September 3, 2007
Looking Back at C3 Work--Summer 2007

My final post today looking at some overall posts from the past academic year as we embark on a new year here at MIT with a new team of graduate students on board for the Convergence Culture Consortium focuses on some of the C3 work published here on the blog this summer. As many of you who are familiar with our work know, we both do proprietary research that is shared internally within the Consortium before it is published otherwise but also view the blog and other outreach programs, such as the Futures of Entertainment conference, as a way to engage on a larger basis with the many people who are interested in these questions.

With that in mind, here are a few more posts from the summer. I will follow this up later today with a couple of posts highlighting some essays and interviews we have run here on the C3 blog in the past year as well.

Personal Questions of Social Interaction and Etiquette Raised by Online Networks Sam Ford provides a series of incidents from his personal online social network maintenance that shows new ways in which these sites are raising questions and situations in personal relationships that would not have come up before.

Go Ahead...Google Yourself Sam Ford brings up not only the C3 analyst but a news anchor, a porn star, and a sex offender.  What other versions of you do you now have to contend with?

What Do Commercial Ratings Mean, with Nothing to Compare Them To? What does the first year of commercial ratings really tell us without a benchmark to measure them against, and how are both sides trying to leverage what those numbers mean?

Why Do People Go To Search Engines Instead of the Official Site? In light of NBC's news about a third of their traffic coming from search engines, Sam Ford looks at how a focus on Web aesthetics often obscures the importance of information and utility.

Reverse Product Placement, The Simpsons, and the Value of the 7-Eleven Brand Some have celebrated The Simpsons' conversion of 7-Eleven stores as a great example of the "reverse product placement" David Edery and Ilya Vedrashko and others affiliated with C3 have talked about, but Grant McCracken thinks otherwise.

Misconceptions of the Rate of Technological Change Sometimes, those who are forward-thinking enough to know that change is coming are shocked when it doesn't get here as quickly as they had imagined. Infrastructure and the gradual adoption of technologies and new cultural processes don't happen overnight, though.

Realities of the Digital Divide More people than ever are getting online, but the projection remains only slightly more than a fifth of the world's population by 2011...and that's not measuring the quality of the connection, which is another story altogether.

Changing Measurement Systems Move Even Slower than Technological Change... Sometimes, technology enthusiasts may overstate the case of how fast things are changing in the media industries, but there's little question that the matrices that the media industries run on are moving much too slowly to be relevant as much other than a currency for the industry to trade on.

It's Not About the Technology; It's How You Use It With DVR penetration rising and Internet technologies slowly becoming more pervasive, it's becoming abundantly clear that what matters more than the technology itself is how people are using it and how they envision it in their lives.

The Importance of News Brands in a Convergence Culture Even in an era in which the Web brings into question the long-term status of traditional "old media" news sources, it's important to remember the power that a reputed news brand still has in shaping public opinion.

Surplus Audiences, ATWT, and the Luke/Noah Kiss As the World Turns had a milestone moment earlier this month--the first "serious" kiss between gay male characters in American daytime. How can producers of the show use the kiss' popularity on YouTube, and in online gay communities?

Free Market and Copyright Sam Ford reacts to a recent piece from World Poker Tour's Steven Lipscomb about the free market and the need to protect copyright rigorously, questioning the conception of what a free market really means.



fwiw, I still think "reverse product placement" is the wrong terminology for what Edery described. I explained why here: (Note: I commented on the earlier post, but it apparently met with the spam blocker).


Interesting link. Have you ever heard anything in response from some of the other folks who write regularly on "reverse product placement." I think the concept they are writing about is interesting, but you are right that language is important...I'd be fascinated to read their take, since I've given thought to the concept but not the label.

By the way, sorry about the spam filter problems. We were having them for a while, and it pains me to think of what interesting comments disappeared into the ether in the process.


Haven't had any responses. I don't think most people are ready to go as far as what I'm suggesting; there's still a rather significant bias against the "intangible".

For me, however, my version of Reverse Product Placement makes sense. I have no intention of fabricating mass quantities of tangible product, but I can produce small numbers similar in quantity to what the urban vinyl toy people churn out (I'll be mixing rapid prototyping with standard processes). And if those tangible items serve as catalyst to spur virtual sales, then I'll be able to scale.

fwiw, it'll be a while before I do this as part of a real business venture. This is to be a piece of a much larger project in which I think you might be interested. I might do a test in the coming months, but the full effort will take 2-4 years of preparation and seeding.

And no worries about the filter. I'm having my own issues; blog and email. Neverending.


Keep us updated as your plans go forward for the idea of real-world promotion of virtual products. I'd like to see what happens with it.