Archive for the 'theorycast' Category

theorycast.66 :: On 938Live’s Raw & Ready with Sarah Cheng

On 938Live's Raw & Ready with Sarah Cheng-De Winne
theorycast.66 :: On 938Live’s Raw & Ready with Sarah Cheng by brainopera

Thanks to digerati Preetam Rai, I was recently introduced to 938Live’s multi-talented radio presenter, Sarah Cheng-De Winne (aka @SarahCDW).

As part of her youth talkshow, Raw & Ready, she interviewed me as a blogger, social cyborg, cyberculturalist, and on my most recent role at The National Art Gallery, Singapore.

This interview was recorded in MediaCorp’s 938Live radio studio on 5th August 2011. You’re invited to take a listen!

FYI: This week on Raw & Ready, it’ll be Juicy & Delicious’ turn!

Download theorycast.66 :: On 938Live’s Raw & Ready with Sarah Cheng (.m4a / 7.8mb) from the Internet Archive, or listen to it on SoundCloud. Feel free to subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.

theorycast.65 :: Why organizations need their Chief Culture Officer

In this episode of theorycast, I interview anthropologist Grant McCracken (@grant27) on his recent book, Chief Culture Officer.

This interview took place at the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference at MIT, on November 21st, 2009. The video I captured from his book talk within the ROI of ROFL session panel is also included. From the video, you will see examples of cultural mistakes that major corporations have made, the penalties they face, and how they could have done better if someone within the company were responsible for providing cultural foresight.

Having studied American culture and business for 25 years, McCracken’s previous work included Transformations (2008), Flock and Flow (2006), Culture and Consumption II (2005), Big Hair (1996), and Culture and Consumption (1988).

In Chief Culture Officer (CCO), McCracken argues that culture now creates so much opportunity and danger for the corporation that we need senior managers who can devote time to focus on culture. In effect, these CCO become the early-warning system for companies to help navigate their relevant cultural landscape, as well as provide to more intimate cultural acuity into the way companies craft their brands.

In effect, McCracken is hoping to create a new occupational destination for people who can understand their organization’s cultural locatedness (e.g. social science grads), but are not presently channeled to draw upon their insight for the organization. It sounds to me that whoever fits the role of the CCO would also be similar to what Seth Gordin dubs as the Linchpin (2010), that is, someone indispensable to the organization.

The idea of of the Chief Cultural Officer is to…
Make commerce that inhales and exhales culture,
Make culture that inhales and exhales commerce,
Make a living, breathing corporation.

Download theorycast.65 :: Why Organizations need their Chief Culture Officer (.mp4 / 122mb), or watch this on Blip.tv. Feel free to subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.

theorycast.64 :: Visiting Brandtology – an online brand intelligence startup from Singapore

During my Singapore vacation in October ’09, I caught up with Kelly Choo, co-founder of Brandtology.com, to learn more about their online brand intelligence service.

While there are numerous online sentiment monitoring companies in the States, such as Radian6 and Omniture, this space is relatively new and growing in South-East Asia.

As mentioned before, my friend Ben Koe works at JamiQ, which differentiates from Brandtology’s intelligence suite with a straightforward, hands-on approach to social media monitoring. There’s also ThoughtBuzz, which I recently read about.

To better understand the strengths of each startup, check out SG Entrepreneurs’ interviews with Brandtology’s Kelly Choo, JamiQ’s Ben Koe, and the ThoughtBuzz team.

Businesses have traditionally (and still do) debated about the lack of proper social media metrics. As many in the online space would explain, there’s in fact a deluge of metrics which leads to a dilemma of choice. While concepts of viewership and circulation were somewhat sufficient for traditional media, social media affords a broader range of metrics. The real first step is really determining what we want to measure.

MarketingSherpa.com: Leveraging Social Media

For instance, as seen in MarketingSherpa’s 2009 Social Media Marketing & PR Benchmark Guide (PDF), it’s been found that social media is very effective at building brand awareness and reputation, while it’s yet to prove itself at driving online sales. There’s no silver bullet; every media has varying levels of richness, with leaner media tending to be more distributive. Our choice of media involves a host of factors, which is why media intelligence (social or not) gets more valuable than ever.

