on the web, telling non-pro sports, about achievements etc

AS: I have to jump in. If you look at the coverage, it is skewed along gender, geographic, specific sports etc. We looked at gender in sports video games how there is a profound lack of gender represented.

JJ: you have to serve sports fans what they want. They want to know what they want to know. People have been following their sports…

AS: I think markets are shaped by the content that is served etc.

AC: look at the gender of fans. Women do 45% of football fans…(and other sports audience stats).

AS: How many women are watching the NFL, tuning into the Olympics. It is a hard sell to a mainstream games publishers to make a WNBA game etc. There are audiences not been catered to. The problem is systemic, to what extent are sports open or closed

PS: we don’t offer a WNBA..there are teams that do it. Online it is about 75% male. We have looked at Pinterest to try and serve that (but only 3k fans). We are looking at what we are offering there, is it jewelry. We do some of that. In other markets, they do other things, like girls night out, Sounds like a marketing promotion to get girls,…but it is just to sell tickets. You will see teams collaborating more to sell tickets across the channels. In terms of underserved market and the female market, they see the sport different. COming to the TV garden is a social experience. It’s not that they are not as passionate, but they have different experience.

JJ: the female sports fan are to homogenous. There are different ways. It has been interesting to see the launch of ESPNW…we are trying to reach a market. Women spend money on the sports…and ESPN has made a commitment in terms of talent, commitment, to show what is going on in women’s sports.

AC: there are questions on backchannel..about social media and access to athletes.

JS: there is much less of a barrier. The athletes are beginning to build own brands. That benefits teams and partners. It can be a risk, generally good though. Fans have a perceived closer relationship with their fave athletes. But they don’t ness have media training and can be issues.

PS: we have done media training…the players are in situation where wherever they are they can run into a fan and be talked about online. They know about not being silly online…but the fans tweet about players not taking photos of them etc. They can’t be the public persona all the time. When it comes down to fans being a broadcast outlet..if they let their guard down , that is a huge issue. And that is what the media training turned into. Having travelled with the team, there is the locker and the plane, the only places where they are private. That is what they worry about more than anything

AS: thinking about fantasy sports and games.

PS: the guys look at these fantasy stats. They are dialed into it…they are very competitive.

AC: looking at things that play out in social media. So Sandy hit NY, and whether to run the marathon or not came up. And the run that was self-organised

JJ: What the NY marathon meant was not just an opp to heal and a financial one. So a lot of questions being raised, not just by reporters, but people who were running or were on the streets…as the week unfolded…there were lots of questions asked. Why were generators ready to heat the media tents…why were the police needed on streets when they needed to help the recovery. THey were being asked on social media and pressure built. Instead of declaring a decision early in week it was not cancelled and many runners came to the city and found themselves on Friday afternoon finding they were not running. So they organised a run…and their own marathon…they ran through the streets. They also organised relief efforts. They gave up hotel rooms, donated to those who needed somewhere to stay. it was an amazing story to watch. It was one of the more compelling human stories of the year.

AC: What is the future of the relationship between sports and computer games. From the NBC side, one of the challenges of the Olympics, they saw games etc as a licensing opportunity rather than a rights issue. IT was given to a tiny company that has held onto it and it limits things like NBC from developing things. There is the different rightsholders..the number of people involved in granting rights and authorities makes it difficult And on amateur sports, more complications in rights

PS: when sports rights, it is not just broadcast it is about digital rights. When I try and market, these are things that TNT/ABC etc looking for the same things, You will have google and facebook as well who will want to own rights. It is coming at a time when teams can create content as well. We have to be careful when someone pays rights and what we do is not competitive to those who own the rights. It will become a larger and larger issue as more rights deals are done. and there will be new rights. The expectation from fan is they want to listen and watch on mobile., different ways etc. We have concepts of marketing territories. Eg in 75 miles I can offer it on the mobile, for next 75m then can pay more, Outside 150m then can’t do anything as NBA has the rights. This is how they can protect how teams can market in their own areas. It protects national rights and teams against each other. Some of it makes no sense. Often when digital and social if I go to the league with an idea, often told no. So for forthcoming mobile app, I can’t have highlights of game as league are going to monetise it.

AS: again in book, about athletes rights, eg NCAA football games and the ‘athletes’ and how they can associate with commercial things….large groups of collaborative users edit the files to get likenesses in the NCAA video games…it has thrown some challenges at games.

AC: has there been discussion of TV around the Fan Cave?

JS: can’t answer directly,…but the volume of content that comes out meets and achieves a TV show. There are benefits in not doing it that way..when we don’t have to deal with producers., we can reach the same audience, we can be a lot more nimble.

AC: why are global prosports a niche in the US and why are US pro-sports not global? (backchannel questions)

JJ: it is becoming more global, in young audiences. It is fun to sit in office to hear a roar through office..there is a growing interest in international football (soccer). from a long form journalism perspective, we spend a lot of time talking about the best sports stories to cover on a global basis. We have a lot of international experience, there is a growing spanish, international audience. We did a story on Messi (plays for Barcelona). Considered maybe the best player in world right now. At age of 13, father took him to Spain and he became a professional player. We went to his home town, and looked at how he tries to stay connected with home…when he’s playing overseas. Had international interest. The same reporter has become the cricket expert. Has done some amazing storytelling around cricket, the future of test cricket etc. Stories have resonated with fans and with US audiences.We are looking for opportunities.

PS: the US pro-sports has a large international reach. 50% of traffic is international. Roughly the same on Facebook. There are more FB fans in Manila than in Boston. So you see players going to these places. We are doing a ballot, and we are opening it up to China etc. THe NBA especially may be the most international reaching. We go overseas to play exhibition games, the sport has played league games overseas.

JS: we measure but don;t look as a primary measure, international reach. We look closely at level of engagement. We are making sure we hit our suite spot in the US.

AC: so questions on board…have any of you seen a changing narrative of the stories around sports. Fans reconcile the myth across channels. One angle is doping…another is the human interest stories around the Games. Rather than the sport itself.

PS: we had a judo Games athletes last night…no-one would have noticed her at the games. It is up to the rights holders to build the stories around the athletes…the opportunity is to build an emotional connection with the players. That’s what we do, as rights holders to try and do that.

JJ: narratives change for a variety of reasons. BUt they can change from reporting. It takes diligence from reporters to dig and uncover additional elements and truths/lies etc. So the Replacement referees for the football..there was chaos. There was this universal thinking about who these refs were. So we started talking about this story…and the reporters went out..and we decided to tell the story of the refs and the weeks of hell that they had gone through. They would not talk until after the agreement, a number shared stories that humanised them and showed the other side to the story. There was a degree of empathy that emerged, that changed the understanding and altered the course of the narrative. They change for a variety of reasons…and for pure reporting

PS: access to athletes is nothing like it was. Reporters no longer travel with the players. There is a proliferation of media along with cutting down the access to journalists..if writers has the same access. They don’t hang out anymore (players and journalists). PS does not hang out with them either. it is a lot harder now. Athletes have a better chance now of creating a myth that does not exist. One of our big promotions has been banner moments telling the sport through fans eyes. That sort of access has changed the dynamic of it as well. It is not just the reporters eyes now, nor the players, the fans are part of the narrative.

JS: to wrap up, as the sports narratives change, we will only see more depth. Fan involvement will only get stronger. While journalism is strong, the front door is closing but many side doors are opening.

JJ: I think they thing that strikes me is how much drives innovation in the way we tell stories, Not just tech and mobile, but the products you see that let athletes tell their own stories…seeing a change, an evolution towards different audiences, a growing audiences, more international, women etc, look for content personlisation opportunities. Excited about the direction the long form space is taking …it has been a challenge that create templates and story telling devices..that lets you play with stuff that you see, It is about telling great stories, not just the news…it is about making you stop and engage with a long form piece of action…those are opportunities we look for regularly and we are fortunate that we have passionate journalists…..

AS: I would mostly say that I was happy that sports media had a seat at the table….what is useful that bridging the divide is useful..

PS: the things that strike me about it..my job has changed dramatically, how teams told story, to athlete and now fans. There are different things that are true or not…last night for the first time we had fan tweets showing in the arena. It was a difference experience at the game. Now people can put their opinion to 18k people at the game, That is a unique experience you can’t get elsewhere. And the athlete having followers on SM, getting a response is like the new age autograph. Fans feel they know the players..and now there is more. They have opp to craft brand and story around themselves and that is the new age of storytelling in sports.

Nov 10

FOE6: The Future of Video Gaming

Liveblogged..there will be mistakes

Many innovations in the creative industries owe their roots and inspiration to the gaming world, from audience engagement and storytelling techniques to distribution methods and cross-platform integration. This session examines some of the critical questions facing those working in the gaming industry as large companies and indie developers grapple with the challenging evolution of the market brought on by new networked technologies, audience practices, and business models. How are game developers embracing or rejecting the unauthorized play of games online, and how has piracy evolved as a discourse in the gaming sector? How do creators strategize around the widespread circulation of games through automated propagation (using friend invitations for social and “free to play” games) — or grassroots spreading (for unexpectedly popular titles like Minecraft) — of information through social network sites? How badly are new architectures (Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, PSN Network) clashing with old traditions (game stores, $60 game discs)? And how are business models in the gaming industry shifting as we see massive success simultaneously from high-budget technology like Kinect and low-budget distribution like the Humble Bundle?

Panelists:
T.L. Taylor, Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies, MIT
Christopher Weaver, founder of Bethesda Softworks and industry liaison, MITGameLab
Ed Fries, architect of Microsoft’s video game business and co-founder of the Xbox project
Walter Somol, head of tech community outreach, Microsoft New England Research and Development Center
Moderator: Futures of Entertainment Fellow and games producer Alec Austin

AA: lets start with questions about piracy; it’s not just music are being pirated…looking at numbers about gaming etc, eg Goo, 90% had pirated it is. Not typical, but somewhat telling. to COmbat, there have been a number of different approaches, eg always online. Walled gardens kind of overlap, etc. plus games which are free to play, and pay in game. There are plenty of models, So first question, what has been your experiences with these responses to piracy and some of the more interesting reactions…

EF: I think we are lucky in game business…we ignored Asia, the console base. We left them to come up with their own model..the free play model. That is the response, what do you do with digital distribution changes it/ You create these download games, on servers, and make money after the fact, give them the choice to spend money

TLT: interesting how people have adapted; thinking about what a fair game is..the discussion has changed. In Asia, the pay to win thing is not a problem. Access with game cafes etc., Attitude is changing

WS: IN China, it is OK to pay to win. In Western markets, not comfortable, they want to show the skills. To go back to piracy, there have been so many attempts to fight it..you see that battle, ie DRm and that creates an uproar..eg Spore, that pisses off people (or Diablo 3 where you have to be online)..but it really hard to get round

TLT: for competitive communities, that had a real issue. The tension of DRM and what game communities wanted to do

EF: you still have people like Valve, who believe in no DRM and if people steal, then you are not offering right product or right price. By offering proper russian localised content, then it is a big market,

CW: you have to go back to before online communication. It has to do with relationship between player and game. When we started, we were concerned about piracy, we had reasonable expectation that people would take it. We did research, looked at paper that said ‘burn after reading’ non-photocopyable. We put the codes on there. We got flooded with calls that could not read it! It did not work too well, we serviced more people telling them what the codes were. We went through game after game, even had one with anti-piracy that if you figured out what it was, it gave you a phone number – to the programmer who talked about a job. We found that people will steal if they want, or play the game you want. They push against constraints. We punished our players…now we have more..

TLT: often piracy and solutions get framed around users and a company. Some of the solutions have a social impact. Talking about how Star Wars MMO going to manage this, with free to play and fee based….how are the guilds going to manage. This word free to pay gets used a lot. But free to play starts are design, it is designed by users rather than game.

WS: another interesting approach, looks over the most recent consoles, single vs multi-player games. Add multiplayer functionality worked to some degree. If you needed the disk in, you had to keep the disk…title updates can disrupt the pirate version

AA: I know EA has tried less to combat piracy rather than resale..having an online code for a certain code..so if you have the disk and not the code, then you don’t get to play online.

CW: lets address this…saying this as someone that was a content creation..I have a big problem to thinking that digital info is different to analog. If I buy a book and I can do what I want it want. I do not want to think the digital version is less valuable, more problems, there needs to be a common thought when it was digital and analog. Do not think it is fair that if someone wants to resell….they should be able to

TLT: it is about forms of authorised use, there is a lot of contention and contingency in this forms

AA: so EA conflated pirates with GameStop

TLT: when thinking about game cultures, then co-creativity is one of the bed rocks, when you take that, it opens up interesting and thorney issues….a few weeks ago, MS restated in TOS that you can’t monetise the games…I do a lot of work with people who livestream their gameplay. What does it mean when we talk about co-created game spaces.

AA: it’s connected to whether a game developer is marketing game by creating the image of a proculture around it. you have a type of game, with a type of players, where the games have a hi level of skill and level of complexity., To get people to purchase and keep playing, so create culture so people can aspire to play the game at a professional level

TLT: i would tweak the direction. A big part of culture is the affective material involvement with them and companies try and leverage it. All the competitive play etc, has a long history.

WS: does anyone play competitive gaming? Played about 12 years…plus sports. it was fun. you go and play and get buddies and you hang out virtually, and it is fun and no surprise that people are trying ways to have fun playing games

CW: fandom has a huge amplification and the more you try and control it the worse it gets. YOu have to pick your battles. If you have an established relationship with your users and they see you as sensitive to them, then you are ahead of the curve. Than attacking them with lawyers. It’s a bad part of the curve to be on

EF: WOrking with site Warcraft Pets. At one point lawyers designed no TM in URLS and a C&D letter arrives and he does not know what to do. On the one hand they had put him, his site, into the game but on the other hand sueing him

CW: there is the yin and yang the attorneys who want to bill you..and the law needs you to be militant to protect the rights and the lawyer sees it through that lens..and then the devs see a fan//. and they work separately.

WS: there is a biz strategy about how to manage this. So there is a company that handles it great – Lucas – so what i have seen they kind of let this stuff happen..as long as there is no money. And Disney suing the Daycare company for painting characters on wall

AA: talk about the relationship between companies and their audience,there is a lot to talk about ways in which companies and audiences relate…you have these cultural narratives, emerging around the business of the games industry, which create type of dynamic between companies and users..then you also have when companies react..and users. So people reacted when Steam came out, and took a few years to turn the narrative around. Steam is sort of always online…they have turned it into a virtuous loop.

CW: there is one issue of piracy that would be good to discuss..thinking back to HJ panel . The tech has created major problems, and tech has some potential answers and tools to address the issues on a scale that could be unique. Every player is going to be online if willing to sacrifice a little privacy, you can have a relationship with the creators and that opens up possibilities, as the nature of piracy changes, to go to developers direct to get permission to have something in a game, to do or this…there is more of a one and one relationship which can be controlled, to get paid, making sure people are authorised. It would change the nature of what people define as piracy

EF: what Alex said, there is more of a direct connection and the smart ones manage it better. Eg Bungie. There is CD PRoject Red, they put out a game…talked about what was right for customer vs the right for the business and how it cost them and how much pain it was and in their case it was long term thinking, long term relationship. do think there is a trend in that direction

CW: to look at it organically, if there is a perception based on fact reality to what the audience wants it amplifies the relationship. Elder Scolls has benefitted that and when Skyrim came round we could change and listen and adapt

TLT: the terms of users and developers are insufficient about the transformative use of play. Game development have got good at at patching live to deal with emergent changes. The language does not get to the heart of co-creativity of that language. WOrld of Warcraft did that. listen. And free to play games are built with that from the ground up, doing live A/B tests

CW: using Zynga, assuming a company is adept at metrics and it is important for a company to think about what is happening. Users don’t always know what they want, there is a tension on behalf of commercial establishment…but you have to moderate it from standpoint of not always right, you have to listen…sometimes people want a fix right now but you don’t have info to fix.

