From a transmedia storytelling perspective, any change in the world of social networking is exciting — and scary. Plenty of ink (and plenty of pixel-inches) has been given to the actual changes, but what about their import for transmedia storytellers? Here are three points to consider:
- ‘Spreadable’ media will change. The new “frictionless” sharing will change the social dynamic of the way people share content. If an invisible algorithm decides which videos show up in your stream — or if every video you watch shows up on your profile — there’s an intermediate between ‘not spreading content’ and ‘becoming an evangelist.’ You can share videos in a casual way without feeling like you’re spamming your friends. That’s going to mean a huge change for how transmedia storytellers think about how their stories will spread.
- It will be harder to create the illusion of reality. Facebook has already made it difficult to create fictional profiles for characters in a transmedia story. The advent of the Timeline will make it nearly impossible to create a convincing fictional profile, even if you can get around Facebook’s regs. While that doesn’t really hurt our ability to tell good stories, it does sadden those of us who’ve been around since the days when of Claire Bennet’s MySpace page — it feels like a door closing, even if somewhere another one is opening.
- Lifestyle transmedia will surge. ‘Lifestyle’ transmedia – meaning wraparound experiences including fashion, music, and everyday apps – aims to keep viewers immersed in the story by bringing pieces of the story’s vibe into their everyday life. (For example, think about how Mad Men devotees can wear clothes, drink cocktails and listen to music that reminds them of their favorite show.) By emphasizing how people build identity through multiple media – video, audio, etc. – the Timeline will give lifestyle transmedia campaigns an edge.
Obviously, there will be larger shakeups in terms of how we do business, how we actually get our stories onto Facebook and into everyone’s Timelines: will we work directly with Facebook, or through partners like Spotify, Zynga and Vevo? What will it be worth? How will it work? But once we get beyond those questions, the really exciting work begins: learning to tell better and better stories with these new tools.
From a transmedia storytelling perspective, any change in the world of social networking is exciting — and scary. Plenty of ink (and plenty of pixel-inches) has been given to the actual changes,[...]
1. I always have such mixed feelings about this. One of the reasons I objected to using my walletname on G+ and have multiple Gmail accounts is I don’t necessarily want, say, my boss to be able to see how many slash videos I watch. I’m not sure that would change if/when I worked in social media, simply because there are things about what draws my attention/what kinds of dynamics appeal to me that maybe I don’t want to share with the whole world, even if there’s more unity between Yael Tiferet and my walletname than there once was once I’m no longer working in hospitals.
2. I’ve always been glad I didn’t write the kind of characters who use Facebook a lot. (I have a character on Twitter whose account had to be locked down because so many people who weren’t part of that story and weren’t into transmedia liked him and related to him as a person in the first few WEEKS he was on Twitter, that I didn’t want to have to tell them he wasn’t IRL-real and I didn’t want more non-transmedia people joining his followers, but jfc, was I ever glad he has reasons not to be on there because he’s never going to be able to be and he can’t share pictures.)
I always imagined one day we will be walking around with #transmedia T-shirts that show ads to our friends. And I can even have Google Analytics for my shirt and get paid for the content on my shirt. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Kris, I’m really not so sure it would be. Among other things, I don’t think that just serving ads to someone is ‘transmedia.’