Did You Know: The music in the end credits comes from Starfish Stories’ latest album, Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula. It’s track 5, “Stroke of Midnight v2.3″, which I bought for a dollar.

Download theorycast.64 :: Visiting Brandtology (.mp4 / 35mb), or watch this on Youtube and Blip.tv. Feel free to subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.

theorycast.63 :: What is Transmedia?

Download theorycast.63 :: What is Transmedia? (.mp4 / 52mb), or watch this on Youtube, Facebook and Blip.tv. Subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.

At the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference in MIT, I asked academics Xiaochang Li, Sheila Seles and William Uricchio of the Convergence Culture Consortium on their definitions of transmedia.

As defined by Henry Jenkins in his book Convergence Culture (2006 // see book and video), transmedia storytelling is published across multiple forms of media with each element making distinctive contributions to a viewer/user/player’s understanding of the story world. By using different media formats, it attempts to create “entrypoints” through which consumers can become immersed in a story world. Jenkins also compares highlights sticky media vs. spreadable media, where we once stuck viewers into specific media, now we’re now encouraging the content to be perpetuated across media and users.

MIT Press Bookstore FOE4 selection
MIT Press Bookstore selection @ #FOE4

Why is transmedia a big deal now?
I expect that the first point is technology, where we see the proliferation of networked media forms, such as video games, the Internet, and mobile platforms. The second point is cultural, such as the Web 2.0 movement, where the participatory design, distributive ease and integrative form of digital media lends itself well to stories flowing across media platforms.

Inspired from Lucian’s analogy of greek mythology, one of the obvious questions on transmedia lies in its distinctiveness. If stories have been reiterated across media (even tablets and statues) since the early B.C., isn’t that already a form of transmedia? If so, how is it different from cross-media or intertextual forms of productions?

From our video interview, Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program, Prof. Urrichio, describes transmedia as a new “lens” for us to make sense of experiences, both present and past (thus history is ever exciting). The concept clearly existed long ago, but only now are we gathering more precise vocabulary and practice for it. Perhaps it’s like seeing new colors for the first time.

An instance of transmedia in the everyday is Wikipedia, where users are co-creating and co-sustaining the continuity of the online encyclopedia, as well as reproducing the content in print and through development of mobile applications. Prof. Urrichio argues that the magic of transmedia practices, like Wikipedia, lies in its algorithm. In any transmedia practice, it is the algorithm (I offered rule-making) which defines the social outcomes of the story. If a transmedia story were an organism, it seems to me that the algorithm is much like its DNA. Open user participation on a transmedia story means that we can’t really predict how users (or fans) would re-shape the storyline, but with its algorithm in place, we can expect how it would eventually look like.

Futures of Entertainment 4
FOE4 session 3: Transmedia for Social Change (video). The Harry Potter Alliance is ingenius!

Transmedia inevitably offer a canvas for free-play, which leads us into the idea of games, specifically alternative reality games (or ARGs). To explain, Cayden Mak shared with me a neat paper by Henrik Örnebring entitled Alternate reality gaming and convergence culture: The case of Alias (2007). In it, Örnebring describes Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as a form of internet-based mystery game in which participants are immersed in a fictional world and engage in collective problem-solving.

What makes this paper particularly interesting, is that it takes into account the potential exploitative aspect of transmedia (and ARG) practices. While part of fan culture, the paper problematizes the fact that many ARGs are actually marketing tools.

An ARG I’ve personally observed was called ILoveBees.com, in which a seemingly innocuous web site gets hijacked by an A.I., offering clues throughout the site. As documented by ARG researcher, Christy Dena, “I Love Bees (42 Entertainment, 2004) was a radio drama delivered through fragmented sound files that were released one-by-one to the players as they answered over 1,400 payphone, in over 50 states, in eight countries. Once a call was answered and a challenge was successfully completed, an ‘axon’ (sound file) was unlocked for the players online.” Thing is, I Love Bees was essentially a marketing campaign for the Halo 2 game.

While not explicitly a game, we do see online services such as Facebook come under fire when their terms of agreement seizes the copyright of media shared by its users. On the other hand, Wikipedia threads the line carefully as it remains non-profit and posts no ads. This awareness of potential online exploitation brought about the recent conference called The Internet as Playground and Factory (Nov 12-14, 2009).