TLT: play practice exceeds the developers chance to react. There is a long history of broadcast..and now people livestream gameplay, people watch and think that it is fun. Gameplayers may not like it. but people do it. The act of play always exceeds what happens on the ground. Metrics is fine, but does not capture the totality. Even without livestreaming, you have the ‘lets play’ videos on YT, just people playing.

WS: my kids watch other people play Minecraft all the time

AA: question from flourish about civility and how users relate to each other and what kinds of steps being taken to make it less hostile

WS: it is a challenge, the first time on Xbox live i was appalled. There is a class of people out there, griefers, that try and make life hard., There have been a couple of systems, on Xbox there is a rating system, you can take off the playworld, In MMO world, different types of servers, you are not free of hassle but not as disruptive.

AA: so MS have a zero tolerance policy for Halo 4. Also league of legends, you can both report and also report team mates for good behaviour. In terms of user contributions, also you can review cases that have been put together.

EF: it varies from game to game. WoW had generally positive experience. Most is through guild and that is positive. Halo Reach, normally play with kids and parental controls are nice. Was surprised at what I heard in matches though. You have to look at what is working, can you groups people in a more community way…at least matches the comm norms

WS: real name vs pseudonym is one way. EveOnline, have built world and players control a lot, they have let it evolve..the players have created interesting world. There are some negative behaviours, but quite good

TLT: this year has highlighted game culture, homophobia, sexism etc. Companies have not paid attention to communities…it is now getting traction. giving players tools to manage communities. Part of what we are struggling with the grown heterogeneity of game cultures, and people push back on the norms and people want to change it. Game companies need to push back

AA: the motivation behind creating the control systems..the norms of the community was such that losers, there was endless sneering..and league was the most friendly of the games. There are more toxic games..so how do the mechanics of a game encourage certain kinds of behaviours..there are games let you be an asshole..(eg Eve). Eve does not have mechanism to enforce contracts between players…when games like League do not have that dynamic they do have a competitive dynamic, the audience they attract tends to skew younger and male and adapts attitudes of that demographic…

CW: Picking up on that…in Elder Scrolls series we started getting registration cards from people over the age of 65 which made no sense. We got 1000s…once we saw that there was a self-selecting demographic. I tracked down some people..many of them were elderly who could not travel, kids had bought it, they got into the game and they just travelled around, the world was used a a mechanic to allow them to travel. Not expected from us. So we realised there was a whole group of people who got something out of it so we changed the bible..so that everything in the world had to be deeper and dynamic..there had to be fish in the rivers etc. We had to assume there would be people who use it in their own way. The truth of the matter is the people who sensitised us were not the demographic..and it made this company think about being careful in terms of what you are doing as people will use it in ways you did not consider.

TLT: don’t want to make Eve the villain, it is a really vibrant culture.. The noobie gauntlet is old habit.. gaming is not a specialised leisure pursuit and you get more people using it facing that gauntlet.

AA: with increasing audience and explosion of casual games, you get different audience. THe space of games they are entering is very different.

EF: it is OK for some to cater to hard core audience, then that is fine. it makes sense for others to decide they are going to go after that

TLT: sometimes the hardcorre gets wrapped up in a bundle of other stuff in a way that people can’t access. Eg women and high competition spaces. How do you build a culture that allows people to get into it

CW: AA idea of judges panel, is about rebuilding or shrinking the society…it is hazing..why not.

EF: you have the right not to bullied at school as you have no choice…but does that apply everywhere? Would you have to legislate for good manners?

CW: you do..through society and parents etc..there are going to be jerks everywhere. either you give someone the door but you warn them that jerks are there, set expectations..but why do noobies have to run the gauntlet.

EF: some will decide that it is not good, and others will just monetise the jerks. Do we prevent the second company doing that. Does every group of people have to be made comfortable in playing the game?

CW: there needs to be some kind of social construct that disallows certain kinds of behaviours…

EF: does a company get to decide how they are going to run the game…

TLT: because gaming is part of everyday culture, it is a public, game company needs to think how they are creating new leisure publics and what the responsibility is. There are lots of people who want to be in competitive spaces..and companies need to think about how they are publics. This is make some nervous but we have to think differently

EF: you are taking a private space public and then think about behaviour different. It is a kind of nationalisation of you take a space that has to meet different standards. Companies decide on own on what works. Generally the incentives are aligned, before you start telling game creators what they have to do and what they have to appeal to

AA: mobile gaming? Social gaming? there are not that many opportunity to offend people in casual games. You had griefing, but not ness active harassment. I feel the rise of smartphones has bought back a variety of classical modes of gaming…there are a large number of games on phone that are board games. The people playing these games are not usually the same as console games. You have a much wider audience….for causal content, then another space in between. It is not just the distinction is being eroded but that the old definitions are not holding up

WS: Video games are a business, they make decision on what will sell. So look at mobile…it a massive business opp and in some parts of world. the only place people connect with web. There are a lot of games out there – the big issue is how to find the games. You will get a lot more, using the hardware etc going to see some new interesting things happening. There is a lot of me too stuff there..lots of opp there.

CW: the iphone5 is 2x as powerful than the 4S. The phone is a PC, a connected PC, you have put in an order of magnitude more devices. It gives developers a lot more opps. So everyone is noise, how do you get the signal. You used to have to go through a gatekeeper…to get in store…now you don’t.

EF: that is what is really great. It was getting harder to get your game anywhere. Anyone could say no and your product was not going to get out, Mobile is not just exciting for thepwoer, but that anyone can get the game out there. Console biz has less games getting made, more games companies to make games though. there is a lot noise, but great ideas find their way.

CW: that is an amazing opp, to be in position of how do I get noticed instead of having to get through 10 people

WS: but how about a store, one gatekeeper for that?

EF: so you can look it as though the Apple store was evil…and steam has a committee to get through, Which is open and closed? There is a battle of the stores coming. Look at all the behaviour of the companies, they want to control everything, building hardware and software and retail outlets. The pivot point is the store, controlling the digital distribution. And everyone starts at a different point. MS doing hardware, you get Amazon as a store doing hardware and software.

CW: Massive companies that have suite spots of capability..then get into other areas and they spend lots of money proving they don’t have the capability..

AA: BackChannel want to talk about diversity in game content. as if company perception of game culture and industry norms combine problematically

AudQ: I ask the question because getting less core gamer content into games exploded…how can we past this, brainstorm ideas about this.

TLT: game companies and marketing depart signal who is welcome in the space

CW: not an argument against diversity, over the years have seen more and more voices coming into the signal, asking why are they not represented. from a small perspective the marketing department do not actively go around targeting specific demos, they do not exclude people, but look for large audiences…

TLT: who the imagined market is can discount options in delivering games

EF: this is the AAA games.. the market is shrinking though. Others are growing. Look at Halo 4, it is a new team, with women in higher positions, getting women in have an influencer. AAA is getting too expensive…you may be fighting a war that will end

TLT: there are women that want to hard core and men that want to do casual…

CW: From a gender standpoint, it has shifted a lot…there is a tendency in business with lots of money to go carefully in case there is a mistake. You get the smaller teams take the chances…you will find AAA will do more as they see it as a opp.

AA: With Mass Effect there was a desire to get diverse content earlier, but care on publishing side. There was an eye on how it was received in the media and in comms that had been asking for it and how it was sold. There was a concern if it was a positive thing for income or not.

AA: Backchannel question. let’s look to the future. What challenges are game creators facng.. what are users asking for?

EF: crowdsourced funding has a massive influence on the game business…and on people’s attitudes. We have had several good ones on Seattle area. I’m an advisor to Youa..a free to play console built around mobile tech…getting free to play on to tv is part of future. The glasses thing, who knows, the VR. Sounds interesting..The console business has been declining over the last 4 years…but still higher this year than last peak. Big fan of free ot play, but you can only do so much. People want that experience on their TV as well

WS: pulled up Kickstarter…games are the number 1 category on Kickstarters….there has been spikes etc,….lots of games. 50m dollars.

CW: the interesting thing will be the longevity of people investing and whether they stick with it. The future of gaming lies in hands of those creating games. But looking at tools, it is brilliant the power of the mobile, and high speed communications, and issue of latency will go down to zero…you are creating less barriers between the conceptual mind and the opp to experience

TLT: but also people playing stuff, how gaming is featured in a larger ecology, eg second screens, how people construct play across networks etc. Players push the boundaries of play first. Keeping an eye of spectatorship…about watching play..dovetails into the next panel on sports. Companies thinking about broadcast modes. This is diferent ways of media.

CW: not novel. Look at players of Doom, there is always an evolvement of tools becoming more powerful. The street will be wider in the other direction (coming back to creators), the tools will provide communities.

Nov 10

FOE: Rethinking Copyright

Liveblogged. There will be mistakes..this was also a very lively and passionate panel, with some strong language

Rethinking Copyright: A discussion with musician, songwriter, and producer T Bone Burnett; Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education at the University of Southern California; and Jonathan Taplin, Director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California.

As the recent legislative battles have demonstrated, it’s becoming painfully clear that our conception of copyright is ill-prepared for regulating and making sense of a world where media content is fluidly circulated by most of a society. However, in an effort make content free to spread in the ways audiences find them relevant, what is the appropriate balance to ensure that the rights of content creators are preserved and that the incentive to develop intellectual property remains? Rather than continue a debate in which audiences and critics attack copyright while media companies cling to them, how might we cut through current tensions to collaboratively imagine what a new sense of copyright, appropriate for an era of “spreadable media,” might look like?

HJ: As I thought about how to frame this, go back to concept of a moral economy….underlying an financial system, there needs to be a moral economy., When there is a shift, a disruption, there needs to be a realignment, a process of building trust again. It begins with claims of legitimacy. The IP has been divided by different claims of legitimacy. It makes it difficult for players ot engage conversation. We have brought together people that have different perspective, to talk through and models ways to bring people to the table. Its part of a conversation that has been ongoing.

HJ: so what are you stakes?

JT: i think the frame is really critical. my first job was as tour manager for The Band, the band made amazing records for 6-7 years before breaking years. Those albums provided a decent income for the band. The drummer made 100-200k a year as work lasted. In 2002, about a year after Limewire, that just stopped. That just ended. in 2004, he realised he had throat cancer, could not pay for rent and medical. He had to go back on the road, with throat cancer. He died; they had to put on a benefit concert for wife to keep hold of the house. Never thought that the gov could sort this out, but come to conclusion that there is one thing that could be done, as a recent report from Google has shown, 86% of money comes from advertising….this means the big brands are supporting piracy. To the tune of 100s of millions of dollars. I think that needs to change. the Ad networks are like the Wild West, there is no moral economy. They are asked to give impression, they give them. That needs to change

TB: devoted my life to recorded to music. Recorded music is the same as wine to france., It is part of national identify., Artists have lead the country, one of the reasons the counties have remained innovative, IN the arts, there are regions, the Mississippi delta, the mountains. We have spread our culture all over the world with recorded music, it has been our cultural ambassador, It has been cut in half. It is as significant as if the french vineyards had died. This is a national tragedy that we are facing; I came here to ask for your help,it is immoral, unethical, it is stupid fo rthe science and tech community to attack the arts. It is incumbent for them to protect them. It is a whole infrastructure that has been destroyed, It is the stores, the concerts, the little clubs, it affects everyone one in the world. Those who do not look at it squarely, to take a look at the arts, are going to subsume the arts in the country.

HJ: we are hearing a crisis on copyright…but also in Fair Use. IP arose when freedom of press only existed for those who had a press. ANy solution we provide has to factor in the growth of creators, those who remix and build on things. Ultimately those who enhance the creative economy, but only if we understand it. Looking at a piece of research from Poland, most do not consume content, those who do, mainly pirate. But those who pirate most actually buy most. People do both. The choices are about moral obligation to those that care, but market failures, the content is not there. Also about how C7D has been used to shut down transformative work and produce hostility, Can we build something to protect artists…

JT: I don’t think it is exclusive to each other. Did a book, on itunes, has video clips throughout, Worked with Fair Use Attorneys to get it right. Fair Use is well documented. But there is a difference between me quoting 30secs and downloading the movie for free. that is different. I have to object that it is a market failure. It is on itunes..all is there. but itunes is only 27% of music, the rest of it is stolen. It is impossible to compete with free. As long as people can make money of the free stuff, that is a moral failure. Not chasing grandmothers (the MPAA and RIAA were idiots), but what is wrong is letting Ukranian criminals make money.

TB: Money is being sucked out of economy to eastern europe criminals. This is organised crime. I’ve benefited greatly from infrastructure but the door has closed behind me. I have several 20 years who can’t get a job. In respect for the people who came before me, who document the reality of what music was and caring for the people who come after me, I;m going to hold the door open

JT: if google changed it’s behaviours it could change the whole thing. If it stopped selling ads on pirate sites. It is not censorship, it is money. Google had to give back 500m for selling Canadian Viagra ads. If they made 500m on Canadian viagra ads. How much money on pirate sites.

HJ: Top question, didn’t the music industry drive it underground?

TB: yes. we can go back.

JT: yes, they were idiots. There is no use of sueing a kid in a dorm. We are not talking about that. we are talking about the organized crime aspect of doing this. John Mellancamp writes on HuffPost talking about this he gets his hat handed to him. They don’t say that to the tech companies. It is strange that musicians have become the enemy.

AudQ: we have had a long standing debate, why are we still have the debate at this level, and not about licensing….to get creators paid and get get the music wanted. Radio have run this system, this gets paid out to the content creator

JT: agreed. But because people won’t do it/ It is not the musicians. It is Baidu. I have raised it with trade representatives etc, there are ways we can track this. This scheme worked for music song writers – eg public music writers.

TB: lets extend analogy. Here’s the way that it worked. Broadcasters agreed to share with artistic community, I’m asking google to do this.

AudQ@ but google are not the broadcaster?

JT: the ISP does not make a sent from the advertisers..

Aud: People are paying the ISPs every month, to access the net. They are paying for comcast, the ISP, to access content. They want access to the amazing stuff. I am suggesting that we pull money from ISPs that are making money and that money goes to a large pool to be paid out to content creators. YOu align all of the incentives, to get content spread,

TB: I don’t want that

JT: that is one potential way of doing it (and suggest in my book). But the problem, is ISPs will tell you that the bandwidth hogs are the worst customers. The people who are really making the money are the ad networks. The Google is the gorilla, there are lots of others. Just look at market cap. Look where the money is

Audq: the telcos are making more money that advertisers

TB: the idea of us picking on google in first place is hilarious. GOogle bills 30b in advertising. 10% is music driven. that is the second category under weather. 10% is driven by music and they are sharing none of that with music industry.

JT: lets talk about Fair Use. Is it a real problem right now, to use small piece to remix or attribute etc.

HJ: we are in a period of enormous uncertainty. Most teachers think they have limited Fair Use in classroom, they have been intimidated too much . Most fans probably have more rights than they believe they have. There is a lot of uncertainty about what is protected and what is not. I think companies are backing off from C&D letters, but law is not being rewritten., It is good will and that can change overnight.. We have companies that enforce it, than they were more entitles too.

TB: transactions rights is what we have to move to.

AudQ: a lot of the panel..the facts are in dispute. We would agree that musicians should not lose livelihoods, even when we have a different point of view.

TB: we have to move to transaction, if you are making money you need to share it

AudQ: does not forward conversation to focus on mob bosses….when I send song to friend, I get worried about that

TB: when I make money of stuff, I make sure people get paid..but I send stuff around

JT: what HJ is after is a clarification about what you can do and a set of best practices that the advertising companies etc could adhere to. So if we could do these two things, none that would need a law, just clarification from Copyright Office. The big brands and the ad networks could really clear this up.

HJ: this is an educational issue. In both directions. There are realities that are not understood by professional proiducter etc. How do we get progress if public does not have a seat at the table? The Copyright Office is called the Mickey Mouse office. It is big industry. If between recording and silicon valley, how does the public get a voice. How do we get a public voice in this.

Aud: it’s called Congress….

HJ: but corporate citizens still speak a little louder. And SOPA was a good example, but not a lot of good examples.

