XMediaLab: What’s your story? Part 4: Jaunique Sealey, John de Margheriti, Jeroen Elfferich and Helen Papagiannis

XML Perth 2012 aims to explore how new digital technology impacts and enables storytelling.  My notes from the last sessions of the conference…

The final part of the conference kicked-off with Jaunique Sealey, digital and social media strategist.  Sealey comments that social media allows artists to ‘own’ their audience, taking them with them through their portfolio of work. But she warns: “there is no such thing as social media strategy without free content”, as this forms the basis of the conversation within these communities.  Sealey suggests producing “good deed content”: something so valuable that the audience feels it is a “good deed” to share it.  Video is “the king of content” in the social media space.

Sealey comments that you should define your audience first, and produce for them specifically.  She warns you do not want to sell your product (push messaging) through social media, you want to tell the story of your product instead.  Sealey used the example of “Double Fine Adventure” that understood and targeted their audience so specifically and authentically, that they raised some $3.3m on KickStarter (with the goal of $400k).

In summary, Sealey urged the audience to: find your audience; find your stories, build your following.  And follow the life-cycle of social media:  Listen -> Create -> Present -> Broadcast -> Measure -> Adapt -> and start the cycle again…

Next up was John de Margheriti of the Australian Game Development Industry.  He was followed by Jeroen Elfferich, a specialist in synchronous social interactive entertainment, talking about second-screen. “The biggest thing to happen to TV since colour”, Elfferich comments that this revolution is changing TV from a passive pastime to an interactive experience.  Elfferich stated that the average 25-year-old now consumes 9 hours of media every day, over 6 hours.  This means that 50% of the time they are consuming two streams of media at once.  Elfferich believes that less than 1% of media is currently being produced with this concurrent, social consumption trend in mind.  And he comments that activity in the social space is now informing what is broadcast as final programming (from twitter feeds and polls, to real-time voting, to narrative developments).  Audience understanding of this real-time live feedback loop produces massive consumer loyalty.

Elfferich concluded that when thinking about second-screen, producers need to remember the “5 M’s”: mass (audience scale), meaning (do something with the feedback generated by users), multi-platform (think about devices and distribution methods), moment (makes the interaction more powerful and meaningful for audiences) and monetize.  He warns that you must not: treat second-screen as Ceefax/Teletext, as just checking-in, try to gamify the un-gamifiable, over-do it…and do not let the servers crash!  And he urged producers to make sure that second-screen is: synchronous and in real-time with broadcast; a call-to-action; rewards interaction and creates feedback loops; offer pre- and post-show experiences; and embraces the potential for second-screen to become the first!

And the last speaker of the day was augmented reality (AR) specialist Helen Papagiannis. PhD Researcher at the Future Cinema Lab, York University (Toronto), Papagiannis explores the potential for AR in storytelling as a creative visual medium, with a focus on aesthetics, content development and narrative.  She believes the potential of AR across industries is that it enables users to move back and forward in time to “experience” stories. Papagiannis remarked that empathy is a really interesting mechanism in AR storytelling, as it allows users to see the world as a character.  Papagiannis then referred to technological developments which will allow users to sense environments: developments with haptic tactile technologies which allow touch-feedback (some happening at the Magic Vision Lab at the University of South Australia); and cameras that recognize specific AR markers and pump scents into AR goggles.

Like other speakers, Papagiannis referred to the importance of play in AR narratives. And finally, she commented on her own approach to AR development: project what is needed and what could be possible technically in the future.  Imagine impossible things.  And collaborate.

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