The C3 team is going to be taking a little time off for blogging throug the holiday season. Don't expect to see much in the way of new content here until the beginning of 2008, as we wrap up a few research projects and enjoy the holiday season.
We wanted to take this opportunity, however, to say thanks to everyone reading our blog for a stimulating and produtive year for the Convergence Culture Consortium Weblog. We've appreciated all the feedback and support and hope that what we've provided here has, in the very least, provoked some interesting thoughts and discussion.
There are several new posts from the past few days for you to take a look at, and we'll be back in a couple of weeks with our usual schedule of 12 or so updates per week.
In the meantime, all of us here in the Consortium wish everyone happy holidays!
With the WGA strike looking like it will push through into January, I wanted to draw your attention to a few bits of content available online that might serve as a stop-gap through the holiday season if reality programming and christmas specials aren't to your taste.
First, this seems a good juncture to point you once again to the podcasts from this year's Futures of Entertainment conference are starting to go up on the FoE2 site. Audio and video of the panels are being uploaded progressively, and we'll make another announcement when the entire set is available.
The second thing worth drawing your attention to is that footage from the recent Portland convergence conference is available on YouTube. Below is the first part of my presentation that opened the conference, titled "More than Bringing Bits Together: Convergence Culture and New Media Logics". This presentation provides a working through of some of the concepts discussed in Convergence Culture, touching on some of the work we've been doing here at the Consortium and presenting some of the arguments Henry and I make in our forthcoming chapter in Alisa Perren and Jennifer Holt's Media Industries: History, Theory and Methods book. Parts two and three are below the jump as is an interview with Mark Deuze about agency culture and media work.
In my previous post, I wrote about the smart people I met at Communispace out in Watertown. There are a lot of other great companies and bright minds I've been crossing paths with here in the Boston area of late. We were honored, for instance, to have Jim Nail from out at Cymfony join us on our recent panel on Metrics and Measurement at FoE2.
Another guy in attendance who I've been honored to get to know is John Eckman from Optaros. We had a chance to meet John a few weeks before our conference, when he came in for a visit. Eckman had written about Henry Jenkins' appearance at the Forrester Consumer Forum back in October, and he ended up coming in to meet myself and Joshua Green, C3's Research Manager. The conversation ended going on even past the point I had to leave for another appointment.
Surrounded by Smart Folks: Fanscape and Communispace
While we've been working on rounding out the semester here at MIT and pushing several projects forward, I've had the chance to cross paths with quite a few interesting people. Of course, FoE2 brought all sorts of fascinating people through our doors, and I've been fortunate enough to follow up with more than a few of them.
One of those folks is Natalie Lent, who is coordinator of business development for Fanscape. Natalie, a Harvard grad who previously worked for Creative Artists, "works to determine how potential and existing clients can creatively utilize a multitude of non-traditional online marketing strategies to connect to their target audience in ways that are engaging, personalized and seamlessly integrated into their preferred online properties and communities."
Around the Consortium: The Press and Consulting Researchers
There have been a few interesting publications and bits of news related to the Convergence Culture Consortium of late that I thought might be of interest for you.
First, Meio & Mensagem in Brazil ran a two-page recap of Futures of Entertainment 2, by Mauricio Mota. A PDF of the write-up is available here. Mauricio actually spent a few days with us both before and after the conference, and it was great to hear his perspective on what this age of "convergence culture" means for the media industries in Brazil.
Also, I thought C3 readers might be interested in this story I was interviewed for by Tom Vandyck on the Amazon Kindle for De Morgen in Belgium.
A cell phone jammer is an instrument used to prevent cell phones from receiving or transmitting signals to base stations. Basically, when this device is switched on, cell phones nearby become useless. Jammers are commonly used in places where a phone call would be disruptive because silence is expected (Think schools, libraries, or your next board meeting.).
The devices signal the frustration of some people with the technologies they are constantly surrounded by. People feel the need to be in charge in a technologically controlled world. Let's call this a social defense strategy. Instead of asking others to turn off the electronic device, they take action, employing the jamming device as weaponry. These devices and other "social defense technologies" signal that people are going to take more radical measures to gain control in public spaces.
About a week ago at a Cambridge pub, I met a guy in his mid-thirties. Five minutes into the conversation, he announced he was a communist. OK. Ten minutes and one beer later, he decided to prove his commitment to the cause opening his coat to reveal his oh-so-red Che Guevara T-shirt. Gasp! Awkward at best, but it did get me thinking about Che, the reappropriation and decontextualization of his image, and his paradoxical status as a pop icon.
There is a schism between Che the man and Che the image. The "image" I am referring to is the photograph taken by Alberto Diaz Gutierrez "Korda" in 1960 that has appeared on revolutionary posters, pop art, advertisements and, most prominently, T-shirts.
I have written here in the past about my growing discomfort with the phrase, "digital natives" -- which like all metaphors helps us to see some aspects of the world clearly while masking others.