Aud: To people like Mr Burnett, if it was important enough o put in first amendment..copyright was about people granting the right to make money off invention..so question is where is someone like ASCAP, that represented the songwriters in early 1900s…(more comments lost track). So when SOPA the next, how can ASCAP be seen on equal level to someone like Disney who basically pervert the law to save their income. Now it’s not we the people but speciality lawyers. How do you change the conversation to go back to ASCAP model, and use tech so there is a reinvigoration…

JT: so I come in to it form artist, so that the artist can make money. So Jefferson introduced a system for artists to get paid. DO I think extension to support Mickey Mouse is a perversion, yes, I think it is. There has to be a point when things go back to public domain…but until that, the artist need to get paid. And that is not happening. The only place artists get paid is through ASCAP etc, the public licence.

HJ, on the back channel, wasn’t recorded music a bubble..why is it important. SO asking TB, about music players. So what have we learnt from that

TB: You can ask why is painting, It is a medium to record the world. Everyone in this room has been deeply affected my music that has been recorded…everyone has been changed. It is the deepest part of who were are, its the realisaton of Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan. It spreads the ideas of equality, ,love and freedom around the world,

JT: it is up to each artist to decide to give away music away for free. But that choice is now being made for you. If you want to play free concert, then go to it. I just don’t think it is someone elses choice, that if I have spent 100k making a record that YOU decide my music should be free

TB: if the result of their disambiguation is that people start playing in their houses again..that would be good. I’m not opposed to the audience as an artist. I treat the audience with the utmost respect, I bring everything to bear on what I am doing for the audience, but I don’t give a flying fuck about what they think about me, I don’t care, I can’t care. I’m not interested in crowdsourcing, we have network tv which is crowdsourcing, i’m more interested in cable, where each makes their own. Im not asking people not to put music on the internet, I’m asking them not to steal mine

HJ: ASCAP separated control from paying, you don’t control where it is paid. My sense that if you could lose control but gain the revenue.

HJ: no one tells the restaurant what they can play, but whatever they do play, the songwriter gets paid. The songwriters, because of smart people in 30s organised themselves to get paid. The guy who sings or plays the drums, has nothing, he is screwed, the day the record comes out. If we say the only way you can get paid is by closing the doors and putting someone there, in a digital age..you only way to get paid is to be in the same room as people, how stupid is that?

HJ: so what about the report that p2p buy music

TB: people doing p2p are not pirates…there is a big shift in the culture…

JT: probably it is true that obsessive fans consume more culture than people who don’t care. Does not stop that a lot of content is on the sites and being monetised…for big fat guys and I’m sick of it, and that is what I want to stop. We are not going to solve it and that is a start. So a question is asked about what is google incentive is? So if they want to do no evil, they should consider not wrecking another industry, they have wrecked the newspaper and want to wreck the tv and movies..what will they link to when it is all go

BT: recorded music is an art. I can do it here, but it is about reflection….about reflected sound and acoustics etc, devoted 60 years to it. you can have pro-tools in bedroom and that is part of the shift and I want to have people share and listen together, if that is they want to do, then that is great. Not asking any artist not to do anything.

AudQ: My grandfather is the Brazillian shakespeare….it is his centennial..the family is only making money by creating new solutions…no one talking about solutions, just what to blame..what about what the people want. The system changed, no-one brings the solution….

TB: you have to stop now…i fought the record industry, not defending any fat cats..I want to give the audience my very best…I treat them with the greatest respect, I;’m not giving my finger to the audience…you are the one stuck in the past. Internet 1 is a clunky medium, not designed with an ethical framework, not designed to stream music or video.

AudQ:the wine industry invested….the music industry has not

JT: itunes and spotify are bringing a solution, but those solutions cannot fight free. It is not a business model issue, as long as there is something there for free…the free will always win. So all I am saying is, a simple solution, make it a little less possible for people to put up pirate sites, it is part of the solution, not the whole solution…so if ISPs charged, that would help, help me get that to politicians…

AudQ: we are not discussing changed in copyright lws

TB: I did, talking about transactions…

AudQ: wanted to speak to the image of Johnnie Cash, when Cash was not supported by Nashville industry. There is some degree of antipathy to the recording industry…when they did not support the arts, but you can’t stay they did no role. FOE focuses on language, and we talk about Piracy…look at YouTube and Viacom, about piracy, did not distinguish from the community of YT and the company. What we need to figure out is how to develop a more nuanced languages, to sort out what is allowed, get common ground and get to a solutions based approach…

JT: The reason we agreed to come hear that we all agreed that the FoE consortium was perfect forum to continue to try and find solutions. We are not here just to moan about Google. In defence of TBone, when he was starting to do O Brother where art thou, he was told by everyone he was stupid. He sold 18m, more than all, and he just stuck to his guns. We understand that we have to support the art…he gave a whole other career to people, that lasted for 10 years. All we are trying to do is trying to get the clash between tech and content and academic where we can evolve solutions that include fair use, remix rights and that people got paid.

HJ: JY keeps saying that you can’t beat free. But bottled water beats free? In some ways it is a marketing and education thing and also understanding of audience. If the same people who pirate and buy means they move from free to paid regularly, we have ti understand those modes not exclude them .We understand the industry and artist has issue, the audience is seeking something new, the challenge is to make sure the audience is heard. Young people who sample music could be about sampling, about finding new things. It is hard to find interesting music without having capacity to try things.

JT: every single itunes has 30secs…(argument that itunes does not have everything, not goo dto listen)

AudQ: I’m the evil guy (shut down napster etc). Most people can’t understand an artist as they are not an artist., People will see things differently when they are being charged for their memories, all of these pieces that have been put on the web when facebook and Youtube own the copyright…

TB: you are tight, people don’t know artists,,,there is a lot of disinformation. ALmosts everyone in the arts are nice middle class people
JT: I think what Jay said was right on, you will all suffer the loss of your personal property at some point with Facebook claiming they own your stuff. these issues will become personal and that is what may switch it.We are all creators and the question of how you can make a living, or share it should be your choice and not someone elses

TB: Radio played music and shared revenue, internet 1 plays music and sells ads. It is not a new model, it is a model that has worked

JT: don;t know if anyone is old enough to have a great turntable and an amp and speakers and out that first Jimi hendrix and had an experience that was warm and powerful and then the MP3 was invented and they took out all the highs and lows. And we are still living with the MP3..music has actually gotten worse in the digital age, I tis not the same and that is another thing we would like to tackle.

TB: I thought I could do a sound demo, for you. Dylan’s first records has been remastered..I compared to an internet recording…the audience is getting robbed of hearing the experience, of hearing great music. At the shop, we are analog, we convert and use for some stuff, but use analog as it sounds better, we listen carefully. MP3 is a 20 year tech that is so outdated…MP3 is a broadcast medium, fine with that, fine with sharing…the problem is that other people are making money and that is not fairness, it is not a question of hurting the audience or bilking them out of more money…in 1963, the beatles record was 4.95, about 30 in todays money…so what we ask is not a lot. Look at music, if you look at piracy, the music industry has trippled, piracy opens markets…but it has to be brought into the lay. That is not attacking the audience, that is out of respect to the audience. Why have we stopped developing analogue tech, why are we not looking for greener more transferable analog media….

JT: or a digital media that sounds like analog

TB: there has been a complete collapse of standards. We use a 60 year old standard. We try and make things sounds the same, the clarity etc…tech has dragged music to an unlistenable state. When I talk about an attack on the arts…it is not tech. This whole notion of free grew out of a culture of acid-freaks deadheads. The Dead were on ebands, it does not work for all.

HJ: as not a music fan rather a media fans. so at what point does it…an individual vs a company. If I look at TV, the flow of TV produces constant market failures, or film, maybe we can come up with a solution that may work for music and not for others.

JT: as broadband tech increases…I’m going to Chattannooga after that, they have 1GB broadband to all houses. If the film goes to the cloud, there is no reason why you could not have access to everything in a cloud and the problems you describe in market failure will have to be addressed. These are issues that the movie industry will have to address, about making content available in cloud at reasonable price. I believe the music industry is the leader…if you can download a song in 30s, you can download a HD movie in 48 secs…this is a world..it is in Korea, everything that has affected the music industry and we need to figure it out

TB: there is not one solution, we can come up with many. Higher quality of part of the solutions for the art. A better internet, one architected for the arts…a walled garden like apple, you know the provenance, that everything is authorised…a safe place that is just one solution….

JT: is there a a way to see this group could have a continuing dialog to rethinking copyright etc…

HJ: we have the mix in the room that we would want to have that conversation, to push beyond the blame game, the pointing fingers…we have made progress, clearing some myths, laying out the stakes, proposing some solutions, I would love to continue the conversation. There have been heated parts but needed to clear the air. Just because we are not listening does not mean we are hard of hearing..it may start as a discussion list etc…

HJ: one last question for TBone…we have had discussions about curations, and i think of Oh Brother as a real curation. What role did you have in this

TB: it was transmedia, I believe the curatorial function is the future. I am a curator, a freelance poet, i have not had a job, no insurance etc, a freelance poet and being able to live here and work with all these extra-ordinary people I see my job as a curator, i think we need curators, I try and be a reliable source.

Nov 10

FOE6: Curing the Shiny New Object Syndrome

Liveblogged – there will be mistakes!


With the constant barrage of new technologies, platforms, and services vying for attention, media producers and marketers are frequently lost among the potential places–and ways–of engaging with their audiences. Before they have ever truly figured out one technology, they’ve already moved to another, because of an intense desire to be “first.” As such, companies and media properties have launched–and then abandoned–their virtual world presence, their mobile app, their social game, and their QR code and are now exploring “social TV,” “Twitter parties,” Pinterest pages, augmented reality, and location-based initiatives. This leaves the web littered with old blogs, microsites, and profiles and companies blaming technologies when, too often, it’s been the lack of strategy that led to no traction. How do storytellers and communicators build a framework to more intelligently choose technologies based on how a platform aids their story and their audience, rather than a “gee whiz…get me one of those” approach? How does–or should–listening to the audience factor into this process? And what role, or responsibility, do technology creators have to help with this integration process? Drawing on examples contemporary and historical, this panel looks at how and when to take risks with new platforms, the difference between “innovative failure” and “failure to innovate,” and the deeper patterns of engagement that help us make sense of how new platforms and behaviors connect to longstanding means of engagement.

Panelists:
Todd Cunningham, Futures of Entertainment fellow and television audience research leader
Jason Falls, CEO, Social Media Explorer
Eden Medina, Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University
David Polinchock, Director, AT&T AdWorks Lab
Mansi Poddar, co-founder, Brown Paper Bag
Moderator: Ben Malbon, Managing Director, Google Creative Lab

BM: work at Google, spent a long time in advertising, before that an academic. Want to start with a quote from Arthur C Clarke: tech is a queer thing, it brings great gifts with one hand and stabs you in the back with the others’. Tech beings great tools. It is overwhelming and dangerous for companies, but offers a huge gold mine of opportunity. As we look to engage in ways that are more connected, more rewarding, just better…think fascination with shiny objects also applies to story tellers, to publishers erx, we’re all prone to want to use shiny and new before we determine what we want to do and why. We get excited by the how, rather than the what and why. The rush to AR a few years ago, how much delivered useful and enduring. QR codes, been hyped, what have they done for anyone yet? If you rushed in to embedding it, would you have succeeded or failed. Was smart of foolish? In 2005, agency set up a virtual agency in Second Life, what was the success of this? it gave PR, made people feel the agency were at cutting edge, but what did it really achieve. Now we haver social tv, twitter parties, location games tumblr wetc, hangouts…(lots and lots). it’s the hardware as well as the software. Probably all of this have some role to play for us, but, when to engage, when to dabble, when to start experimenting and investing. best to be a pioneer or emulate proven success. Who should do this in company? is it better to be prepared by investing early, build up knowledge, or just take things as they come. how should real people, not tech etc, be involved in this process and how to use their insights and wisdom. and what is the diff btw innovative failure and failure to innovate. what does it mean when they say failure of awesome, what does that mean. Have got great array of people to talk about this.

JF: my perspective that of the dumb guy. Live in Kentucky, work with medium to large businesses. I try and take the theory that we talk about academically and distill it down to the real work, the business owner. At a variety of levels, not at the global level. Bring a pragmatic approach.

TC: was at Viacom, much of the conversation here over years has been an evolution of what is happening. but it seems like groundhog day, will be talking about examples of what we have done, when obsession with new, the finding the new was rampant, but how does this link with what does consumers want and how to get business outcomes.

EM: the token academic on the panel, that is the role. Come from history and engineering. Part of my recent book, looks at a shiny new object, a computer, project Cybersim. it looks at the relationship between political innov and tech innov and shows how cutting edge systems can be built without cutting edge tech..and have radical influence on human behaviour

MP: all about the shiny new objects, that is what we write about. Shiney and new, not always sustainable/.YOu can talk about shiny new objects, but not just tech and platforms that are not shiny new.

DP: Currently with AT&T, first time in a company for about 20 years. Have spent about 25years looking at shiny objects. trying to be the translator, there’s a lot of cool stuff, but understanding how it relates or not and how to build a sustainable programme about looking at new and inserting new.

BM: let’s start with the obvious first questions. So what do we mean by shiny object syndrome.

DP: a shiny object is when you don’t know why you are using and no plan for using it next, so you just hop on. Not ness tech, or bright and shiny just you jump on there as someone thought you should be on it./ Facebook and twitter are shiny for some. The power company jumped on twitter (when there was no power). on twitter we are jumping on twitter asking about power every few minutes. there was no way to respond..it was a shiny object, they had not thought it through and people got pissed off with then

MP: for us, it is costly. small team, hard to decide to experiment, we deal with new content and things, wary of shiny new, a new platform, or doing new thing, for us it is the costly ones

EM: for me, it is something that is new, but also that seems modern. Encapsulates something of our vision of the future.

TC: has no traditional source, no expected source., can come from idea, inside, employee, research, how people interact with existing. much of that is important to understand the source in trying to understand how to use it in future. we tend to treat all at the same level, when some are seismic and others are just inching away.

JF: add about the context for small business, following the lemmings of the cliff, you are doing something that diverts attention from you should be doping. It is diff to have an org and a budget to experiment and then having a practical bis to run and not having the time. That is acontext. for 97% of worls, it is diverting them from making money

BM: what drives it, what creates the need?

JF: comes from a couple of places., the individual, the motivating thing. in Social media, in agency etc, because account person who discovers something they think is new and innovative and they think if I bring it to the agency and client uses it, it’ll make me look good. I try and drill down to the motivation of who is bringing to the table. Also, when strategic thinker, to bring to the table when I see potential, how it can change how the client works, what the competition is. Not always better or worse, just different

TC: the motivation is a big driver, that they look for capital. A big company QWall str is driving, to appear to be growing and moving into new areas. Can be in conflict with companies creating the new stuff,they just want to sell the product, not add shareholder value. it is a reality you are not expecting to face, you want partners that will help you build business,

BM: is there something more elemental, doe it about less commercially focused, more a need to be creating a future.

TC: corporate culture, if you are about innovation, creating the future.

DP: forget shiny objects, we have a culture of new. New wives etc. We look for new. In advertising industry, we are all talking about it, it;s the echo chamber. Did anyone outside ad industry know what was subservient chicken? we all loved to talk about the new. we want to talk about the cool. It is beyond just us

MP: as entrepreneurs, you are expected to be building the future, pressure to be in the new spaces, especially in developing world. to make the marker. Pressure to experiment, be the people to try everything. big reads on why social media platforms are being pushed. Why wouldn’t you use the free platforms. Of course you would, why wouldn’t you

BM: do you feel this is a new thing

EM: it is the same thing in history. YOu see there is a bias to new, to innovation, In history you learnt about ‘ages’ internet, nuclear etc., They are defined by what is new. If we look at how we use the tech, they don’t overlap with the demarcation.s

DP: Samuel Johnson, in 1751, the shiny object was the pamphlet.

TC: there may be a tendency for the new, but people don’t like change. Even you you use the shiny new object, not all will. YOu can be excited about it, and others don’t care. The whole thing around the bias to new, have to factor this inb

EM: it is not resistant to change, it is that people are not convinced. YOu would look at processes of convincing.