I vote @mikemonello for Best Laptop Lid Theme evar  #foe4
@mikemonello, best known for producing The Blair Witch Project, has awesome laptop stickers from Vinylville

FOE4 Conference Aftermath
If you’re wondering how the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference went, let’s just say there’s way too much for me to write about. Thankfully @rachelclarke liveblogged all the sessions, so just scoot over to her blog and search under “FOE”. Here’s my favorite session which she documented, FOE: Producing Transmedia Experiences: Participation & Play. Also, videos from the FOE4 sessions are out on MIT TechTV. I video captured some of the sessions and tweeted them from my iPhone OWLE rig, but they’re not as professional.

Update 1: This theorycast video is now featured on ConvergenceCulture.org (thanks Sheila!) and the MIT Comparative Media Studies web site (thanks Andrew!).

Update 2: I have to point you to the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference videos. If you have time, they are a treasure throve of real-life case studies and experiences. A must-watch is the keynote session by Henry Jenkins entitled “Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Five Key Principles of Transmedia Entertainment”. Session 3 “Transmedia for Social Change” is relevant to folks like me. Very inspirational session, esp the Harry Potter Alliance project (mindblowing!). Session 4 “The ROI of ROFL” is where Grant McCracken, author of Chief Culture Officer, lead the panel on the disconnect between “corporation and culture”. I’ve yet to blog about my interview with him. Watch them all 8 sessions here, or download all 8 videos to iTunes, then sync to your iPod to watch.

theorycast 61 & 62 :: Imagining Classroom 2.0 – John Larkin & Kevin Lim @ NTU

John Larkin & me @ NTU talk
Me, my papa and John Larkin at NTU. See photo slideshow.

Alex Halavais, John Hendron, and AcademicDave are just some of the education folks who have been exploring the future of learning, and how schools as institutions are going to have to adapt to stay relevant in an increasingly participatory media age.

On 14th Oct 2009, as part of the edUtorium series at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Aussie educator John Larkin and I delivered a comprehensive look at the ways social web tools have been implemented within our classes in order to enhance learning interaction among students. I did a pre-talk synopsis here and so did John.


theorycast.61 :: Imagining Classroom 2.0 @ NTU (Part 1 by John Larkin)


theorycast.62 :: Imagining Classroom 2.0 @ NTU (Part 2 by Kevin Lim)
BTW, here are my slides…

Presentation Overview:
The democratic nature of the social web means that the ability to learn and produce meaningful work can now happen at any level – from the independent student, to the individual teacher, to the entire education institution. Now, more than ever, instructors are able to motivate active learning among students, by empowering them with relevant online tools that allow for more creative approaches to go beyond the traditional class-based education.

In this two hour session, we showed instructors how they could…

  • cultivate learning beyond the classroom
  • encourage participation in the class conversation
  • inspire student pride through greater sense of ownership of their work
  • include new literacies in research, organization, and synthesis of ideas
  • support multiple learning styles
  • create exemplars by raising the bar of student achievement
  • archive learning by creating a record for both you and the students

John Larkin & me @ NTU
Kevin, Hazman, Carolyn @ NTU talk
Hazman and Carolyn Lim came by too!

Big thanks to cameraman Christopher Tan of Singapore Polytechnic for coming down, capturing the event, and providing us with video footage. Very thoughtful fella!

theorycast 59 & 60 :: Michelle Thorne’s walkabout with Creative Commons Singapore

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 01
Big Trouble in Little Chinatown…

As a fan and community manager for Creative Commons Singapore, Ivan Chew took a day off to bring CC Project Manager (International) Michelle Thorne (@thornet & blog) on a tour of Singapore’s Chinatown. I tagged along to learn about recent developments and challenges for Creative Commons in the international space.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 03

On an overcast Monday morning (12th Oct), we started the day with a relaxing Chinese tea drinking session at D’Art Tea Station on 63 Temple Street, Singapore 058608 (Tel: 62258308). Not only did store assistant Ms Cheong educate us on the intricacies of Chinese tea drinking, but we managed to use it as a springboard for critical discussion into how tea drinking seems to run counterculture to contemporary consumerism (i.e. slowing down, minimalism, tradition vs. efficiency). Watch the hour long video below to see what I mean…


theorycast.59 :: Tea-drinking with Creative Commons Singapore

Next, we met up with Chung Nian, who serves as the Legal Project Lead for CC Singapore. We discussed the intricacies of CC adoption in Singapore, and shared ideas on how we could make CC more relevant to Singaporeans.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 10

