As someone who studied literature in university and works in the creative arts, I probably should be a purist. Maybe even a snob.
But since I’m also into gaming, technology, and all sorts of absurdly “low” culture, I am actually very interested in anything that pushes the edges of where formal literature is going – or, at least, shows us how far it can go.
This past week I stumbled across an article about a vest that is to be worn when reading the award-winning novella, The Girl Who Was Plugged In, by James Tiptree, Jr. (pen name of Alice Sheldon). The vest works as a technological peripheral that stimulates certain physical sensations for the reader, triggered by events in the book.
The kids these days are calling this Sensory Fiction. And man, I’m so down for it.
Cutting my marketing teeth in the nefarious and multiply-A/B-tested world of direct mail, I have a fondness for data-driven targeting.
Now, I realize a data-first worldview makes some marketing useless at best and creepy at worst, and this kind of tracking also seems to spell disaster for geopolitics as recent NSA revelations have shown.
But tracking, aggregating choices, and serving up suggestions is also what makes services like Last.FM and Pandora (sadly, still not available in Canada) so helpful. So how does it work? Or, more importantly, how does it work when it works well?
As noted before on Fauna Corporation, Michael Geist is more or less The Man when it comes to Canadian copyright and online privacy legislation.
A post from Geist on BoingBoing today points out that the Canadian music industry is about to lobby the Canadian government for more control and rights over what people post through blogs, social networking sites, search engines and video sites – including things intended for parody and satire – while putting liability on the sites and networks that carry the content. They also want a tax on new iPods, because, you know, that’s why Canadian records don’t sell. Insert incredibly loud sigh and mega-eye-roll here.
It all reminds me of when Canada Post tried to levy a 5 cent tax on every email being sent because people were sending fewer letters as email became more common. The result? Laughter, then even fewer letters being sent.
I would be surprised if the Canadian record labels that I actively support (and I mean actively support; I buy a lot of music) are amongst those lobbying government (ie: smaller, more interesting labels with more lateral business models), but at this point I don’t know enough about it. So we’ll see what shakes down in Parliament.
Either way, this is the kind of thing that often involves asking for the moon because, with concessions, you’ll probably get the sky. So it seemed appropriate to point some traffic to Geist’s post (via Cory Doctorow) on BoingBoing to raise awareness that this is happening.
Have a read, have a think, and then buy some wicked Canadian music directly from the artists that create it, because they are keeping up with the times and the choices consumers are making. And generally speaking, they’re not trying to control what you share.
Good news for fans of the Wipeout video game series, RC racing, or levitating cars!
Researchers at the Japan Institute of Technology are apparently looking into Quantum Levitation (which, as you know, is so much better than non-quantum levitation) and are using a liquid nitrogen-fueled homage to Wipeout to show how it works.
Hard to verify the authenticity of the research, but a fun idea.
2012 is upon us and I’m going to be posting to Fauna Corporation again, albeit with a slightly different focus.
Going forward, I will be sharing the things that I create (text, photos, sketches, music), the things that inspire me — and hopefully, you — to create (others’ work, links, quotes, ideas, cool creative executions), and the tools I use to create (hardware, software, apps, etc).
The evolving digital narratives are all around us, and we participate in them each day with the smart phones, tablets, laptops and other digital hardware that have become seamless extensions of us.
Rather than focusing on digital advertising, multimedia journalism, or any other specific industry, this little blog will simply throw some light on the creativity that results from our ever-expanding, ever present, digital means.
I haven’t posted very much over the last long while because I’ve been reeling from a series of personal tragedies. A close friend, my brother, my father and my mother all passed away within the span of the last two years, and frankly, I’ve struggled to just hold it together. Blogging, and more expressly, sharing what I am thinking about, has been far from my mind.
But, as I have said, 2012 is upon us, and times have changed.
Hopefully this new Fauna Corporation focus offers something to you. And hopefully you’ll share the fruits of your own creative channels.
Last week marked the final time that Virginia Heffernan’s The Medium column would run in the New York Times Magazine. I think it’s a shame that this column has been rendered obsolete by the magazine’s Secular Overlords (or whoever makes the decisions at the NYTimes).
In the four years that her technology column ran, Heffernan was always a moderate voice in an industry full of overblown hype and wide-brush lifestyle marketing. At once informed and curious, Heffernan’s column (along with Randy Cohen’s The Ethicist — also nixed by the mag last week) became a primary reason for me to read the magazine every week.
Heffernan’s final column for the NYT Magazine addressed the changes in the web over the last 2 years, where commercialized add-ons and targeted promotions have overrun genuine culture and idea exchanges. Heffernan presents the Kindle as an example of a consumer space aimed at the pleasures of culture, rather than the business of it.
Fittingly, I found Heffernan’s columns to be the same way – a lucid examination of the (often) ridiculous eccentricities of the net that increasingly come to define how we live and communicate. Heffernan’s columns were always respite from the histrionics that come with emerging digital culture, and while I mourn the loss of her column, I will enjoy reading its archives and following Virginia Heffernan’s upcoming work.
When speaking about the future, it seems that 5 years is the most popular milestone for people. Not far enough off to suggest silver hover-cars and jet packs, yet distant enough that we’ll accept some fantastic possibilities (especially if we consider Moore’s Law and it’s rate of acceleration), the 5 year plan allows us to see the road immediately ahead and plan for it.
The unfathomable future – Suddenly Fathomable!
This past week I found two informative pieces about the future of journalism that suggested what trends will become important for the media in the next 5 years. While everyone can predict the future, and every megalomaniac can build a 5-year plan, I thought these pieces were great food for thought for multimedia journos.
The first piece comes from (the awesome) ReadWriteWeb site, and features a brief excerpt of an interview with Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. The 6-minute segment discusses the role of video, non-English language communications, social media and bandwidth in the coming age, and also offers a fascinating look at how Google predicts media trends (non-separation between consumer and enterprise applications, for instance).
The second piece about the future of the web comes to my attention from Will Sullivan’s Journerdism site, and he draws it in from Noupe. Noupe’s piece asks “where will the web be in 5 years” and then presents 15 trends to consider. The Noupe article is pretty detailed, with examples, pundits (both pro- and con-), further reading and what I think are some pretty hilarious photos in support of their arguments.
Highlights include a prediction that consumers will gravitate toward web experience as the centre of their media world, where social media, net-based entertainment, mobile apps, and collaborative tools all become a core set of entertainment, education and creative tools for consumers. Essentially, the web (and its apps) will become stronger and we, in turn, will become more fluid in our integration of this experience into our lives.
While not Nostradamus or the Mayan Calendar (shout out to the 2012-ers out there!), the 5-years-into-the-future predictions are popular, and the two pieces cited above contain some excellent ideas to consider. Part of considering the future of journalism is intrinsically linked to considering the future of all consumer and enterprise media, and the articles in Noupe or ReadWriteWeb offer a great road map for next-gen-journos.