Contagious Media, the Bzz and the Law

News of a Contagious Media Showdown from GxTA. The competition is for bits of information, a video snippet etc, that is so interesting that people pass links to it and it spreads around the globe very fast. It is contagious. Douglass Rushkoff describes a media virus:

Media viruses spread rapidly if they provoke our interest, and their success is dependent on the particular strengths and weaknesses of the host organism, popular culture. The more provocative an image or icon–like a video-taped police beating or a new rap lyric, for that matter–the further and faster it will travel through the datasphere.

Rushkoff goes on to explain why people are susceptible to a media virus:

Our interest and fascination is a sign that we are not culturally “immune” to the new virus. The success of the memes within the virus, on the other hand, depends on our legal, moral, and social resiliency. If our own attitudes about racism, the power of police, drug abuse, and free speech are ambiguous–meaning our societal “code” is faulty–then the invading memes within the media virus will have little trouble infiltrating our own confused command structure.

It is interesting that apparently a Massachusetts state representative has introduced a bill that requires children (under 16) to get parental permission before joining up with a buzz campaign. A ‘buzz campaign’ is one where a buzz about a product or service is created through word-of-mouth. People are employed to spread this word-of-mouth through employment in companies like BzzAgent.

So on the one hand we have a fun competition to create a ‘meme’ that is spread through the datasphere (for free) and on the other we have legislation coming down on children earning money from spreading news…

Rushkoff, D. (1994) Media virus!: hidden agendas in popular culture, Ballantine Books, New York.

Hitchhiker iTV Ad

An iTV Ad for Hitch sounds like they did an in-game/diegetic form of interaction (the button)…and then the storyworld fades off into meta-data (info about the storyworld or at least the representation of it). From itvt newsletter:

Buena Vista International has been using an interactive TV campaign on the Sky platform to promote its new movie, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The campaign’s linear spots include a prompt, in which viewers are told, “Don’t panic! Just press the red button on your remote now”. Viewers who obey the prompt are taken to a Dedicated Advertiser Location (DAL), in which they can view a trailer for the movie; watch a mini-documentary on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the company that developed the movie’s various alien creatures; enter a competition; and find out more about the movie’s principal characters, such as Zaphod Beebelbrox and Ford Prefect. The ad was created by
Momentum Productions.

Convergence Jam

I’m just about to sign up to attend a ‘Convergence Jam’ being held here in Melbourne next month. The event is attended by professionals from film, TV, gaming, communciations and so on. Complimenting talks will be the development of multi-platform productions by attendees. It appears we’ll be split into teams and will compete against each other for the best idea.

Similar to television show The Apprentice, Jam teams of games developers, filmmakers, animators, digital media practitioners and new media artists will create the converging media models challenging the concept of ?spare time?. The winning team will be rewarded.

I’ve downloaded the Rules of Play which set out the theme and requirements. I’ve been coming up with ideas for a multi-platform work based on this theme — a really cool thing I think.

It’ll be a bit weird participating in such an event since I’d rather be observing (that’s why I’m there – to research how these professionals think multi-platform works should be designed and how they deliver the knowledge), but the pay-offs will be worth it. I wanted to participate last year but couldn’t so I look forward to it. I’m sure I’ll find some on-the-ball practitioners out there I can interview too.

If anyone has any ideas around the theme of ‘spare time’, throw them this way. No harm in a pre-jam jam.