1. nothing is finished
Because a finished story is a dead story, ie one that nobody ever reads. This is particularly so for transmedia, which lives at least partly online. Works evolve, partly because of fan conversations. Authors have to encourage the unfinished nature of work. Being unfinished is being alive.
2. nothing is owned
Oh, there may be ways in which copyright can create certainly income streams for pivotal authors. But to attempt to own transmedia works is to circumvent their life span.
3. no part of the work is pivotal
If you have a must-see ep, you’re not thinking transmedia. Like the web itself, transmedia works have nodes, and each particular node can be by-passed, so long as enough of the others are engaged with. Plots are refracted through various iterations, and whichever part of the story you get, that’s your story.
4. the puzzle is all-important
It’s the puzzle, stupid. Not the plot. Sure there are plots, but plots come and go, depending on which nodes you’ve interacted with. It’s the puzzle of tying the bits of plot together in a way that you’re happy with that is all-important. Some of that tying-together might be done by you, in social media or fan fiction.
5. Splatter media
Bits of work published to different platforms, each node with enough of interest to reward the vigilant by their attention.
6. Intelligent media
Transmedia is not for idiots – those peeps have the box. Don’t talk down to your audience. [On the other hand, providing well-flagged summaries and spoilers for those who can't put in the hard yards is not a bad thing - just don't be surprised if you get told you've got it all wrong]
7. search engines and hypertext. Integral aspects of your transmedia strategy.
8. freebies and pay-per-engagement
The relationship between these is very important. Freebies have to be more significant than just marketing.
9. The community
Where does your audience go to become collaborators? Can you help establish that? Are you going to ‘police’ it?
Facebook has launched a new type of page called a ‘community page’::
We hope Community Pages and your improved profile make it easier for you to learn more about your friends and to express yourself….
Profiles no longer are a static list of likes and interests. Now, they are a living map of all the connections that matter to you.
I’m not sure that this is really about community. It’s about identity, masquerading as community. The collective nature of a community doesn’t have ‘you’ at its centre. It doesn’t exist to serve ‘you’. It is a collectivity of people with enough in common to allow negotiation of common outcomes to be attractive enough to overcome individual interests. I’m also a little suspicious of ‘communities’ that are jump-started in such an overtly manipulative way by some central power, although I’m prepared to concede that sometimes this might work.
The conflation of community and identity is going on a lot in the marketing of social media. Joining the ‘community’ bandwagon – and taking advantage of the under-defined but vaguely positive connotations of this term – makes social media seem more like a social movement, greater than the sum of its parts. Many of these connections are organised programmatically; others are chosen by individuals and in some way result in a hyperlink.
Social media and this example from Facebook in particular have been strongly influenced by Putnam’s vision of social capital, in which community is derived from the confluence of selfish interests. Community thus becomes a sort of accidental, but convenient, offshoot of meeting your own needs.
Sometimes social media does create a community, but it’s driven by people whose exploration and publication of their personal identity comes secondary to the interests of the group. This seems to be the case with the core group on wikipedia (see Clay Shirky’s book, Here comes everybody). I’m not sure Facebook can ever do that, Facebook’s purpose is almost antithetical to community.
Quoted by James:
…a community is not an entity that exists and then happens to communicate. Rather, communities are best understood as constituted in and through their changing patterns of communication. Indeed, today, as new technologies enable cheap and immediate forms of long-distance communication, the nuclear family is often strung out along the phone wires, and community is no longer necessarily founded on geographical continuity.
(Morley from “Communication.” New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society: Oxford: Blackwell, 2005 p50)
Understanding community via their mode of communication certainly changes the emphasis from traditional concepts of community. of course, we know that community is no longer dependent on geography, but here Morley seems to be diluting the concept almost to meaninglessness. ‘Community’ has always been a term that contains some implicit value statement. That value statement is wholly missed if you reduce it to a group’s means of communication.
That said, I should read the whole article!
the aggressive rollerblading community goes for tight stretch jeans (see Nisa Halim’s doco), while the Melbourne Shufflers like it loose (see Mei’s doco). Seem to me, either way would work for either community, but they’ve got their look and they stick tightly to it, as both doco makers point out.
Both are great examples of what Anthony Cohen calls the Symbolic Construction of Community, which Nisa summarises:
Anthony Cohen states that the community is symbolically constructed, as a system of values, norms, and moral codes which provides a sense of identity within a bounded whole to its members. He states that community implies and creates a boundary between us and them by use of symbolism. There are many types of symbol which mark the boundaries of community – flags, badges, dances. Languages and so on. This is because symbols always carry a range of meaning whose differences can be glossed over.
Note to self: this book is on Google books