BM: How much obsession with new is non-sensical when we ignore things that work fine.

JF: only a problem if you constantly fail. If you keep trying you will run out of money or get lucky., The SNOS, with most clients, they don’t think about why they want to use it, they just use it. Spo Second Life, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc. Have tried to take client though 5 whys. YOu have to get to the reason..(ultimately to sell products). You approach it with different calls to action and you think different. Have to approach with strategic long term value proposition. Trying just to try means you will waste your money

DP: but you need to know what is new out there. When joined Twitter, it was about food. It took a while for it to become valuable, where it can deliver. The challenge is to be aware of things without jumping into things. (took us through highlights of 9 ways to market your company through chat roulette). Chat Routlette was an interesting thing, an dynamic in how it created a new comms channel. Funky that you randomly got connected. But using it to pitch is not where you should do. Be aware of it and what it means.,, Is there a society thing. KNow, without putting marketing things against it

BM: What are the ways in which companies can filter and decide which are good and bad and worth gambling on. They differ greatly. DP runs a lab that helps decide. MP has to decide herself. How is the approach done.

DP: we have real labs. Do a lot of shiny object looking. Getting the right people to understand how it works, what infrastructure is needed. Also bringing it to people who don’t know. Put it in front of people and ask if of interest. A combination of experts and non-experts to get real world feedback. We do a lot of that.

BM: a luxurious position to be in! What about the other end of the spectrum

MP: driven from a personal interest. Business partner loves Twitter, and is on it all the time. so she looks after it. So if someone knows it and excited, then by the bootstraps. We also respond to the readers, we encourage comms and we listen to what they are asking for. Developing app, everyone in India was on Blackberry. Last year. We focused on Iphone as we were advised that it would be moved.”and they were right

JF: listening to the right people is right. If you don’t have a labs team, or whose job it is to tinker. you have to depend on a trusted curated network of influencers. I will not pick up on new objects until I hear my influencers try something, There is the bleeding edge folks, at larger companies and then it trickles out to heavy influencers., it is critical that if you don’t have the time abd resources you need to find the influencers who fo

TC: don’t overlook the need to do research. At Viacom, av age 27-28, we saw audience change. Many coming with new techs, most success when we would pair younger adults with a seasoned leader, with experiences, to take research and insights and then translate into value. To take a SNO to be more than that.

EM: For example, hearing Jason, reflects finding of diffusion of innovation literature, this is about the S curve, you have the early innovators that takes a risk, then up and then the laggers. A switch isdriven from about knowing users and seeing the value and have it in the community.

BM: is it back to who is reputation play from companies looking to be innovative, so new business tools instead of real understanding. Is that a problem

DP: Often it is. But why are you doing it. So Google worked with Coke to buy the world a Coke, interactive vending machines. From 70s ad singing on hillside. So last year, through cell phone text the machine and give them a free coke. You could send thank you message back. It was shiny as too costly to do everywhere. But it was a strategic innovation and tied into the brand. A simple way to use the shiny object and deliver strategic. A one off deal, but that is how that works. Cool stuff like that. (ie be your inner 007). They are innovative that try things out.So Burgert King, printed wrappers with your picture on..to drive ‘have it Your Way’ Cool press, get some interest. So is it the hot thing, or tied into the business strategy. HRBlock in second life was NOT who they were

BM: Is it OK to do this purely for PR? When it is not OK?

TC: when not the right return on investment. SO looked at MTV getting into virtual worlds. replica of the shows. Huge win, for advertisers. All indications for MTV to continue..but the costs for doing it was prohibitive. Despite that is was good to go for, just not the right thing as not financially prudent.

JF: agree about ROI, critical part of decision making. Where is the tipping point when you stop to serve your audience, when you don’t provide value (and only look cools). If just cool to slap self on back is problematic

MP: when you start things you can’t control. Eg UNilver, Gang of Girls, (Sunsilk) started space for girls and hair. They had not got the mileage that they were expecting, they just stopped but they didn’t pull the platform down and it became a place for men to go – a shady thing. A newspaper got hold of this, wrote story bad for company.

BM: talking about the 2 broad approaches. So in stock, or just in time. So is it sensible for a team/person to focus in exploring and preparing or just to make more sense to bring things in when you need them.

JF: it depends on the organisation and how you use innovation and how bleeding edge you need to serve customers. One group, is Cafe Press. Customisation engine. They are a tech company, everything they do is onthe web. It is a tech based interaction. They feel like they need to be bleeding edge. We worked to define the skunk works lab team. They needed to devote budget and resources. It was important for them. Would not ness approach HRBlock that well, would it serve their need?

BM: what are pannelists for shiny objects to say goodbye, are their techs that are being ignored?

JF: Did some research on banking, one of interesting things about what people were saying online. The sources of conversation, 90% were on message boards. Threaded conversations. That is your anti-shiny new object and marketers are ignoring it. Would also like to say goodbye to marketing on Facebook.

TC: yes, facebook. Would like to see more of the spoken word. Loads of research about how this works. This is always most effective.

EM: would like to have reconsidered is voting technology. Voting machines seem to be the shiny new object. Some of the most democratic elections, eg in Chile, they are paper based.

MP: languages..more languages..want to see more of different languages.

DP: should lose QR codes. Augmented reality will grow more

BM: What does being an expert mean. Is it even possible to be an expert? I work within company that is hard core on innovation and no-one feels up to speed all the time.

JF: don;t think it is possible to be an expert in the thing/tech. But you can have considerable amount in the process, of testing of understanding. In knowing if it makes sense. In taking the Sniny New Object, and making sense of it. YOu can’t be an expert when you don’t know what the next thing is

TC: people are in a constant state of reaction. You can be an expert in understanding consumer, what their intention. Need to understand what the end person intention is.

EM: One of the things about claiming to be an expert is a mark of professionalisation, of a career,

DP: I work with a company that has a lot of phds. There are lots of experts in certain things, eg cell tower technology. You need to surround yourself with people with the knowledge based., YOu can hear the conversations, hear the common thing, that is when you know there is something possibly going on. There are people who have corporate culture expertise. There are some people who have specific expertise. The challenge is identifying the real experts from those who call themselves an expert. In the tech world, many are myopic. There can be tunnel vision.

BM: a different view of expertise from MP. How did you discover you were an expert?

MP: we are expected to be experts with a pinch of salt. We are supposed to have opinions. It is easier to develop and easier to lose. You have to keep learning and developing daily, it is a more fragile things. We work on it a lot more on a regular basis. We categorise it regular.

BM: How much does VC world drive this obsession with new.

TC: it was a source fo rus. We sent teams to the Valley, to engage with them, bring them in. We would have to help shape their message into talking to the culture. Source of lots of motivation., It productised innovation

JF: there is a good and a bad. The good is that you would hope they would not invest money in something stupid. As a consumer, you would look at the investment, there may be something there, that there are indicators about substance in the Shiny new object. But the bad, about pushing it is just about making money. So where is the balance.

DP: will disagree. The venture is built for quick flips. Look at Groupon. Looked at Urban Fish..a bicycling company that does not charge for what they did. The deals also drive the market, you see trends, then it all falls down. The VC world has propelled shiny objects in a way that does not normally happen in other areas.

BM: does it matter? Who loses?

DP: we saw in first bubble that people ause. It has to be about what it means to consumer, to business. There are still fundamentals that do not change. It has to do something does not change, and too often the do something is profit only

BM: can we talk about failure? Do people really know what they are talking about when saying fail fast? When is failure is OK and what type is Ok and when do we celebrate it?

MP: What happens is, when developing world, eg India, VCs come and see work in US and replicate in India. A lot of time that does not make sense, infrastructure etc. ecommerce is overcrowded and you can’t get your mail in time! No credit cards. Failure is a little OK when models exported. Once they start seeing that it does not work, then create projects that are more suitable. Not a terrible thing, so we learn how our consumers react.

DP: the inherent part of testing and R&D, is that somethings do not work. One award, the Penguin Award, that failed but it stretched the participants. It could not be a stupid failure, there had to be a change that you would be successful. There is opportunities, it goes back to why you are doing it. What is the motivation. If failure is part of the learning, then that is a good thing.

JF: the way you framed it, was about what is the difference between innovative failure and failure to innovate. If you borrow carol’s phrase, those that aren not moving don’t matter. If it is instigated by curiosity, if you are asking questions, and are learning then it is acceptable, But in a business, it is more murky, how much resources you put in

TC: Failures are not celebrated, with Wall Street and need to drive value. Learning something is rarely part of the conversation in big companies.

EM: Going back to the point of fetishnisation of failure, also struck by MP comment about models that work here but not INdia, it reminded me about the export of US culture, is the fetishnisation of failure. SO looking at Chile, and start up culture focus. Part of the discourse is that Chilean businesses have been conservative, so part of the training has been about getting used to possibility of failure. With Startup Chile, the capital for start up is easier to get but US has models that make it easier (to be bankrupt) and Chile not as forgiving of debt.

DP: Part of the challenge, is that we often do not give things enough time to happen. So we call things a failure immediately , We have to be conscious about the natural time for certain things to get the point, and don’t rush that. The biggest challenge with shiny objects, they rush it they use incorrectly and they announce the shiny object the failure, not how it was used. We need to balance need to be quick and fail fast with the legitimate time things take to happen

BM: Adopting shiny objects can be a sign of desperation (eg publishing industry). What is your take on this?

TC: as a bailout they can inspire something, but lack heft and significance and can’t change things. THe Shiny object does not respect the industry, not taking to understand how it could help.

DP: key word is desperation., Do anything in desperation, that is not a good move. YOu need to take time, not jumping in, need to think through the process.

BM: so what about real people, how do we involve them? In helping us decide what is right to test and play with and explore.

JF: Constantly asked question, how do I know where my audience is, what my audience is doing. So I say, why don’t you just ask them! Do they read blogs, on Facebook etc, In Cefe Press, we have recommended that they need to identify users that have been there a while, and they need to pull a focus group off to the side, to get involved. But bringing the real person to the table can only help.

DP: you look at Apple famous for not listening, but deliver what they want. It takes a lot of work to listen. You should always have been listening, not just on social media. YOu have to take off your filter and then translate to something that can be done.

BM: more specifically, what examples?

TC: you need to get more that the onpoint people, you have to get everyone involved in the listening business. Nike is a great example, have a programme, to ideate, getting everyone involved to think about innovation and listening to consumer.

DP: Lululemon and Athletica. Lululemon, has a big chalkboard in each store, records the user comments. Once a week, every store talks to the design team. Gets the feedback. If they find enough people say things, then they put it into the design process.

AuDQ: We talked about the Whys, listening, but not about putting yourself in the audience shoes. Have you seen companies doing that?

JF: not seen people doing it. They are still trying to market on Facebook. Don’t think they do. You think about why people on Facebook…over than 40 to see kids, younger than 40, then to stalk your ex. You are not there to read messages, get products. We rush to Facebook, we try and get stuff there. We have bastardised a cool cocktail party. Always ask why they would want to interact with the brand.

DP: We can’t always be in the other person’s shoes. Everything we do should come from users point of view. I don’t get the shows my daughter gets…you sometimes can never get the other person. So listening to a lot of sources, helps me understand that.

MP: I think the audience I service is very similar to what we are. If they don’t like what we recommended then they don’t listen. That is our most powerful tool., that we are likeminded to our audiences.

AudQ: Many in Brazil, with VC, just copy and paste from US. What is mentality of what you bring to an emerging economy?

EM: what i have seen in Chile is more of what the gov wants; more familiar side.

DP: it is exactly what we talk about elsewhere. It has to be organic. i won’t show up and understand there. I might come in and set office up, but would need to hire local We don’t take time to do that

AudQ: Why shouldn’t brands use Facebook? Is it related to level involvement. So for me, things they are passionate about works on Facebook, eg films, sports. So orgs invade instead of facilitating products.

JF: don’t get me wrong., I do work with brands on Facebook, It is one thing to approach FB and think about marketing and another about providing value. How can we provide content and functionality and info to let the audience use Facebook better. When you see the companies doing it well. Sony does it well, they give the fans the tools to share and talk about the passion

DP: WHo remembers Amway, that is social media marketing at its worse. That was someone you stopped hanging you with someone. Bad when just delivering pitch message

EM: if we want people to use new tech, we need to convince them that they are relevant and to feel comfortable. One thing is that it takes time to be be comfortable, not something that is new. So look at the concern about the telegraph, Today we talk about Facebook, We worry about privacy and data. So becoming comfortable, what that means with social norms.

AudQ: do any of you have examples of people driven shiny new objects? That becomes daily usage.

JF: Kickstarter is first thing that pops into the mind. A way to tap into microfunding.

DP: Pinterest. Because it was used before it was being talked about.

JF: Pinterest was around about a year, 18months and really popular, then went widespread,

AudQ: what is an appropriate role for VCs? A way to evaluate shiny new objects

JF: it has to go back to going back to what they are supposed to do, Evaluate business proposition, how does it make money and is the market ready. We have now VCs looking at acquisition potential rather than market potential.

MP: as a small entrepreneur, we love VCs. THey play an important role in India, bringing organised investment to markets that did not have it. The process of applying really helps companies, you are working out the economics, help you add value you may not have thought about when getting VC ready

BM: one thing that I have learnt, I loved JF the 5 Whys. And an expert is someone that asks the right questions.

Nov 09

FOE6: From Participatory Culture to Political Participation

Liveblogged, There will be mistakes

Around the world, activists, educators, and nonprofit organizations are discovering new power through their capacity to appropriate, remix, and recirculate elements of popular culture. In some cases, these groups are forging formal partnerships with media producers. In other cases, they are deploying what some have called “cultural acupuncture,” making unauthorized extensions which tap into the public’s interest in entertainment properties to direct their attention to other social problems. Some of these transmedia campaigns — Occupy, for example — are criticized for not having a unified message, yet it is their capacity to take many forms and to connect together diverse communities which have made these efforts so effective at provoking conversation and inspiring participation. And, as content spreads across cultural borders, these activists and producers are confronting new kinds of critiques —such as the heated debates surrounding the rapid spread of the KONY 2012 video. Are new means of creating and circulating content empowering citizens, creating new forms of engagement, or do they trivialize the political process, resulting in so-called “slactivism”? What are these producers and circulators learning from media companies and marketers, and vice versa? What new kinds of organizations and networks are deploying this tactics to gain the attention of young consumer-citizens? And, for all of us, what do we need to consider as we receive, engage with, and consider sharing content created by these individuals and groups?

Panelists:
Sasha Costanza-Chock, Assistant Professor of Civic Media, MIT
Dorian Electra, performing artist (“I’m in Love with Friedrich Hayek”; “Roll with the Flow”)
Lauren Bird, Creative Media Coordinator, Harry Potter Alliance
Bassam Tariq, co-creator, 30 Mosques in 30 Days
Moderator: Sangita Shresthova, Research Director of CivicPaths, University of Southern California

SCC: Looks at how social movement use media, how the media reports on them. How they can influence political and policy change. Shows a slide, that looked at front page newspaper analysis compared to social media mentions. Get interesting how ideas spread across platforms. Eg twitter blows up, you get the newspapers the next day. This is part of a larger project, about social media movement practices, how various movements use the media and interact with them. Social movements are increasingly engaging in transmedia activitism, produce content across different platforms, using media from one part and inserting across different channels. The broad argument is that every social movement does this and always have; it’s just a lot more visible now and there is an increase in the amount and channels.