An exciting idea was to offer localized starter kits which catered to different genres of creators. For instance, I could volunteer to produce an Educator’s CC starter kit, which might include online videos, project ideas and Powerpoints which instructors could readily use in their classes to teach students about Creative Commons.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 14

After all the talk (and tea), it wasn’t long before we were starving. We paid a visit to People’s Park food center for lunch, then rounded it off with Bubble Tea at Koi Cafe, which lets us stipulate how much sugar we wanted in our drink. Michelle apparently loves Bubble Tea, which is pretty unusual for a caucasian from my experience.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 17

Our last stop was the new Popular bookstore franchise called [prologue] at Orchard Ion. Over coffee, we took turns to interview one another. I like the idea of passing the video camera around… it’s reciprocal and balances control of the discussion among participants.


theorycast.60 :: Roundtable with Creative Commons Singapore

In this roundtable discussion, we each shared how we first encountered Creative Commons, how we’re involved with CC, and what CC meant to each of us.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 06

The day ended with the appearance of Michelle’s boyfriend, Peter Bihr (@thewavingcat & blog), who was himself a web strategist based in Berlin. I wish we all had more time to learn more about one another, but it was bittersweet while it lasted. I hope to encounter both Michelle and Peter sometime in the near future. Thanks Ivan Chew for making this one of the most spectacular Mondays for me ever ;)

Fun Fact: Thorne claims to be the inventor of Nutellachino, a dessert combining Nutella and cappuccino powder.

Remaindered Photos: See slideshow of extra photos from our Chinatown tour.

theorycast.57 :: Social Media – Strategy Instead Of Tools @ PRSA Buffalo (Part 2)

As promised, here’s a video of the talk I gave yesterday at PRSA Buffalo/Niagara to kick off their Sunrise Seminar series.

Since it’s hard to see the slides in the video, view or download them from Slideshare.net while watching me take fifty communication professionals on a thinking journey through the strategic uses of social media.

You can read the full background story and grab links to references from the talk in Part 1 of this blog series. Also see what others had to say via #PRSAtalk on twitter.

Meanwhile, here are some of the fine folks I got to meet yesterday…

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
PRSA’s Jennifer on the left, while the girl closest to me is Jess Manocchio. Jess has been awesome for connecting me with the local PRSA chapter.

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Finally got to meet the amazing Rebecca Bernstein (@virtualr), mastermind behind the award-winning UB Web Team. I also got to meet Joe Brennan, Associate Vice President for University Communications at University at Buffalo. They plan to get UB more involved in the social media realm.

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
@LarryRoth is president at BrandLogic Interactive, located in Rochester. He’s a swell guy on twitter too. :)

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Barbara Keough is Vice President of Operations at advertising agency Flynn & Friends, Inc. flynnandfriends.com. She’s invited me to join in one of their agency’s LOTs meetings (Learn On Thursdays).

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Kevin Manne (@k3v2) works for Catholic Charities as a Communications and Public Relations Specialist. He’s worked on all kinds of media, from print, to billboards, to television, and now he’s venturing into the realm of social media.

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Tessa Walker and Amy White chatted with me in length about how they were involved with the Obama campaign on the social web. They do great work at the Planned Parenthood of Western New York, which they explained had helped out on the campaign. I hope to learn more about their first-hand experience in what I’d believe is the most elaborate social media empowered national campaigns ever.

As I’ve mentioned over twitter (which got decent retweets): “Being rewarded for doing what you love is the best feeling in the world”. I love giving these talks because it’s a visceral, self-actualizing process. My lingering thoughts aren’t just shared, but fashioned by those willing to listen and talk to me about what they see as well. We’re essentially making sense of our crazy world together. :)

theorycast.56 :: Is “MINE” the future of magazines?

Thanks to @JessManocchio and @joonian, I’ve got my first issue of MINE. It’s an experimental, personalized magazine from Time Warner Inc. Is it a worthy mashup or a frankenstein of a magazine? See what I’ve to say.

