A global jukebox, zombies representing our online behaviour and globally connected city treasure hunts were just some of the rich snippets on offer at last Friday’s X Media Lab: Global Media Cultures Pro Day Conference. Fifteen digital and social media gurus from around the world were brought together at the Opera House to give their version of the digital future, how they’re working to shape it and how others should get on board.
The wealth of information on offer was being lapped up by people in a diverse range of industries; seated on one side of me was a guy with a fashion website and on the other side was someone from a telco. In the breaks I also met people from schools, business start-ups, social enterprise and the design industry. In amongst it all there was plenty to be had of relevance to online documentary and storytelling, so I’ll try and whittle it down to some key takeaways.
- Steve Baty of Meld Studios in Sydney works in user experience, but talked about moving ‘beyond the interface’. His work uses behavioural models of how people interact rather than being tech driven. He used the example of Flickr - one site, but with infinite motivations for posting a photo. There might be a father posting a family shot of surfing with his son, and then next there’s a picture of a protest in the Middle East. When thinking about online interaction, keep in mind the range of possible motivations for engaging.
- Michael Naimark, a media artist who’s worked a lot with MIT, has a vision for Live Global Video. Imagine being able to search through any live video being streamed anywhere around the world in real time. This has some fascinating implications for authorship and mediation. Obviously live viewing is quite a different thing from a designed webdoc, but the two can intersect. There is also still room for curation when there are infinite camera views on offer. Whose perspective do you take? And in a major event with a thousand cameras pulled from pockets and recording, does this mean we become all seeing or do we drown in a sea of content and lose any meaning? Naimark also floated the suggestion of a chat-roulette style approach, being able to flick between cameras at will to any point on the globe.
- Gerry Gouy of MTV talked about the future of connected televisions. He made the interesting point that so far, all the TV manufacturers are developing their own platforms - you buy one, you use their platform. But with mobile phones, eventually the manufacturers (apart from Apple) gave up on their own platforms and moved to Android, making it easier to have standards across the field. Gouy predicted the same move for television - which might convince more people to make the switch to a connected TV.
- There were many more nuggets from all the speakers about how to connect, but for now I’ll finish with a timely tip from Dr Steffen Walz of RMIT Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory. If you’re foggy from constantly checking Facebook or Twitter but can’t quite drag yourself away, it might be time for Network Detox. Go and hang out with a Total Response Toddler (TRT) for a bit and you should be right as rain.
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