DE: A performing artist. (showed a YT clip of her work). In 2010 saw a economy video, and decided to make my own, music about economics. Got all these econ fan boys etc…now thinks about what she can do with the platform . Economics can be dry, but can be really fun. Tries to take the stuff and make them more interesting. (example below)

LB: (intro video, about what the HPA did with the election, the phone banks etc). Video blogs not shown in front of audiences, normally. So nice to hear laughter!. We do videoblogs every week. The HPA is a 501C3 non-profit., We educate and mobilise young people on civic engagement. We use fandom to connect with them. Take the enthusiasm and apply them to real world social justice acts. We sent stuff to Haiti, built a library in brooklyn, work on marriage equality, etc. We use metaphors from the HP books, when we apply the metaphors it is a way for them to understand on a personal level. They gamified the phonebank, ran a a house cup to get people involved. Get people enthusiastic by helping out

BT: Showed a promotion video, 30 Mosques in 30 Days. Did something slightly different this year, did not travel, got people to crowdsource stories.

SS: first time the panelists had seen each others videos….now to ask questions. How does your work relate to politics and policies.

BT: Generally speaking, when Muslims come into the conversation, things get political, which is not necessary what I want. We talk about the issues, but on an universal scale about how people relate to them. We try and keep it open ended and not political of how people should look at things. We don’t want to be involved to much in the politics. We don’t want to undersell, not be like a slogan, or have an agenda.

DE: does not see herself as political, wants to get away form this. Wants to be about education, about understanding the ideas in a critical way.

LB: does not consider an activist, not political.Legally non-partisan, do not endorse candidates. Have plenty of difference of opinion, Take that into account. We think it’s more about human rights than ideological argument

SCC: illustrates the issue in the US about what politics means. We limit it to elected officials and legislations. We need to step out and think about transforming the world, how do things change. There are 3 main areas of social movement. SO media activation; policy outcome is a different outcome. The 3rd and one of the largest of social transformation is a cultural outcome, where we change the way people think, change ideas about what is possible. If you focus on the first 2, then each have been involved, or distance. But in terms of the cultural shifts all of you are definitely involved,

LB: we have so many young members. Our other videoblogger came out as an undocumented American, so could out a face on the ‘Dream Act’ and there was a personal connection for the phone banking call on this.

SS: THere is a question about the background and what inspired them.

BT:background in advertising and film making. And partner is a journalist. So first project was just in NYC and then they blew it out

LB: paid job is an editor for documentary; just graduated from NYU. Grew up making films, documenting own alliance. Had been watching videos with the YT community. Watching a lot of separate bloggers and found out they new each other, and the HPA. Then I decided to get involved in it and then HPA launched a videoblog.

DE: started in 2007 when friend got a mac with video cam. Just started playing around. Did not study film or economics at school. Now at college, getting broad education (a book college?).

SS: there is a question about what you have learnt, what you would share. What are the skills needed.

DE: I don;’t just want to communicate to one audience. My videos have been possible in Austrian economics. I would like it to be in a broader community. It is about context, having a true understanding of audience, being able to out themselves in that position. I have a following of Libertarians…don’t see myself as Libertarian, more a Liberaltarian..but to bridge different worlds, need understanding of both, will be along process. That is a skill that is required.

SS: speaking of audiences, what about un-intended audiences. Have you encountered that, people see that you didn’t intend

DE: over the summer, gawker.com published a smear piece on her (totally flattering)..the videoblogger Libertarian Lolita! Saying was part of a rightwing conspiracy indoctrination, to make the Tea Party hip. Had all this support from places, saying not to pay intention. Really grateful that got feedback. It was the worst possible way to interpret the work. Gave her a chance to reflect and amend her image. (it was in no way true)

SCC: people were asking why activism was a dirty world

BT: would like to be seen as a story teller. When you say you are an activist…don’t want to get pigeonholed. It can have a problem of confining films, ideas, allows things to be sloganised. I hope to raise conciousness, give more information. I would be careful of calling that activism

SCC: there are a lot of different platforms into something that looks like transformations. From participatory cultures, internet natives. sometimes that connect with to other sphere of participation. There is another pathway, through social movement participants, who are producing media about the movements, eg Dream Activists, Occupy movement. Any Movement history, a defining moment, one of the thing that happens is people participate in media making. You have people moving both ways now.

LB: to add a point. Don’t think have earned that term. The HPA thinks as itself as fan activists, this is not as scary, activism seems to be a big thing that have to work at and earn.

BT: being a person of colour, get worried about being tokenised…it gets little sensitive for me

SS: when do you merge the different identities?

LB: none of us post political things on Facebook. I have 2 extremes, those who do identify as activists, post anything and don’t care of reaction. Another group just want ot rant about political stuff. Tends to be in the middle. I post different things at different points, will post different personas. It is about not wanting to start fires

BT: DOn’t get oo political on Facebook, but do try and raise consciousness about things, eg drone attacks in Pakistan. Try and find something that has credibility, that has things that people are happy with it. Less is more as well

SCC: there are loads of questions still about this, why people shy away the terms. So circulating info about drone attacks is politics, but you don’t have to call it that!

DE: Politics is inherently devisive, which team are you part of. Personally, politics i prefer to talk in person, without radical online debates. When I post things in general, people do interpret as political.

LB: (to address the question about the video views). Yes, we don’t get too many views. Especially about updates to campaigns. The views are not what matters. We have regular viewers from an established fan community, There is intense discussion, in comments and on other channels. I’d love there to be more views…we started to add something to the community.,, We have achieved the goals, consistent messaging, to have other faces of the organisation, showing them other staffers etc. Would be nice to have higher views, would not really do more for us.

SS: there is a question about lessons about Kony2012.

BT: when Kony happened, all these people sent these videos that I never thought would have. The video was long (and bad), there was a lot of interest..but it does not work out. YOu can’t simplify an issue, you have to tell the full story.

LB: a good example of how people are becoming critical. You have to be more accountable. This time they reached so many people, they could not get away with it again.

SCC: Some great work has been done..the things that are amazing, what they did right, is that it is not about a single issue, doing face to face events, doing lots of these over the years. With former child soldiers, spent years doing that to build up awareness, Should not take away the agency of this. The video is compelling, they do a lot of key things in the video, calls to action. The strategy and tactics were good, the criticism compelling, about the narrative, white saviours saving the Africans from a threat that no longer exists; that the resources are not allocated the way Ugandans want; military intervention is not the right idea on the ground. There are bad things about the narrative and the proposed solution.

SS: it has been interesting to see Invisible Children come back from this. They are planning a big face to face appearance in DC. It is an interesting reaction to slacktivism. It is not OK just to forward/Tweet etc, they want people to turn up. Are they still be able to capitalise on this? So moving on, asking about slactivism.

LB: Up until recently, thought it was a derogative term. But fan activism, as it is now, is housed on online, A lot of what we do would be defined as slactivism. I have recently come around it. While bigger change happens from marches, you can’t do that a lot. But with things about status, change.org petitions, it is something you can do every day, something you can take action right there. You may not have done it otherwise, may spark awareness. When traditional activism has such a big ask, you have to plan ahead, this is a problem for Millennials.

AUDQ: Ask about perspective SOPA and PIPA legislation…the reaction to this from the public to Congress?

LB: good examples of things that took off, something of how one idea one bill will get more publicity, if public figure does something about it.

BT: interesting how reddit has evolved into a community that everyone checks, how it can be something that people check

SCC: Lots of work about how people get involved. How companies get involved, and what they do.

SS: question from board, about theories of change

DE: being here has been amazing about seeing alternate methods of change. About new media in West Africa – $30 dollar phones etc. How companies can be creators of culture. How real culture and lasting change comes from the bottom up.

LB: Most of what I say about being political is me personally, not the HPA. THe HPA does try and make change, spread the discourse, educate people., Often smaller things, but working to change the discourse of younger people

BT: with 30 mosques, was about interesting stories in innovated ways

SS: how do you engage with popular culture? What do you think about this, the benefits, pitfalls

DE: use dot be a typical hipster, not listening to pop music etc. Then realising that some of the stuff on radio was infectious etc, then got hooked, the stuff that makes people feel good, want to make that kind of music. It is a question of the content, rather than the type of music. What if Katy Perry also sang about the social sciences, not just boys and parties.

LB: the whole basis of fan activism is using pop culture, in terms of fandoms, HP, Avengers etc, These are our modern myths. We’re using that as they are th pop culture stories that drive our generation, Society is fueled my narrative in some form – whether religion or revolution.

BT: is about how Muslims interact with pop culture. We put out videos this year, eg 1st day of Ramadan the day the Dark Knight was released. Many Muslims also don’t go to cinema in Ramadan, so made a video about this.

SCC: heard this question a lot. How does political motivation, cultural shifts link to pop culture., There is often the perception that there is one form of pop culture, but there are many internet cultures, pop cultures, Sometimes there are bridges between them. Not saying there isn’t a hegemonic pop culture, but you need to think about the subcultures etc. Some modalities are more explicitly linked with political activation. Not a conclusion, but a challenge to think about complicating things,

SS: Do you know of companies that do something similar?

BT: There are ways. Eg Unheard in NYC (BBH). Gave smartphones to homeless, to tell their stories. THen gave people at SXSW wifi – there was a lot of controversy, but it allowed a conversation to happen.

SCC: would like to give a shout out to the public media makers. Lots trying to think about how to amplify these projects, make a social change process more visible. AT USC, we have been thinking about this. So visitors about the High-Rise project, about highrise living, gentrification etc. They link to community groups etc, Also people from Back Audio film, had lots of money from Arts Council in UK, did lots of media project about immigration etc.

AudQ: How about the Dove campaign?

LB: Dove was successful; there are lot of companies trying to get transmedia projects that do this.

SS: a question, that there seems to be a consensus around single issues. How to you sdeal with people who reject your view?

DE: you communicate to a specific audience, you do have to select. How do you communicate with multiple audiences, You always select something over others.

BT: a lot of audience is US Muslim, plus other Muslims., We visited a gay iman, and got a lot of backlash, a lot of people stopped watching.

LB: when HPA first supported marriage equality, they got a lot of negative responses. This year, none, But got a lot of issue raised about immigration and Dream act. Seem to get the issues, human rights issues, before the mainstream. Think it was more about the national consciousness. The election stuff was all passed, about equality.

SCCL: it is an interesting moment, describing this process of cultural shift. Back how to how do we change the world. You can’t just immediately legislate away these issues, that will transform them. You need to have a conversation and that is how media makers contribute to them

AudQ: I loved the HP books, but they were books..I did not think about all these things them. So how does HPA get started, where do the other thoughts and themes comes in

LB: you can find reasons and metaphors in any narrative and it does not mean the author meant them. Fandoms are a ‘big thing’ about how people can talk online. Like to think about HP as the foundation of modern fanworlds. It involved with the web, as the HP books published, they grew up with HP. MySpace came along with wizard rock came along, etc. Fan sites started, the HP fandom in general evolved with the web. In 2005, when HPA started, there was a strong community, online and IRL…making fan fiction, music, theorising what was going to happen in the later books. They were analysing the heck out of all of these books. It was a natural progression for the HPA to grow out of that and to go back to the books. There are lots of discussion about how to use words, what we have used them with.

AudQ: there was questions about curation..what does it mean when someone curates you?

BT: for us, we got infected. BoingBOing picked it up. That changed everything about how we seen online and also what it meant for us. We have also seen, that when the larger entities pick you up, more people then spread your stuff as well

SCC: A few weeks, some of us started Hurricane Hackers..figuring out how people can take action to help. It grew, then we started to get bumps from media companies, when the tools had not reached maturity. They were proposals, mockups. Partly because of shoddy journalism, others were people just wanting to talk, people started to use them before they were ready. There is something similar, when you take projects and narratives that are being developed in backchannel and gets blown up, it can be difficult.

SS: Question about metrics…what is success

BT: just use google analytics., We love to know time on the site, the visitor numbers. We care more about time than uniques. YOu should not focus too much on metrics, think about quality of content and also being consistent with posting

LB: We track lots, of seeing how people get involved. Varies strongly from platform to platform, so Twitter/FB 20k+, video 3k, but mailing lists is much larger. Tracking engagement is better indicator than visitors. Also just what the chapters are doing.

DE: so so far, just YT demographics. Surprising about the number of international viewers. PLus people who do the subtitles and translations. Made me think about how to reach the international audiences.

SS: a questions about the numbers of views and does it impact the content.

LB: not so much for HPA, it does for independent makers. Get enough views, then you could give up day job, then have more time, get better equipment

BT: not too much, we got grants to help us. Wanted to be independent, di not want to write to attract people, just to get views

DE: Not sure I understand what makes views, having the views is a good indicator of the type of content

SCC: working with Occupy movement people, about what is success. There is metrics about views, participation, about getting policy outcomes. But plenty of stuff that happens that can’t be measured. Eg Occupy got involved in Sandy relief, and lots of articles about how successful it was, in getting new volunteers involved. ie with Red Cross, not easy to get involved. occupy had a year building intake processes for people who just turned dup, so they could use that skills. They lined 1000s of volunteers to concrete actions. Effective social movement and participatory media find ways of plugging people into the stuff instead of just how to watch the stuff

SS: question about gov role in this? (also education etc)

BT: We have funding from foundations etc which distribute gov funds. Kickstarter is also great but the stake they have is quite scary. Public institution money gives you more freedom for creativity.

DE: in general, it is cool how cheap it is to create the things

LB: it may be good to follow similar models to what the gov want to do, but don’t want to take the creators to do things for gov

SCC: The question could be about fostering more digital understanding and literacy, so more people can make stuff

SS: What about platforms, how did BT change the platforms

BT: started on Tumblr, then moved, People asking about writing on the site. THen started to see all the local projects. So we looked to build a platform that brought things together, and got some curation going for the page. It was cools to see how platform has evolved from blog about travelling, to a larger thing, that has a life of its own. It is transcended from just being part of Ramadan, to more a celebration of faith.

SS: platform or audience first?

LB: our audience was built in, there was a community around us, they exist on social media. We never had that barrier of entry, to build audience, it was there for us already. We have out mission statement, but it can be confusing at times. We usually partner with people, with orgs, we just mobilise people to get involved, that can be disadvantage

DE: it is an interesting phrased. The audience should come first, but for me, it was the platform

BT: same, we just stumbled upon this, we want to keep stumbling and working things out. When we stumble and we are earnest, then it is a little bit more real

SCC: Not necessary a maker, my pathway was different. There was no YouTube, we were thinking about making platforms to share the video they were making. There were lots of people building video distribution systems. Then YT came along, there was a lot of movement to there, but there was questions about moving to YT as that is what they were ‘fighting’ against. The only answer is yes, you need to take advantage of popular platforms, but don’t abandon idea that we can build out our infrastructure. We need all of these things,

SS: what do you think of ‘Civic Media’. (that is what it was called)

LB: do any of us know what it means?

SS: so participatory culture, what does that mean?

BT: it is from clicking on a video right through to donating, then starting their own story telling, or coming to events etc.

LB: agree. It can mean slackticism, but is more rewarding when you go beyond, when you go and do things.

SS: what are your future objectives for the projects?

DE: Want to start doing more live performances. There is discussion to go on a college tour, with similar performers. There has been more economic videos etc. College tours, world tours etc. Also, would like to do other issues, general music videos as well, that is what i do too. More about bridging different cultures and communities.

LB: for HPA, continue to work in Imagine Better project, to expand outside of HP, moving towards education reform issues. Implement digital learning, using fan activism, stories etc in educational curriculum. Next year, about equality in many areas.

BT: the problem is that your content is fleeting, we are looking at creating an artifact, a book etc, cool ways of archiving etc, trying to find that. How to keep things online.

Nov 09

FOE6: The Futures of Public Media

Live blogged – errors possible

Public media creators and distributors often face a wide variety of strains on resources which impact their ability to innovate how they tell their stories. Yet, in an era where existing corporate logics often restrain how many media companies and brands can interact with their audiences–or how audiences can participate in the circulation of media content–public media-makers are, at least in theory, freed from many of the constraints their commercial counterparts face. How have the various innovations in producing and circulating content that have been discussed at Futures of Entertainment impacting public media-makers? How do the freedoms and constraints of public media shape creators’ work in unique ways? How have innovations happening in independent media, civic media, and the commercial sector impacting those creators? And what can we all learn from their innovation and experiences?