Like many of you, I first encountered these metaphors in the work of Marc Prensky and saw them as a powerful new way of thinking about generational differences that were creating an impass in debates about media literacy education. Prensky laid out these metaphors in a 2001 essay for On the Horizon which has been widely read and cited.
The final panel at our Futures of Entertainment 2 conference, on cult media, is now available fro download in audio form. The mobile panel from the first day will be made available in the coming weeks, and video on the rest of these panels will be available shortly.
The cult media panel, available here, features a conversation among Danny Bilson, Jesse Alexander of Heroes, Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner, and Gordon Tichell of Walden Media, moderated by Henry Jenkins.
The first full panel on the second day of our Futures of Entertainment 2 conference, on advertising, is now available for download in audio form.
This panel, available here, features a conversation among Bill Fox of Fidelity Investments, Mike Rubenstein of the Barbarian Group, Baba Shetty of Hill/Holliday, Tina Wells of Buzz Marketing Group, and Faris Yakob from Naked Communications, moderated by Joshua Green.
FoE2 Podcast: Jason Mittell, Jonathan Gray, and Lee Harrington
The opening comments panel on the second day of our Futures of Entertainment 2 conference is now available for download in audio form.
This panel, available here, features a conversation among three academic speakers--C3 Consulting Resercher Jason Mittell of Middlebury College, Jonathan Gray of Fordham University, and Lee Harrington of Miami University, moderated by me.
On Monday morning, I was up at 3 a.m. working on a class project. Part of the assignment was to come up with an alternative metric for television.
I thought back to what I know about engagement and what it might mean from my friend Ivan Askwith's thesis, the Metrics & Measurement panel at C3's Futures of Entertainment 2 conference, and what we'd covered in class. There's been a lot of great discussion about a new metric, but few concrete suggestions about what might replace the much maligned Nielsen ratings and C3 (the commercial rating).
So, I decided to write a metric, put something on paper, and get feedback on it. That's what this post is about.
"We Had So Many Stories to Tell": The Heroes Comics as Transmedia Storytelling
Here is a post that I put up on my blog earlier this month that I thought might be of particular interest to C3 readers, especially in light of the recent Futures of Entertainment 2 conference:
"We had so many stories to tell and there was only so much room in the TV show -- so we decided that we could tell these alternative stories in the comics. The stories could be deeper, broader and reveal more secrets about our characters. It was also a way to tell stories that would be otherwise unproduceable on our show." -- Aron Eli Coleite and Joe Pokaski on the Heroes comics.
From time to time, I have used my blog to point towards key steps in the evolution of what I have been calling transmedia storytelling. For a good overview of the concept, check out my Transmedia Storytelling 101 post. Here's part of my definition:
Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story. So, for example, in The Matrix franchise, key bits of information are conveyed through three live action films, a series of animated shorts, two collections of comic book stories, and several video games. There is no one single source or ur-text where one can turn to gain all of the information needed to comprehend the Matrix universe.
This concept has been more fully developed through a series of recent CMS thesis, which you can access on line: Ivan Askwith discusses Lost as an example of how media extensions can be used to enhance audience engagement; Geoffrey Long discusses the aesthetics of transmedia entertainment with a focus on the Jim Henson corporation; Sam Ford explores how transmedia storytelling might expand the reach of contemporary soap operas; and Alec Austin develops an approach to genre conventions which helps to explain the interplay of different elements in a transmedia system.
My thoughts have returned to transmedia entertainment having recently read the graphic novel edition of the first season's comics for Heroes, which comes with a wonderful Alex Ross cover, and which includes an interesting conversation between Executive Producer Jeph Loeb and series writers Aron Eli Coleite and Joe Pkaski about the impulses which led them to use comics to build out the world of Heroes on the web. This post is also inspired by the conversation which I had with Heroes producers Jesse Alexander and Mark Warshaw at the MIT Communications Forum a few weeks ago. The webcast version of that exchange can not be found on the web and includes rich discussions of how Heroes fits within larger industry trends that stress "engagement" rather than "appointment" television.
I wanted to start Monday morning by rounding out a few new links coming out of the Futures of Entertainment 2 conference.
First, Kare Anderson over at Moving from Me to We wrote a piece on this year's Futures of Entertainment 2, which also includes excerpts from an interview she conducted with me regarding the event.
Meanwhile, Rik Hunter, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the composition and rhetoric program in the university's English department, provides a lot of notes from the conference on his site, Canned Goods.
Five Things About the Convergence Culture Consortium
I have gotten tagged a couple of times over the past year to share things on the blog that readers might not know about me or "secrets to success," first from the savvy Nancy Baym back in April and now from Kare Anderson, who is a force of nature herself.
Since this isn't a personal blog, I figure the better approach would be to share a little about the nature of our work at the Consortium. Below is five notes about the nature of our research group and the work we do.
The final panel on the first day of our Futures of Entertainment 2 conference, on fan labor, is now available for download in audio and both high-res and low-res video form.
This panel is available here in audio and video form. The video is intended for download, and some browsers may try to display text if you don't right-click the link to save to your computer. If your browser tries to download it as a ".txt," remove the ".txt" from the name, and the file should work as an "m4v."
