Natural Selection

It will not count as a surprise when I say that video stores are well and truly dead. If you are surprised, “Welcome! Glad to see that you’ve emerged from your rock.”

Although there are many reasons why online streaming services such as Netflix are successful, it is mainly due to their business model. Unlike physical video stores, these platforms do not have a physical presence. Instead they rely on the Internet to connect directly with customers instantaneously.

Not only does this make it easier than ever to watch Shrek 2 but the amount of content that they can make available is almost infinite. As argued by Clay Shirky, “there is no economies of scale, no limits of supply.”

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OODA Loop: Bird vs. Cat

Whether you’re a fighter pilot or a COD Black Ops pro, the ability to make and perform decisions quickly is a skill that we value in a range of professions. John Boyd‘s OODA Loop theory helps explain how a person processes a situation and come to an effective decision.

Observe: Assess the situation by taking into account new information about the changing environment.

Orient: Focussing your attention onto what you have observed and understanding this new information.

Decide: Come to a decision of what you will do.

Act: Perform your decision.

Although John’s original theory stopped here after act, there is a fifth step in this process: Feedback. In this final stage, the individual learns from the consequences (or results) of their action and may use this new information to readjust and make changes to future actions.

This process looks like this.

Distributed Network

“Every two days, mankind creates as much information as it did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.” – Susan Karlin, FAST COMPANY

There has never been any other point in human history that has experienced the amount of information that an average person is exposed to today. This is because we live in a global village ( Marshall McLuhan), connected  by an digital nervous system that transcends the barrier of matter.

This isn’t thanks to just technological advancement but to the very nature of the internet. Unlike previous forms of communication (for example: television, radio or telephones) the internet is based on the concept of a distributed network –  meaning each node can communicate to each other.

In essence, all nodes equal. Even if they are only used to update Facebook.

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Just Google it!

Do you pronounce it na-chos or na-choes?

There was once this thing where a group of friends would spend twenty minutes arguing about the intricacies of life over a glass (or bottle) of wine. This debate would have gone back and forth as people shared their knowledgable opinions until some enterprising individual pulled out a dictionary to settle the debate. Flash forward to today and this scene has changed. Instead of pulling out a dictionary that same person may have exclaimed “just Google it!”.

We live in an interconnected world. It’s a world that is very different from the world of Samuel Morse or Alexander Bell. Although they witnessed some of the most pivotal moments of technological change, they may not have realized the consequences of their own inventions.

But what if one day someone asksmethe time in

 

Masks, cosplay and Batman

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of cosplay!

Today I had to explain what exactly ‘cosplay’ was to a lady who had heard of it but didn’t really understand. For those of you who have also been in this position, know that this isn’t such an easy thing to do. In my case I chose to give the textbook answer of…

“Cosplay is when people dress up as their favourite character from a book, movie or game.”

But as soon as I gave this answer I could see that look cross her face which told me instantly that she’d already dismissed it as simply “adult dress-up” (No! Not THAT kind). Yet if you have ever had any experience with cosplay you’d probably have started to realise that there’s a lot more to cosplay than fancy dress outside of Halloween.

Cosplay allows us to be the person we want to be

Video taken at Comic Gong. (Cue shameless promotion)

For some, cosplay is a way for us to hide who we are and for others it’s a way to step out of their shell and take on a new identity.

In a way, cosplay is a form of a mask or persona. This new sense of identity then creates a community of like minded people.

This persona is not just limited to the convention or festival. Instead there are many people who use their cosplayer identity to

create an online identity and essentially make money.

 

Online persona

When I use the term “online persona” I’m referring to the social identity that someone constructs within online communities. For cosplayers this online persona is an extension of their cosplay identity and is a way for them to connect with communities.

Cosplayers such as GrimmboneZ or Evey Dantes have become media influencers with large numbers of online followers. It’s a life-style that may seem to be too good to be true but often takes a lot of work to maintain.

In the end, cosplay can mean something different for each person yet in undeniably brings people together both online and in the everyday. Is it a mask we hide behind or is it a way for us to become heroes? I’ll leave you to ponder.

Right to repair

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Breaking your phone is arguably a bit of a millennial nightmare. Yet you’d think that getting it fixed wouldn’t be much of an issue.

However if you do end up needing your phone fixed you may find that you are limited as to who you can get it fixed by. Part of the reason why is that independent  repair shops don’t have access to patented service manuals, diagnostic tools and parts.  1p9b72

Right to repair or fair repair?

You may have heard of the phrase “right to repair” being talked about in the media. It’s been brought up again as a few American states are considering whether access to traditionally patented manuals and parts should be made publicly available.

Locked appliances vs. generative platforms

 

In a way this situation is a way for companies to keep complete control over the  media platform and how the we use it. I’m not trying to argue either for or against whether repairing what we own is a right. Instead I’m arguing that the current system which forces customers to go through their phone providers for repairs is an example of a locked appliance system.

Whether or not the this proposed law is passed in the US, the fact remains that the current system used by many phone manufacturers deliberately limits the way in which we as consumers engage with their products.

Why we tell stories

Telling stories is the simplest way to convey an idea, an experience or an emotion. We can’t help but love the brands and companies that tell great stories as they connect with us on a truly human level.

Today we are experiencing an overload of mediums and types of storytelling. With this new diversity it seems only natural that the stories we tell are becoming more interactive and engaging for audiences. This is change is known as Transmedia storytelling.

What is it?

Transmedia is the practice of using multiple platforms to tell a cohesive narrative. It’s a participatory type of storytelling as it not only allows audiences to directly engage with the content but choose how they engage.

It’s a dramatic move away from how we’ve historically told stories. Audiences no longer have to absorb stories passively and in a linear fashion.

Here’s an example
Let me introduce you to the YouTube Series, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries.

It’s an adaption of Pride and Prejudice that utilised a range of different media to tell an engaging story. The video series wasn’t the only part of the content. Characters on the series kept active twitterFacebook and Tumblr accounts throughout the series that fans could engage directly with. This made the story an interactive experience for viewers.

So what does it all mean… really?

Transmedia storytelling is the ultimate way of selling you something. This is because it not only creates engaging content that the audience wants to take part in but allows audiences to access the product from a variety of entry points.

I’ll leave you with this for food for thought…