Panelists:
Andrew Golis, Director of Digital Media and Senior Editor, FRONTLINE Nolan Bowie, Senior Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Rekha Murthy, Director of Projects and Partnerships, Public Radio Exchange Annika Nyberg Frankenhaeuser, Media Director, European Broadcasting Union Moderator: Jessica Clark, media strategist, Association of Independents in Radio

JC: often public broadcast in the US is challenged by political foes and from the new media. Different from EU where public can be prime broadcasting channel. The challenge is growing; as more platforms arrive where people can find things out about the areas that PBS was established for – art, culture etc. As we know, there are many alternatives, the PBS seems to slide a narrow slice of users. Open digital platforms can serve up the news in different ways. PBS is called to go as it is obsolete, but there is a wider conversation about public media. There are other things giving us energy, the crisis of print journalism is creating new opps and new pressure for local news orgs. The rise of partisan media has given competition and opportunities. Who does this media include- not just PBS, but non-profit sites, other citizen journalists, schools, libraries, other online space, wikipedia, twitter etc. THe conversation all roll back around to the question about what is the point of connection with the public; what is the point of connecting people, in something that is not commercial. There are a few stock answers. To educate, inform, provide perspectives, allow space fo civic debate, a place for art and culture. Each has advocates. These are all different public media futures. There are other possibilities. It should innovate and delight, open up opinions, reflect best of society back to us.

What is Association of Independents in Radio – project localore. Serves audio producers, many of whom work cross platform. A support and connection network. Provides challenges for the members. We asked the members of how they were going to get new audiences. There was an assignment to produce year long projects that go outside, into the community, outside the platforms, outside the rules. Each project is different. They all involve ‘full-spectrum public media. They use broadcast, street, mobile etc, full spectrum engagement strategies. They build immersive websites.

Next project is Artbound, from KCET.. This replaces a gap in longform cultural coverage. instead of hiring lots of writers, recreating broadcast only. they did a more collaborative approach. People can vote up articles to be turned into videos, what they want more. This bring along a curatorial element into the info. What is most popular gets onto the TV show. As a station, they have split with PBS and they focus on local news.

RM: There are so many threads..will try and keep this focused. Looking at curation elements, some distribution issues etc. Public Radio Exchange, are a digital first public radio organisation. 10 years old, works in spoken world audio. The core founding piece is an online market place for content. To harness tech to bring stories to millions of people, Broadcast is one of many channels. Since started, have expanded into a whole collection of projects and products that are there to disrupt or improve public media…they focus on a couple of domains. Content, to bring new voices. Distribution, new pathways AND new revenue options. Try and take a leadership role in public media, in pushing boundaries of what is possible in the space. We have a grant to get new ways of doing public media (Knight Foundation grant). Want to focus on content and one aspect of distribution. It emerged over need and desire to get content published more than once. It is an after-market market. 40k pieces. From stations, producers, other recorders. PRX has broadened definition of public media, from what has been broadcast, to anything that aligns with the values. PRX can take credit for surfacing work that may have been lost, and getting space in other schedules. With public radio facing challenges, funding etc. Last year there were 17k purchases, and this is growing, not just stations, but others. ON track for 25k this year. The more we can create a market, for all this content you may not hear, then this works back to the kind of productions you can make and the people involve. In addition to the self-service exchange, we want to bring new content, we help create shows as well. We have also been working from digital to broadcast, bringing podcasts to radio. We also explore other models, for sustainable public word content that works on digital. We have given people funding, given the opportunity for time on projects. To support projects that don’t come from traditional sphere. Public radio is fulfilling its mission, but it is not keeping up with changes, there is much soul searching. We have a situation with the community of producers and our listeners are out of sync with the deciders, who decide what goes on the broadcast. We are looking at ways of getting new stuff here.

AG: director of digital at Frontline. Do investigative documentary film broadcast, make investigative TV stuff. The way Frontline has approached opportunities, has 3 points. The last couple of years have changed how they think of publishing. They would hold things back for broadcast, we wanted to make sure people watched on Tuesday night. But now they have opened up, expands digital publishing and expanding partnerships, to get stuff on public media platforms. Look at Big Money 2012, a collaboration between Marketplace, republica, PBS, gave content across multiple platforms, tv, radio, web etc.The core was the investigation into a non-profit, Citizens United…investigations showed they were not a non-profit, they were raising lots of money, running campaigns. They were breaking existing laws. Published on Monday before broadcast, a followup piece, put up film., more data etc. It’s an ongoing story, can embrace it in many ways. We can free up from feeding our primary broadcast only. We can carve the collaboration and publish iteratively. We have shifted definition of journalistic value away from the hour, or the one story. Use digital as a way to show the workings, show radical transparency, gives the work the credibility, to survive the attacks that you get. Publishes transcripts, the documents etc. We are taking it a higher level, making it a user experience, designing the experience now. Let’s people see the original, to judge for themselves. The third thing, is about interactive documentary. Not just shifting outside the hour, we shift the way in which we tell stories. As part of the big money, built an interactive site, about campaign targeting, big data etc, the documentary was customised to the users so they could experience what they were investigating. You answered a few questions, gave 96 different experiences.

ANF: from a content point of view, we are doing similar things. It’s inform, educate and entertain, (the BBC credo). Even if our definition of PB is different in the EU from the US.

RM: trying to answer the question about what is ‘public media’. It is fuzzy at the edges, but more definition, was set up in late 1960s, funding from many sources. There are constant challenge to the funding for public media. Sometimes it’s handled well, others not. All the stations are trying to imagine the future without government funding, whilst still finding it. So that it is seen as a public good to get gov funding. It’s about demonstrating of impact and reaching new audiences. But it’s difficult, it is generally white, affluent older audiences. How do you diversify. It is part of the mission, but where the future of funding lies. Different orgs handling it differently, bit for people to connect with us, you need to reflect the needs of tiers, you need to invite them in.

NB: TV needs to reframe the issue, to resetablish itself. A corporation for public media (not just tv).

AG: what we see around us, is newspapers that used to be primary source of investigative journalism and accountability journalism. Orgs powerful enough to publish things that people don’t want to be published. Eg NYT will go to court to get things published. One of the things to think about, as much as it is true that public media needs to embrace flattening distribution space and the needs of diverse audience, still need powerful enough orgs to still be able to deliver accountability journalism. Too few can do this and too few sources of funding. (shows Eurovision video). The EBU is intertwined with broadcasting, in developing in broadcasting. When Soviet Union fell, eastern Europe joined the EBU, the whole of northern Africa etc, lots of west Asia. The EBU, the PSM in EU is part of the history. When you hear the anthem (Ode to Joy) it is opening a window the world, that something different will happen (on TV). when we make definition of Public Service MEdia, it is a different context. PSM are part of society, they are loved and hated as there is ownership. The BBC belongs to the UK, they love and hate and criticise but would not be without. Same across Europe. The EBU owns the largest broadcasting service in the world. Broadcasting plays a role, especially for live events. No Eurovision, big sports etc not possible with broadcasting. Live events gather people together, this is an important part of what the EBU. This notion of being together, is important and plays a huge role in their lives. EBU caters for sports rights, has a news exchange. It shares stuff – the Japan NHK group, shared the Tsunami footage very quickly, as part of the network. It is all about sharing content instantly across the network. Have a music exchange in radio and TV co-productions. THe support that the EBU can give to the newest members is extremely important, in moving from a state broadcast to public broadcaster. Has worked in PSM all life, it is a cornerstone of a democratic society. It is an agreement between the society and the company. The company needs to be independent of all others except being accountable to the people. If govs (or commercial) can influence, then you are lost. If the accountability and independence is maintained, then PSM can do its purpose, to criticise the society it is in, that is their role and mission and that is when they make a difference. There are still financial challenges, especially in the southern part of Europe. In northern EU, PSM is strong and becoming stronger. In Eastern we can see a backlash, a little, the pendulum is swinging back a little and govs are meddling. It is important that PSM do not measure themselves and compete for market share with commercial broadcasters. You lose the connection that you should have. Reach is a better measure than market share. It is about where you should be working. Values are part and parcel of PSM in EU, there is a set of values that have been agreed for all the members in the EBU. Despite the political differences, they still agreed – it was rather fantastic.

RM: was there awareness or tension to the American model or mission?

ANF: no, don’t think so. Moving on, one of the challenges is content. PSM is losing young audiences, how do we keep them, use the platforms. Most of the companies have radio, TV and web. Transmedia is one of the answers. There are many examples across EBU (eg Alpha 0.7). It is being done more and more. The commercial counterparts can’t really live up to this,

NB: When I asked you to join the panel, it was before the elections. When Romney had said he was not going to fund PBS. So I looked at policies and how to fund public media. I was asked to put it into a policy context. The core of US info policy is in the first amendment, about freedom of speech and the press. The Comms Act if 1934 is next big policy (which is an exception to the 1st amendment). Gov can only make an exception when there are strong reasons, a compelling state interest. In this case, this was the spectrum scarcity rational. The 1934 act, has 3 goals to establish FCC to regulate, then to promote the national defence and then to provide a universal service, affordable access to worldwide comms facilities. But how do you fund public media? I would rely on market mechanisms. A free rider, (a sort of parasite). At the moment, commercial broadcasters are free riders. They have the licence in perpetuity (well, the equivalent), they pay nothing for the privilege (as they have a public service remit). To continue with licence, they have to say how they have fulfilled the public need (no evidence needed). How much is the spectrum worth? In 1993, it was estimated at $770billion. If they were charged, then this would produce enough funding to do public media. Looking at education, this is a defence, national security issue. Public media includes education. Gov has obligation to educate the public, so that the public can do their duty of criticising the gov (and holding them to the account). The basic presumption of the US is that info should be available and accessible. US policy encourages diversity of source and content of the information. Diversity of content leads to a diversity of ideas. The 1967 Public Broadcasting act was passed to keep this…TV was seen as a ‘vast wasteland’….TV was seen a s a a force to create inner city riots – as TV did not provide them . The act was about creating alternative programming, that was not available. Now, what is alternative content, is it not now available through other media? Public policy is inherently political, it is about who gets what. With channel, digital broadcasting, cognitive radio and other tech, the paradigm has shifted from push to pull, from scarcity to abundance and the scarcity rationale does not apply. broadcasting itself is recognised as becoming obsolete. You can get through the web. The real question about funding is not the means, it is the lack of political will. There is a market solution…there is a preference to use for free market mechanisms, or when the market fails, or if there are overriding public needs. Public broadcasting meets both counts – there is a market failure and public need. In the 80s, the deregulation meant the broadcasters had no need to educate, do news etc, no need to limit advertising. Public media delivers more content. 30mins of network news has only 16mins of content, much is fluff, or political etc. Think of the USPS, maintained because it allows people to partake in the political; process. PBS is similar.

AG: There is a small budget from gov – $450m – and this provides a seed for them to get more money

NB: per capita, it is about $1.50. Far more in EU etc

RM: there are sober, more important issues, about increasing understanding, increase knowledge about gov. Allow people to participate. When we talk about this, we need to talk not just about the things we have to have (the news etc) but it needs to be about an emotional level. So fiction, entertainment. I was about news and info before, and now get to see and hear stories and storytelling. Entertaining and fiction is a different way. Had debates about Downton Abbey, is this public media. To a colleague, it is public media..he thinks public media should be free and open to entertain and fulfil mission.

ANF: from Finland, where spending is 80x high. For herself, a minority of 300k people in Sweden, we would never have the TV, radio web for them without the subsidy. (she is a swedish speaking Finn). In Finland, they have 25 regional and local stations, they are not commercially viable, they are very important locally, and connect with the audience. In EU, the broadcasting challenge was solved very differently, from a different base.

NB: We have thinking about a national broadband plan. Other countries have faster cheaper cables. So why shouldn’t stations give back the spectrum, this be auctioned and revenues shared with them…but broadcasters should not be able to see these and get a profit. THis is an example of corporate welfare.

RM: those plans are a case that public media needs to make its argument better. That we are using the spectrum well.

AG: Public media for so long was allowed to be boring…because of the way broadcast, because it used to be restricted. If they create a great piece of journalism, if it is so boring that no one watches, then no point., Journalism is only as good as the people it touches. For PM to remain relevant, and you see it in the thriving areas, you see it built around story tellers, about people who are trying to engage emotionally and intellectually.

RM: I’d add they they would need to be invited to participate. Want to address, new tech roll. Is PM including the web in its definition? Yes, fully. Eg the Public Radio player. It’s hard as it required money and the talent that good money attracts. There are constraints to why it has had trouble developing online. There are a lot of exciting futures in this space.

ANF: the term has come about (PSM) as it is on all platforms. There are challenges in EU, you can’t be on the web if it challenges (eg in the Germany). This has been turned round in countries, eg Sweden, where the PM offers the content to be embedded on the commercial stations).

NB: prior to Regan being elected, the goal was to promote diversification and localism. PSM enhances localism. Commercial interests have no desire to promote localism. Clearchannel went from 24 stations to 1200 in less than 2 years when controls dropped. Why should the FCC not require that all station provide reasonable amounts of free air to people looking to get elected.

Nov 09

FOE6: The ethics and politics of curation

A One-on-One Conversation with Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova and Undercurrent’s Joshua Green

We live in an environment where the power of circulation is no longer solely–arguably, even primarily–in the hands of media companies. However, if that means we all now play a role as curator and circulator of content, what responsibilities does that bring with it? How is curation becoming an important aspect of the online profile of professional curators? And, for all of us who participate in social networking sites or who forward content to family and friends via email, what are our obligations to both the creators of that content and to the audiences with whom we share it? If we possess the great power to spread content, what are the great responsibilities that come along with it?

JG: This is a session about curation. How it may have moved from media companies to something wider. SOmething that is becoming an everyday activity, to generate wealth, or a sense of self. But we have a question about the definition of curation

MP: the C word is a semantic can of worms. It has become vacant in meaning. It no longer contains the thing we want to capture. ANyone with an instagram is curating life. This is the same as someone who spends 2 days at library and create a story about found photos. We need a new narrative around it. DOn’t subscribe to the word..it’s about research and editing. That’#s what scholars and journalists have been doing. Using the word for aggregation is wrong.

JG: Is journalism a more appropriate term for what you do?

MP: Yes. THis is what editors and journalists have done. To frame what matter and why in terms of culture. The word came from museum world, It is not just assembling things together for aesthetic value, but as a framework for understanding a particular thing.

JG: it is the production of narrative and search for meaning,t through the assemblage of things that are linked. Presented and re-articulated. The idea that there are a range of pieces sensibly assembled and articulated to speak something. Is this missing from instagram feed.

MP: there could be, but very rare instances. photojournalism can be that, but everything else is for aesthetic value. It is not a form of authorship in the way that journalism is

JG: is there too much gravitas in it?

MP: there is a space for a collection of cat pictures..but we lump it together with something else. THere is a spectrum of editorial and curatorial that any piece of content lives on/ Both extremes are there. There is nothing that truly original, but original is one end, right to pulling things together. About 70% of things i write about don’t exist on line,t hey are out of print books; it is thinking about things; there is a technical component to this, Especially online., If taken from elsewhere and reposted, then written about, that is curation rather than authorship? If I take an out of data book and then write it, part is curatorial, part of editorial about writing.

JG: what is the curatorial element?

MP: discovery. I like that, better than invention. Discovery is a form of authorship, to shine a spotlight on something that is there.

JG: I would argue that this is not curation…but editing.. Meaning through redaction, assembly of new form, a new thing from something else. Different from curation, assembling things that are related.

MP: but same thing. The thematic is authors point of view. Still a collection through a authors additional point of view. Look at great curators (Sullivan form NYT), very little new, but pulls together stuff that reflects his own world view

JG: Buzzfeed..assembles 25 pictures of dogs

MP: but that’s a sensibility not a point of view!

JG\: but it is a POV..that lulziness and newsiness are the same kind of things. There is argument that there is significance

MP: they are creating an argument of attention, but not telling you why you should care, there;s nothing beyond the first moment

JG: so is this about significance, juxtaposition of two statements. Is dog pictures more significant than hurricane pictures?