The panel features a conversation among Mark Deuze of Indiana University, Jordan Greenhall of DivX, Raph Koster of Areae, Elizabeth Osder of Buzznet, and Catherine Tosenberger of the University of Florida, moderated by Henry Jenkins.
The first panel from the conference, on mobile media, will be available shortly. However, we now have the metrics and measurement panel from FoE2 available for download in audio and video forms.
The metrics and measurement panel, available here, can be accessed in audio, 320x240 video, and 640x480 video. The video is intended for download, and some browsers may try to display text if you don't right-click the link to save to your computer. If your browser tries to download it as a ".txt," remove the ".txt" from the name, and the file should work as an "m4v."
here for download, features a conversation among Maury Giles of GSD&M Idea City, Bruce Leitchman of Leitchman Research Group, Jim Nail of Cymfony, and Stacey Lynn Schulman of Turner Broadcasting, and moderated by me.
We're excited to make the first of our events from the recent Futures of Entertainment 2 conference here at MIT available for download. Each of the panels from the conference are available in both video and audio form.
The panels are available here. Here is audio and video. The video is intended for download, and some browsers may try to display text if you don't right-click the link to save to your computer. If your browser tries to download it as a ".txt," remove the ".txt" from the name, and the file should work as an "m4v."
The opening comments features C3 Director Henry Jenkins and C3 Research Manager Joshua Green discussing some of the media industries trends in 2007. These opening comments helped set the agenda for what would be covered in the six panels to follow at FoE2.
Writing About FoE2: Around the Blogosphere (3 of 3)
A variety of folks wrote summaries of several different panels simultaneously or referenced the conference as a whole. Faris Yakob wrote about the conference here, here, and here. Faris also provided a piece on FoE2 for Contagious.
C3 Consulting Researcher Grant McCracken provides his take on FoE2 here and here. Meanwhile, see Jonathan Gray's take on the conference at The Extratextuals.
Darren Crawforth provided a report from FoE2 for PSFK.
Writing About FoE2: Around the Blogosphere (2 of 3)
Below is a list of the blogs and pieces that reflected on or recapped Friday afternoon and Saturday's panels from our Futures of Entertainment 2 conference here in mid-November. See the first post of links here.
Writing About FoE2: Around the Blogosphere (1 of 3)
Between Futures of Entertainment 2 on Nov. 16 and 17 and Thanksgiving the next week, we've been in the process of trying to catch up on internal research projects and finish out what was really a fantastic conference, as far as we felt. Thanks to everyone who came, both panelists and audience members, for making it such a fantastic conversation. The plan is to have the audio and video from the conference made available, panel by panel, over the next few days, so be sure to come back here continuously for the latest.
In the meantime, I wanted to share with all of our readers many of the interesting accounts that have been posted around the blogosphere from FoE2. Over the next three posts, I'll link to a variety of these conversations, as a preview of those podcasts.
In this post, I'm linking to the posts for the pre-conference and some of the first day's events.
First, the MIT Communications Forum with Jesse Alexander and Mark Warshaw from Heroes was covered by C3 Graduate Researcher Lauren Silberman for this blog, here and here.
This is the final part of the series from my blog, rounding up the Gender and Fan Culture series I hosted there for the past several months. Since comments have been disabled off-and-on here of late in preparation to switch servers, please e-mail me or Sam Ford your thoughts.
This conversation series has been very enjoyable and interesting and even, at times, fascinating, and I would like to thank everyone who participated and Henry Jenkins for hosting it.
It felt very much like a virtual conference and, as with most academic conferences I attend, I came away feeling both exhilarated but also overwhelmed. Indeed, I've been spending the last few days reviewing each of the conversations and making notes so I can remember the participants and their areas of expertise for future reference.
This is the third part of the series I ran the past couple of weeks over on my blog, as a look back at the Gender and Fan Culture series I hosted there for the past several months. Since comments have been disabled off-and-on here of late in preparation to switch servers, please e-mail me or Sam Ford your thoughts.
First of all, many many thanks to Kristina Busse for inspiring this wonderful series of
conversations, and to Henry Jenkins for organizing the exchanges and hosting them on his
Although I had read the existing literature on gender and fan studies, and had gotten to know some of the emerging scholars in the field, this exchange made me understand just how much more there is to be done, and also gave me hope that so many excellent scholars are interested in this field and willing to do new and urgently important work. Through these conversations, I have found a terrific intellectual partner in Sam Ford, and we are now in the process of co- editing a new volume on soap operas. We hope to bring "soap studies" into the digital age, and aim to address the role of gender, and the role that fans play, in the production, circulation, and distribution of daytime soaps and soap-related texts. Two great university presses have already expressed interest in this project. We think our volume will be a strong contribution to the fields of media (especially new media and television) studies and fan studies, and it would never have come into being without the conversations that took place this summer and fall on this blog. (And at least a couple of the authors whose essays we will include also participated in the Gender and Fan Culture exchanges!)