Experience and communication - Its not online or offline - it is Blended Reality

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    12-May-2015
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The rush into digital everything, as an add-on to the silo of silos - is an organisational mistep.Whereas we need to understand how we as people engage with the world on a daily basis so that organisations and companies can start to develop meaningful and relevant communication strategies for the networked society.You don't need a "digital strategy" you need a blended and engaged one.

Transcript of Experience and communication - Its not online or offline - it is Blended Reality

  • 1.Its not about online and offline: its about blended realityalan moore smlxl january 2010

2. My son Josef wakes up in the morning, goes downstairs and turns on the television. He might watch Cebeebies, or he might have a go on his Xbox 360. Then his mate Tom calls on the house phone, they are both playing the same MMORPG. Much to my frustration, Josef turns on the speakerphone and I can hear the conversation throughout the house. Like me, my son has a big, loud voice. 3. Then the doorbell goes. More of Josef s mates arrive, they decide to play Call of Duty, Modern Warfare and - of course - there is a big group discussion around the multiplayer game; strategy and tactics. The BIG CONVERSATION starts to do my head in, and the sun is shining I suggest they go and play a game of it in our back garden. (BTW Black Hawk Down is in) 4. I look out the window andsee they are climbing up trees and all over the pergola and diving through the laurel hedge. The little buggers! I had to cut the major branches off three trees last weekbecause of their exploits. http://picapixels.tumblr.com/post/111920039/9-jpg I run into the garden, andI am having aahem, A SHIT FIT!!!!!Sulking they go off tothe skate park 5. Later that day I callJosef on hismobile, asking himto come home; hemoans and groans but eventually he arrives with cuts and bruises. Hestacked it over thespine, apparently. He watches some Simpsons on TVand we might play a game ofbasketball then hemoves onto hiscomputer to watchsome moreYouTube clips. Before bedtime,being a cuddly kindof guy, he gives mea big cuddle, which I always enjoy. http://www.flickr.com/photos/94104313@N00/3058537867 6. But why is this story relevant? 7. nedra and her avatar sheeva weeks Because Josef s world is not one defined by an artificial sense of separation between real and virtual. According to William Gibson, author, Sci-Fi writer and inventor of the word cyberspace, there is no online or offline - there is only blended reality. One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real, the virtual from the real, he says. 8. In the future, that will become literally impossible. The distinction between cyberspace and that, which isnt cyberspace, is going to be unimaginable. When I wrote Neuromancer in 1984, cyberspace already existed for some people, but they didnt spend all their time there. So cyberspace was there, and we were here. 9. When I was a child, I lived in a linear, disconnected media world of scarcity not of abundance. All media was structured, inflexible, defined by production and distribution processes; books were books, TV was TV, cinema was cinema. 10. And my days as a teenager were spent worrying whether to go out or not just in case I missed a phone call from Beatrix, the one that made my heart soar love left unrequited through our inability to connect. 11. The nearest we got to any form of blended reality was the taking of, say, Ian Flemings books and turning them into films. I remember coming home with my father one evening after seeing a James Bond film, demanding that he drive home like James Bond, and was crestfallen when he said that only happened in films. 12. Whereas in Josef s networked world it is when there is no connectivity that he struggles. It is when he cannot simultaneously toggle between the arterial life-giving connection to information, content and experience, some of which he co-creates, that he becomes frustrated:Who turned the internet off ? he booms, or, Ive run out of credit, or, No one wants to play with me! 13. [4][2] [1] [6][3] [5]Having been fascinated by communication, culture, technology and media for the best part of a decade, partly by watching my three children adroitly navigate life through the virtual and the real as an everyday occurrence, Gibsons observation seems obvious. 