MP: WHen Buzzfeed, it is less about creating significance in isolation, rather than totality., What I did, why I started, I take pieces of knowledge etc and with them we create our own ideas. YOur output as a human in a world is base don the breadth of resources. YOu never know the significance of stuff, never know when things will matter. THere is a 1939 essay, the usefulness of useless knowledge, you can’t plan for utility of intellectual curiosity, somethings may be useful but you don’t know

JG: What are the perceived value of curated content. Why did this term emerge. Is it about the tactility, the ease we can manipulate content, the tools we have, is curation a necessary term to describe the activities. Where does the value come from. The reveal or the labour that goes into it

MP: the obvious answer is that this is the time of information overload, proliferating to be overwhelming. The internet as a medium of information deliverable has a bias. The bias of chronology – the latest is at the top, the oldest goes away. COnditions us to believe that something more recent is more important. If we step away from news, then that is not the case. There are things that are older cn be timeless ad timely and get lost. The other bias, the internet helps find us more of what we are looking for and not to help us find what we don’t know we are looking for. My role is to help people find things they didn;t know they were interested in., to enrich them. With search culture, the lean forward culture. We deepen our existing interests, find out more about what we know. But curators help them discover and browse and learn about new things. Curation is an antidote to that bias.

JG: i think that you are right, but..i think we need to ensure that we are not blind to the fact that there are lots of people who curate. YOur mission (to bring new things) can be adopted by lots of people with different viewpoints. Uncomfortable with viewpoint that there is a worthy curation and the rest of the stuff.

MP: a lot of it coming from accountability, Being open where you are coming from .My audience knows it is my own point of view and they can disagree. But with NYT there is a different responsibility about what they make news. And an instagram feed is different. It is not someone who tells you the ‘TRUTH’.

JG: yes, but here is an interesting aside…the lack of transparency can lead to (journalists who curate themselves). Moving to another question, what do authors/creators and curators. The interplay between creating new works and those who interpret them

MP: there is value in shining light on an original work and bringing a new audience, the person who bridges a new audience brings value. But aligning that with financial gain or funding…we have failed to integrate on funding model of media, it’s still the ad supported model, same as the early times of newspapers. Which means circulation manager can take over the editorial viewpoint. When you are accountable to an advertiser, you are not accountable to your reader. It is very hard…we have made it hard..to monetise value, what readers find valuable, but tried to transmute to monopoly money, the eyeballs. It is very hard…i feel the value is there, but have reservations about how to make this financially valuable

JG: with monetizing attention, how do you move the delay. it moves purchase away from seeing the content. There is value in mining the tail, in bringing them back to attention. Pressing you again, how does the value flow between the original work and the curation. Is it standing on shoulders of giants or do they thank you.

MP: how does the curator handles the money. I’m ad free and supported by donations. The readers decide what value they see and choose what to donate. I write about books..the books can then sell. It is separate to the value that i bring, that audience pays me. It is down to having personal decision about what feels fair.

JG: this question of fairness is a junction to talk about the curators code..

MP: i launched the Curators Code, about discovery and the ethics of attribution. Not just the original author, but also about who brought the content to your attention. It is an important piece in the curators process. We have standards for copyright, but there was a component about discovery that was missing. THis Code suggests a way of doing this in standard form. I see lots of sites that take stuff, and not credit who did the original curation. THe larger aggregator sites do this as a norm. There is not a standard and not a sensibility in the audience that this is ethically question and harms people

JG: the intent of the project is to get appreciation for the ‘middleman’

MP: no, these are the researchers, the ones who do the work. It’s not about credit and ego, its mostly it comes from..a rabbit hole of discovery, to be led down a pathway, When you break the attribution, you break the chain of discovery.

JG: How successful was the project?

MP: what’s the measure of success?

JG: success would be the adoption of the system. Citations are old form, not just hyperlinks. YOu can link to data and the article and the things in between. The success would be it would start to be used

MP: we proposed 2 symbols, for direct discovery, and for ideas that lead to new work. We never said you must use the characters. THere were other things in there. It was not about how to do it, but to tell people why to do it. I’ve seen the symbols being used, but how do you quantify the word via. can you say because of the curators code. The hope is that there is an awareness of it, that people are thinking about it. I have seen more attribution, can’t say it came from the code. THere is a convergence of thought, in the past few months, there has been plenty of this, there are many different ways. It is an element of IP, about who is doing the work, There has been more attribution, being mindful of labour.

JG: is IP intellectual labour..i think there are more steps. It’s not that simple. If someone takes something from this conversation, would they attribute it. This costs me very little..

MP: but it costs you your whole life..all your experience leads to this conversation…

JG: It would be wonderful..the web is so fleeting, things go away. Were this an oral culture, then this would be important, we would have little way of recording….when I search on Google, is that curation? I get a links that are connected, arranged an a way based on algorithm significance. There is meaning in page of search results

MP: it only gives you things you are interested in, but you can’t do an algorithm for curiosity. It can tell you what could answer you question, but not where else you can go to, what more different ways of thinking about it. Look at Guttenberg, it was not just about the wine press moment for the press. There were lots of bits of knowledge that went into the press – the ink, the type etc. You don’t know what you need until you need to

JG: does he own the wine press person a hat tip?

MP: no, the wine press person was not in the act of discovery. Guttenberg was

JG: There is an element of curiosity in the searching; your model empathises the value of experts.

MP: i disagree. THese are complementary processes, not an either/or One does not substitute the other. THe internet is trying to do this, to send us to a search culture. We live in a culture that thinks if not searchable, then it does not exist

JG: there is so much effort on value that comes from other areas. Eg twitterstream about news and things that happen. There is so much serendipity in a Twitter stream Are we necessarily a culture that preference search when there is so much talk about other means of discovery.

MP: twitter is personal curation, the act of choosing who to follow is personal curation.

JG: I think there is a politic about presenting the curatorial act, that good curation is about worthy knowledge..about enlightenment. Many of the things that you say is valuable…(about experts)

MP: the value of a good twitter stream, is like a great magazine, you get the news and other things. It uses the foot of the door to get pressing interests and then the odd other thing, the other new knowledge/

JG: validity of taste and the loftiness of what is value, still have problems with this

MP: if we were in a world where the audience is the only thing that matters, then the audience will determine what is valuable. They will determine, different audiences will find different things valuable.

AUdQ: the difference between individual curators and crowd curators (eg brain pickers vs reddits

MP: the value of the curator is like an information point starter scheme. An individual, takes an ethical point of view, about who the world works and how it could work. THe multiple POV can not have the moral compass, what is right and wrong. It is different. There can’t be ethical direction when dealing with a crowd.

JG: isn’t the purpose of some communities where we can discuss things,

MP: yes, also about starting points for discovery

AudQ: if somebody used what is being said here…JG does not think that is needed, MP does. When does the need end, how far back do you track the thought and idea

MP: that is THE question. Even if we have the best intention to attribute, you can’t always have all the information. When does transformation become a form of authorship. We can’t have a precise answer. It’s about your memory, where you draw the line

AudQ: Wondering about the messiness of this space. You have commercial areas, then bloggers and self-appointed online taste makers.

JG: we touched on it earlier, ie if Huffpost takes stuff without attribution. These issues, we are starting to see. Good work done in search of truth etc are blandly corporatised by a system that has no regard for where things come from

MP: people who care about the work they do can sound self righteous. Is it coming from a sense of purpose or a sense of gain? Do you want to gain at expense of reader or do you want the readers to gain.

Nov 09

FOE6: Listening and Empathy and making Companies more Human

Liveblogged at Futures of Entertainment. Some summarisation on the fly took place!

Media properties have long measured audiences with Nielsen ratings, circulation numbers, website traffic and a range of other methods that transform the people who engage with content into that aggregate mass: the audience. Meanwhile, marketing logic has long been governed by survey research, focus groups, and audience segmentation. And, today, executives are being urged to do all they can to make sense of the “big data” at their fingertips. However, all these methods of understanding audiences–while they can be helpful–too often distance companies from the actual human beings they are trying to understand. How do organizations make the best use of the myriad ways they now have to listen to, understand, and serve their audiences–beyond frameworks that aim to “monitor, “surveil,” and “quantify” those audiences as statistics rather than people? What new understandings are unearthed when companies listen to their audiences, and the culture around them, beyond just what people are saying about the organization itself? What advantages do companies find in embracing ethnographic research, in thinking about an organization’s content and communications from the audience’s perspective, and in thinking of “social media” not just as a new way to market content but a new and particularly useful channel for communicating, collaborating and conducting business?

Panelists:

Lara Lee, Chief Innovation and Operating Officer, Continuum; Grant McCracken, author, Culturematic, Chief Culture Officer; Carol Sanford, author, The Responsible Business; Emily Yellin, author, Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us. Moderator: Sam Ford, Director of Digital Strategy, Peppercomm

SF: Let’s start off looking at issues surrounding listening and empathy. What does that mean in this context. WIll see why the panel is here.
CS: My work is about working with Fortune50 CEOs, and designing business, so connected with outside world from start. Looks at strategy, how decisions are made, leadership, work design and detail. Also work with entrepreneurs. Always amazed that people who want to do social start-ups are as bad at listening as the corporate worlds. THey copy the models. More fun designing from beginning to connect. TO be sustainable.
CM: studies contemporary western cultures. Concern is about culture inside and outside the corporation. YOu can’t have community or enterprise unless everyone on same page. That consensus means that the people in the org bind with one set of understanding of world, turns into assumptions, turns into coded behaviour within an org. everything hat makes an org good at being an org makes them bad at grasping opps outside the org. Even when you install methods, get info and knowledge from outside in, get understanding from outside-in. It is tough to get the fundamental understandings that inform the individual and comm outside the org into the org. How do you get the penny drop, how do you know where they are coming from. That is fantastically difficult for an org to do, to do it themselves. How do they take up residence in the world outside, know how they are seen from outside. The challenge is to know there are other viewpoints.

EY: firstly a journalist. For 2nd book, focuses on how bad a job customer service is, the hold issue, looking at the customer service industry. We don’t think much about the convergence of the culture. Everyone has had to deal with customer service. How do the people in charge connect with the people on the ground. From a customer POV, it was important to take a look at it, has an impact on all our lives. A bad experience has a bad impact on day, on the rest of lives. It is a barometer of how we deal with people in public; it is an indicator of how a company deals with each other, with people. Now working with companies to apply empathising, to understand what it means for customer service.

LL: Driven by connecting people across divides. Started in large multi-nationals, moved to working on something more connected with culture – joined Harley-Davidson. It is about getting close to customer culture, understanding what is going on in the world and bringing it back to the company. Now looking at new companies, bringing new business models, link human-company divide. looking at branding communities, what are the best practices, how do you build and sustain them. Working on businesses that connect with humans, bringer greater meanings to their live whilst solving some problems.

SF: As we look across discussions over th next day, they focus ont he difficulty that companies have in listening, having a participatory relationship with the audiences they are trying to reach. My background, looking at soap operas, showed how the studies did not connect with the fans. One soap opera writer talked about how the audience was seen as a concept, the numbers, the reach etc, not the actual people. There was a lack of caring about the audience themselves. This writer now works on World Wrestling. This is a live show and they can listen to audience in real-time, and react to what is happening and change things on the fly. Listening is about more than just recording. The conversations we are having today about audiences and social media is the same as about digital media, the same as before. THe subject and the conversations don’t change…just the channel. There are so many layers and processes that make it difficult for the audiences to be heard by the companies. So what is listening?

CS: looking at 2 individuals in a long term relationship. How do you listen through the patterns, through the standards. Asking about how do you know a person listens – when I get a present that wasn’t on the list. SO listening is about beyond the straightforward list, to see patter behind what is on the surface.

GM: the trick is moving from listening to empathy. Moving to the world you don’t know. Empathy is participating in their emotional life. About getting into the way they conceptualise their world. It’s about shifting the frame; about knowing what the other things and feels. It is easy to get an org to know there is a world they don’t get, getting them to get it is harder.

EY: a key is getting outside of own point of view. It goes to the intent. Real listening is not about focusing what I want from you, but about understanding the other person. Having to talk to business groups, focus on the bottom line. Marketing was just about sales, but now it is more about service, service is your marketing. If you are in marketing and don’t understand service, then you have a problem. How do people treat you at all times, in the hotel, in the store. In an org, these aren’t under silo of market, or even customer service. ALso, empathy leads to a change in behaviour on your part. So when thinking about this from audience, how do we use the information., do we use it in service of us or in service of the audience, the customer. Instead of asking ‘what would legal say’ we ask ‘what would our customer service’. You have to empathise with what the other will go through, It is using your humanity to connect with another.

LL: It comes back to intent. YOu can listen, hear and understand. Do you understand the big picture? If you do that to understand the whole person but it still doe snot generate the relationship.If your intent is to have a relationship, then you get different interfaces, different behaviours, different processes. IF you start with less a bout service as a function, but more as a philosophy, that is when you can activate empathy.

SF: THe history, of the digital world, of how companies are talking about developing a relationship. The broadcast model is impression and circulation etc. The digital world tried to maintain the same relationship. Talk about stickiness, how do we get people to our walled garden so we can track them and understand, Still similar to broadcast model. We think about new things in terms of what has gone before. THen the concept of viral comes out, getting people infected with product. Now we talk about influencers. THis si about getting stuff understandable, so companies are comfortable with what is happening. It is trying to hide about developing a relationship with an audience. A lot of companies talk about listening, they receive the information, they hear. THey collect a lot of data, sentiment monitoring, share of voice etc. We try and turn it back into numbers. but we don’t go beyond that. How do you understand? When we talk about listening, it is beyond the numbers. What are some of the methods that companies can use?

LL: THere is nothing wrong with quantitative. No reason not to understand the patterns. Data tells us what is happening not why. Can show us where to dig, may show us changes, anomalies. To develop a hoilistic picture, to get real empathy, to get meaningful products etc, you have to get out there and talk to people in context. SO how do you deploy resources effectively. BEst example I have, with Harley Davidson, pushing boundaries of customer-centric culture. We looked at everything we were doing and asked how it could be a listening post, a way of connecting. So events, we staffed with employees, to get that connection. It was an investment in developing a community-centric culture. Efficient in marketing to have staff spending time directly with customers. More recently, with United Healthcare, on Medicare. Now we have this wave og Boomers moving into Medicare. It has been serving a population with a different set of values..now there is an option to differentiate base don services. Can United teach 10k employees to listen empathetically, to act on it to make a better service. Created a customer journey, a simple set of tools to help them understand the issues, the problems. Designed some ways of making sure they reflect the values when fixing problems.

EY: YOu asked what tools? there are 2, common sense and trust are those. It is something we get away form when we quantify everything, when we make things concrete. THe best, don’t train people how to deal with customers, they start with their humanity. It’s about what people feel, they don’t want people to feel bad, angry etc. SO the best companies start by getting people to think about the feeling of the customers. So when the person on the phone can not action things, the company is not trusting their employees, not trusting their common sense. that is not about the best thing for customers. We have so many agendas..it gets back to intent

SF: you mentioned language. That really matters. In a company, the way we talk about the audience matters. Are they users, consumers, audience, fans etc. The way we refer to the people we try and reach is to do how we think about the audience. Why don’t we just call then people. It is an issue in the company.

CS: How to connect? You can change how you design the work. YOu need to dehomogenise how we think about people. People is still too broad. How do you connect with the ‘being’ of the people you are trying to service. working with a company, we wrapped teams around the lives of people they are trying to serve (personas). You need to find a way of connecting the teams. That they are responsible for a particular set of ‘lives’. Seventh Generation was set up to good things for environment, not for the customer they served. CS changed it so that teams were responsible for lives improving. CS made the teams cross-functional, so the measurement connected with people who could act.

SF: where is the disconnect. People make culture everyday why is it hard for companies getting the culture. They send it out, why can’t they bring it in. SO G

GM: ONe of the things that people have resorted to is using ethnography. Getting people into homes, having conversations. It has proved to be an unhappy outcome, not pretty, It has been badly commoditised. It presupposes a kind of conversational symmetry, between person in home and the person asking questions. FOr me, when you get into another culture, you need to make yourself their servant, to really understand what is happening. So asymmetry is not wrong, it should run in the opposite direction, the org is the servant of the person.