MINE: My Magazine. My Way.

What is Mine magazine?

  • A free five-issue, 10-week, experimental magazine
  • User-mashup of five Time Warner/American Express Co. magazines
  • Personalized magazines end up with 56 possible combinations
  • MINE has been compared to a printed, expanded RSS feed
  • 36-page print edition for first 31,000 respondents
  • Online version goes to remaining 200,000 respondents
  • MINE magazine has mobile reader version, including a Blackberry app
  • Features four single-page ads for the Lexus 2010 RX
  • Lexus ads personalized based on subscriber’s geography and taste (see video)
  • Probably environmentally friendlier than traditional distribution
  • Magazine personalization isn’t new: Xerox helped subscribers put their own photo on the cover of WIRED (March-July, 2007)

mine - the future of magazines?

References
USA Today: Made-to-order magazine lets readers choose by Ryan Nakashima (March 18, 2009)
Fast Company: Time Inc.’s Mine Magazine is a Printed RSS Feed by Ariel Schwartz (March 18, 2009)
Will Time’s Customized “Mine” Magazine Be a Print Success Story? by Leah Southers #PublicRelations (March 26, 2009)

theorycast.55 :: Touring the Retro-Media exhibit @ UB

Talk about Geek Nostalgia! Walk with us in this 20 minute historic journey into memory devices lost and found.

Science librarian Ben Wagner gives us a tour of their new Retro-Media exhibit which features all kinds of recordable media over the past century.

Everything from computer punch cards, to floppy disks, to magnetic tape for data storage, to vinyl, 8-track, CDs for music recordings, to 8mm film, U-matic, laserdiscs for video media, and so much more.

The UB Libraries have put together a wonderfully comprehensive history of recordable media on the Retro-Media web site.

theorycast.54 :: Ardica Moshi Power System

Buffalo’s freezing winter certainly hasn’t brought me down, thanks to the Ardica Moshi Power System. I’ll show you how the Ardica vest works, and chat with project manager / engineer Martin Corpos about their goal of ultimately designing a wearable fuel-cell power system.

Ardica Technologies, traditionally known for developing wearable fuel cells for consumer and military applications, has produced an electronic heated vest with a USB charging port for powering our devices. As a wearable power system, you can see why I’m particularly excited by its potential for always-on netizens like myself.

Ardica Moshi Power System

Fabric Heating
Codenamed the Moshi Power System, a signature feature involves the design of the lithium-ion battery for wearability and energy efficiency. With its slim, flexible lycra/form coated battery pack, any Ardica-enabled jacket would be able to run heat up to 105 degrees. The heating elements are flat and flexible, measuring about 4 x 4 inches and connected to the power source with wires embedded in fabric.

Gadget Charging
At the same time, USB power plugs inside the pockets interfaces with most all popular consumer electronics products, letting us charge personal devices, such as iPhones, while we’re on the move. Depending on power setting, the 25 watt battery system technically lasts three hours on high heat setting and up to eight hours on a lower setting. To overcome the obstacle of power and run time degradation during cold weather use found with traditional alkaline batteries, Ardica has developed a system that utilizes special rechargeable lithium-ion batteries configured to be immune to external temperature conditions down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fuel-Cell Future
To offer greater power density, Ardica is working on patented fuel cell systems and hybrid fuel cell/battery systems. Future-proofing the upcoming line of Ardica-enabled apparel, Ardica’s battery and fuel cell power systems will be interchangeable when Ardica introduces its fuel cell system in 2010. In fact, all Ardica products are going to be flexible enough to allow changes to fit, power, output, voltage and run time to fit the needs of a wide range of customer applications.

How to find Ardica-enabled apparel
Mountain Hardwear is said to be unveiling four “Ardica Enabled” jackets for fall of 2009. The cost of an Ardica-enabled jacket will drive price tags up $35 to $50 from a similar shell. The Ardica power system, which must be purchased separately and then plugged into an Ardica-enabled piece of apparel, will go at $145.

If you’re as into this wearable power solution as I am, stay tuned to http://www.ardica.com. A great overview of the Ardica Moshi Power System can also be found at Outside Blog.