14. Josef, born into in a world of connectivity and media abundance, would as a young child do the following. He would get me to bring down his box of dinosaurs and put them in the lounge. Then he would ask me to play the video Jurassic Park. After sitting with me for about ten minutes, Josef would get his dinosaurs out, and Jurassic Park became the contextual, audio and emotional backdrop to his play. This went on for hours. Then other characters were introduced, monsters from a Japanese TV programme, a medieval castle, modern day fighter planes, and a superhero toy that we bought for a dollar in a car boot sale in Oxnard, California to which he seemed strangely attached. I would watch him, fascinated by this intense form of blended reality recreation. Josef instinctively knew how to bring different media together to enhance and augment his play. 15. So we have multiple experiences inreality and virtuality; we will combinethese two realms to augment and enhance our experiences. http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachstern/102336259/in/photostream/ 16. So perhaps the firstport of call is the word digital. The idea that digital is different toanalogue is important, as it creates a mentalmodel on which weframe the world. AsRussell Davies http://www.woostercollective.com/2009/01/fresh_stuff_from_ludo_in_paris.htmlposted on his blog,Meet the New Schtick,there are a lot ofpeople around nowwho havethoroughly integrateddigitalness intotheir lives. To theextent that it makesas much sense todefine them as digital as it does to define them as airbreathing, i.e. it's true but not useful or interesting.Amen to that. 17. In this blended reality we http://picapixels.tumblr.com/post/113184408can also live two differentbut converged lives. We can connect locally - close physical bonds areexperiences that weas humans so desperatelyneed and yet we can also find fulfilment in co-creating further experiences across time and space via digital technologies. As I write thisI am sitting in the Cambridge UniversityLibrary; I will go to getsome lunch from themarket square, but I am also connecting and collaborating with people asfar away as Japan, the USA, and Finland. People read my blog from all over the world and yet when I get home to my village just outside ofCambridge, I will kiss mywife, hug my son and water the vegetables. If I had to choose between either ofthese two life stories it would be half a life. 18. This to me is where the networked society comes into its own - the ability to converge very different types of networks enhances the human condition and the human experience. Its neither one nor the other. Personally the word digital frustrates me, it suggests machines that are not part our DNA. As a consequence many think digital strips us of our very souls, or that digital is not of us, and that digital does not live in our analog world. Therefore digital becomes but another straight-line component, another silo in the silos of corporate culture and consumer life. 19. Then another thought struck me whilst reading Kevin Kellys book, Out of Control: the new biology of machines. I realised that we are plugging our analog world into the networked world. We are marrying engineering with evolution, adapting linear systems into something more complex yet at the same time repurposing them, reprogramming them to perform in new, simplified ways. In the same way that my son intuitively adapted his physical and virtual resources into blended play, Ben Terrett, a friend of Russell Davies, did the same thing though not with dinosaurs and Jurassic Park. Ben, Tom Taylor and Russell decided to take stuff from the internet and print it in a newspaper format after a bit of research showed them that humongous newspaper printing presses would run limited editions of 1,000 copies. 20. This is what is perplexing in terms of communication, marketing and business; to say you are a digital agency, or a social media agency, or, to divide up an organisation in terms of its communications into silos; digital, mobile, social media et al, means you are only part of the solution. Such a linear approach to communication to drive commercial success, thin-sliced specialisms, hide-bound with siloed profit centers, means that there is no way that an organisation can develop coherently relevant communication strategies and execute them. Organisations who are not able to develop people focused blended reality solutions misunderstand the context of the world they live in. 21. In his book Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins explores the idea and concept of Transmedia Storytelling through The Matrix. He explains, A transmedia story unfolds across multiple platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole. In the idea form of transmedia storytelling, each medium does what it does best so that a story might be introduced into a film, expanded through television, novels, and comics; its world might be explored through game play or experienced as an amusement park attraction. 22. The consequence of such transmedia storytelling is the creation of deeper context, and a more sustained form of emotional and intellectual engagement that translates into commercial success. What the Wachowski brothers recognised was that we experience the world as a blended reality, and that blended reality also embraces a more, participatory read write culture. 23. http://www.flickr.com/photos/14561328@N05/1512273445Would not such insight inspire brands and businesses to understand how to truly engagetheir customers, audiences, stakeholders? The Matrix is a film, a comic and an onlinegame; dare I say a great brand? And what do great brands do? They tell great stories, andthey deliver great customer experience and engagement. Companies on one level competeso aggressively, and must by law maximise shareholder value, but are also hamstrung,unable to truly innovate. Consequently they hurt themselves financially. The buzz word ofsocial media now becomes another silo of the marketing silo bucket and the cycl