LL: if you can have the activities of chief culture office, wrapped around with some skunkworks, wrapped around some revenue generation bit. Companies can then understand it, about bringing a value back to the company. It is a value exchange.

SF: one of the points that we keep coming back to, is about orgs having everyone having a specific function…but things that could be similar are different departments, that don’t work together well. There is a challenge of budgets. Who controls what. How do you get more listening inside a corporation, so we know what other departments wants. How do you centre around the idea of the experience. How do you encourage all employees to take experience of the audience at its heart. How to get ALL employees in the shoes of the audience

EY: Customer Service has a bad name, both in and out of companies. And few want to be in it. Marketing want to differentiate…so they do customer experience. Customer Experience is often taken more seriously as it is a new thing, a new concept. But in companies getting it right, there is an element of design. You design an experience for the audience. Collaboration is part of this, collaborating with audience. YOu get real time input into what people are feeling. We rely on what people tell us, but you also need to watch people. When you are telling a story, it is about showing. A lot of times, people show you things,, it’s not just about asking them things. Working with Credit Suisse, they had a customer experience function. THey had designers, web people, someone who looked at the five senses. They also had a guy who went to the banks, he just watched the customers, watched what they did, how they interacted. He could predict the behaviour base don how you entered the back. Feeds into the design thinking, you watch how people use things and set it up so there are no obstacles in what they want to do. Customer experience is not just looking a single piece, you need to empower employees to do something about it – even if not their department. YOu need to give people the power to help.

CS: A deeper listening, is about not just looking for the problem, but then taking it to the next level to make it really efficient

LL: all the good companies, do this, make it aligned with the values, making it the need fo everyone. IN this culture, we tend to have a machine view of the company, and this prevents a system view, a holistic view of an org,. Where the values flow. There was a question about listening to what they say or observe what they do. We have being doing studies of millennial and food. So things like people who are vegetarian and concerned out health – but puts loads of dressing on salad and eats lots of twinkies as they are vegetarian. Say and do is different. We studied WebKindz, which has commerce, as a way to see what people will want from banking in the future.

SF: there has been several questions about measurement. THere are more things to measure, monitor and watch then ever before. ORgs are drowning in data. How do you see the balance between all the data and what could be done with it all, plus some of the more qualitative processes.

GM: you can use big data to discover loads…we have indicators of the world that we could not consider before. But this encourages the worst tendencies in some people, who just want a number. But big data can’t tell you about culture, Things will have to be restated in the face of the big data. Big data will give people the illusion they know what is happening

LL: big data can tell you a lot. What it can’t tell you is what will work in a culture, what the trends are. Some work in Brazil, the data told us that lots of people were buying TVs etc (in slums). We discovered that the TV was a safety measure – it kept kids inside and safe in dangerous environments. We can have granular data at an individual level, but knowing about a person is not the same as knowing a person.

EY: there is value (in survey data), but the assumptions that it can lead to then there is a problem. Listening is also about not making assumptions. Look a the company reaction when telephones came, about having a phone on the desk. THey were scared. The same now with social media. YOu need to be clear that the bottom line is the same, it is about how you treat people regardless of the tech or the data or being able to quantify everything. Data is about the tail wagging the dog. It comes back to design, how to design an experience. Language is a big part of this, how you follow through. THe language you use, the way you discuss and talk to them. It needs to be in their language not yours. THen there is a value system. It has be beyond just the numbers. What is the value in what you are doing. It is about doing it for beyond the numbers. Balance the data with the meaning of life!

SF: there are lots of questions about participation. How do you listen without trivialising it. How do you engage, collaborate, co-create. Does social media work with customer service. What is the balance, with getting them involved. DO you ask too much, or expect to much.

CS: Orgs, they started off to design, build and sell hammers. Now they have to do everything, respond inside and outside, etc. They started off very different. Why don’t we just start again? Rip it up and redesign.

SF: when looking at activity, you do need scale in some areas. We don’t want to trivialise participation by just measuring it, but measures can have an impact…how do we turn the numbers into meanings – what issues do we have with assumptions

LL: The more chaotic the world becomes, the more we want to measure and control and manage. Can you do experiments to gain understanding of the new world, what are different ways to create, manage, share, spread value. It’s a different mindset..mving not from just numbers, but understanding the critical variables. Not a mechanistic mindset, a holistic one.

EY: in tech, there is a lot of talk about legacy systems. Can you get rid of it or does it need to be jerryrigged. If you are going to start over, or evolve, do you look at the needs that you have now and in the future, this gets back to the value system. We have got into short-term returns and that is the only thing we care about. Should we slow down, ask where we are going and what we are doing, understand if it will get us where we want to be. Surveys, focus groups etc can be valuable , but they are just tools, don’t let the results rules you. YOu need to know if it is the right tool o get the information, are you using it for the right reasons. Is it just because competitor is doing, or if the right thing for next 5 years. THe tech etc has to serve our needs.

SF: Now looking for audience questions…

AUDQ: what’s a cultural officer?

GM: someone who looks at the external culture and helps the internal culture understand and respond to the external culture.

AudQ: GM says we need to start over. Are we over thinking things, aren’t there still companies that just need to make hammers?

GM: probably not. Orgs need to know about the future, about the culture etc.

LL: Datamining can help us see the anomalies and understand changing needs. Look at Zipcar, car ownership is more of a burden so Zipcar works in the environment.

GM: capitalism has discovered everything doe smelt into air. Commerce is a cultural enterprise, not just creation of products. The train companies are not in the train business, they are in the transportation business. Capitalism creates a world that it then struggles to catch up with intellectualism.

EY: a lot of current companies have been base don collaboration internally and externally. Not new, but easier. Entrepreneurism is also a way of being an employee, not just a owner. We ask far more of customers now as well.

CS: having a lot of fun working with Millennials who are starting up businesses. Throwing out lots of traditional things associated with companies. Worked out how they want to work inside and then making the outside world confirming it. They have teams that are wrapped around markets, around audiences. They are writing global imperatives for bits that don’t have a voice yet, earth, community etc. How do we design what the global imperatives for make life works. THey re-invent the design almost monthly. It is about working in a living system, to change the scale.

EY: Artists have responsibility, you can’t get away with things. It is harder for them to disregard their audiences, their customers.

AudQ: Excited but uncomfortable with usage of service as a word. Have you seen in movement in this place of humility?

CS: it hates the word service, it is a separator between you and I. It as though we are not in it together. In our mind, it is about not being IN the system and that is the challenge.

LL: it is about when WE are in service to something that matters to all – so all parties are in service.

CS: maybe we are co-creating. We are creating something that matters to all of us. The people who are NOT moving (with this change) do not matter. Not everyone gets it, that we are part of a whole

LL: again, the ideas are not radical or new, it is the tools and people who are changing.

AudQ: How does the design thinking is for digital only? How do you take the principles of ethnography online.

LL: Going back to the bank example, it was about putting customer are centre across ALL touchpoints, Digital and online, for banking customers, the unbanked and for future customers. If you understand the needs, the values, the functional needs, the touchpoints. You design an holistic experience that feels seemless, across all touchpoints., YOu play back that you have understood them

GM: one of the relics of market research was that you needed to be objective; but you needed amnesia, about the actual people you have talked to. But its more about having longer term relationships.

AudQ: the question about campaigns, about thinking in cycles, about launches

LL: for me, campaigns, to planned experiments. Changing the thinking about the contexts. It’s a continuum, an ongoing relationship. It’s a different frame for the work

EY: does it hinder empathy. Are you integrating what your company and your customer needs. The customer has to be come first, you don’t need a campaign if the new thing has come from listening. A lot of time it is about getting the product out there (in this year, etc). But why are you launching, for whom are you launching.

AudQ: How do you cultivate the skills, the qualitative skills, the understanding

GM: doing lots and lots of it. You need powers of pattern recognition, the experience, listening and working with it. It is built up with kinds of education and then lots and lots of doing it

CS: it’s also about a lot of personal development. When working with orgs, do acts of seeing themselves. It is about building the capability to see themselves and making them know when they project themselves. It is about development of the responsible human.

Nov 05

Playful: Tom Ewing and Brain Juice

Live Blogged – mistakes are mine

Used to play D&D. Played in club at school. One day, the players weren’t feeling it. Was not sure how to get them in..but got them to get under the desks and play there, a bit closer to live role playing. Is now a market researcher. In Pokemon2 you have the possibility to become a market researcher – is this the only game that does? You only learn the essence of your career when you see one in a video game and in Pokemon2, the essence is a piechart.

Surveys are quite boring. You are entering an artificial world, you do have to make decisions, and you hope there is a way out, so some similarity to games. And now market research is starting to include gamification, and using this has made research slightly less boring. Introduces new ways of interacting. The researchers say it helps get better results. Another thing that online surveys can do is grant you magical powers…or rather super memory! So you suddenly, when you are taking them, know everytime in last 12 months you drank orange juice :_) But obviously we don’t have those memories, or can predict what we will do. At Brain Juice, we look at how people make decisions and do things. So we ask if asking people questions does actually reflect what they do and what decisions are made.

The research says we have 2 different decision making systems We have fast thinking, based on emotion and experience. the other is more considered and cognitive. The latter is what we use when we know we are thinking. But we tend to use the faster way to make decisions. We are not thinking machines, we are feeling. We think less than we think we think.

So to tap into this, as a market researcher, they went back to look at games. How can this help. If you can simulate the environments when people make decisions, do you get better research. The first attempt was based on Monopoly…looking at mops (they called it Mopopoly. You had to pay with confessions about household stuff. It did not really work too well, because they are bad designers.

They tried another one. The client problem, was that the brand was not doing well compared to competitors. It was better sales, but research results said their brand was better. They did not know why. Looking at packaging, it was all logical, BUT the competitor had a big baby animal. So when shopping, system 1, the emotional system, made more decisions in shelf rather than logical in research. They did a test, when they provided distractions, When unrestricted time, then the logical choice. provided restrictions, distractions, then quick decision made

Is currently working on online focus groups, putting in game types into these temp communities. what gets people talking and discussing. They look at things like Chinese whispers. How does a brand/marketing idea get mutated as it’s told to each other. What changes.

In summary, there is often not much thinking behind the decisions. It’s the contest of the action that happens, not the thinking behind it

Nov 05

Playful: Alice Taylor and Mint Foundry

Liveblogged- mistakes are mine

3dPrinting is right at the top of the hype cycle. Everyone is talking about it. It is a good thing to have a hype cycle, because otherwise nothing to talk about! what 3d printing is bring the ability to make physical objects to everyone. You can design, use tools, upload your files to people who will do the printing for you. We’re at a magic point of tale. It is affordable, it has democratised making things again.

These men are at Mint Digital Foundry (which is a 3 month graduate scheme) (the team were Tom Mallinson, Luke Overin, David Hunt and Hugh Boys). They have a project to make something physical that can do things. This team has been working on a new toy that has a reason to exist. They did not know where to start with the brief. So they started by laying down some parameters. So what is a toy, what is it for. They started going to toy places, Hamleys and Harrods. Museums, Pollocks etc. They saw toys as objects, behind glass etc. Gave cultural context. Then went to look at Soho sex toys. So their definition of toys…any object in play. Play is exploration physical and non-physical constructs and games are a set of rules that initiate and maintain play.

They started by getting everything down on paper then group things together. One interesting group was food. Focused on sourdough. They experimented, they set up tests, best way to find out was by eating. The best sourdough has a consistent ethanol level and has been agitated a lot. SO how can they turn this into a toy. How can they make sourdough a fun object ot play with. How can children have sourdough culture and not release it. How do you keep electronics and sourdough separate. They felt they had done well solving product design challenge. But they needed to add an extra layer, add a narrative that can be reflected on a digital platform. How do you personify sourdough. It was an interesting process.

What they have finished with is Dough Globe. But really a smart vessel to keep your dough in. you can measure the ethanol and accelerometer to measure agitation. ..but everything also controls an online world. They built a lot of mini-games, that you control with sphere. And when you win, you get recipes. They have defined narratives around the sourdough.

They had 3 months. The tech was about £60, but lots of prototyping. The hardest bit about the project was making decisions as a team. They all from different places and had different decisions making in the past. So learning how to work in the team. doughglobe.com

Nov 05

Playful: Holly Gramazio and Clapping Games

Liveblogged – mistakes are mine

Holly talked about clapping games. Clapping is portable and free and does not take up much space. It is communal, you do with other people. But as adults and game designers, we under utilise what we can do with claps. Adults understand how it works. We clap for congratulations, for greetings, for delight. For mockery. We clap to music, for rhythm. There are freemason rituals that are mostly clapping. People negotiate cheese prices using clapping in Holland. We know how to do it but we mostly don’t when it comes to clapping.

Clapping games seem to be mostly 5-10 year olds, mostly girls. A set of action, with other people, in a chant. It’s guitar hero without technology. It is something that is relevant new to playgrounds, little evidence before 1960. There were some just before WW1, then not til 60s. They started again simply and getting more complex through time. They are complex now. They have variances, there are penalties. There are elimination based games. There are different affordances of a clap. Who takes part. Where does it happen. What parts of the body is it. How loud is it, When is it. What is the rhythm. What is the impact. There are all these different affordances and it seems wasteful to leave to children and freemasons.

There are some. Danish Clapping. Reload. Blind Football. One, Two, Three. Good Behaviour. Clapping can be a bit menacing. One person can be creepy. People slowly joining can be creepy. What can tech bring to clapping. What could you do if had more technology. There are some iphone games, some wii games. Not really fully using the clapping options. You have clapping games with more hands. Can you bring in speed? Are there clapping games with strategy. Most seen are based on skill. There seems to be little room for strategy. Can there be more team clapping games. When clapping is the game instead of the celebration of the game. Can we use clapping to fix games that could be made better.

So main point is clapping is good and we should do more with it!

Nov 05

Playful: Bennett Foddy and confusion and frustration in games

Live Blogged – mistakes are mine

Foddy’s plan is to talk about suffering in making games. Starts with a lesson from the Olympics. It is one of the only events with billions of viewers. Competing in the games is nothing like playing a video game. it’s about suffering. Running is hard, athletics is hard. You suffer. But this does not happen in games now. In older games, you had to press buttons really hard until it hurts. Why has this changed. Why has frustration and pain been engineered out of the games? Games have become comfortable in a way. We are losing this dimension of pain.

Why suffer in games? There are ways in which suffering makes a game better. Suffering makes failure matter. Games use frustration, loss of progress, often. If you know that failure will make you frustrated or bored, you try harder. It also makes success better; if you’ve worked harder, then it feels better. There is also this idea of challenge. There is a glory of taking a challenge on in itself.

But what about games that just make you suffer for it’s own sake. How about games that actually cause you pain. How about Slapsies – (the hand slapping game). Pain in games is for everyone. How about games that give you a horrible experience. The Cinnamon challenge – eating a big spoon of cinnamon. Pain is not the penalty, there is no way to win this without pain. Pain is the entire game.

Frustration is another area. Games used to be hard and difficult, frustrating to finish but got easier to play throughout as they moved into the living room. But if a game is too easy and you don’t have failure, then do you appreciate it. Frustration built in as part of the game play can make the game better.

Let’s talk about confusion. In game play, people can like getting lost, getting confused. Mazes are an environment you can get lost in, older than video games. It is a great human state. Confusion can be intriguing. Humiliation in games. They are often built in, eg Halo, or Mortal Kombat,.

But why can confusion or humiliation be good. Because they represent the engineer playing with the player. Is the developer a teacher, a tour guide. But is this the right relationship. When you have a single player game, the developer is standing in for player 2. They play. You thwart, play with, inflict pain, confuse him. In many times, play is just violence with a strong set of complaints. It can be tricking the player, or is it that the developer pays attention to what the player is doing and provides responses.

We often get too focused on fun as video game developers. But not all play is fun. You can design games that are more like long distance running. hard and humiliating. But still worth it