I had two experiences recently that have solidified my conviction that doing it "the old way" is a really good way to lose cool points. As someone who thrives on cool points (the father of two teenage boys and a college professor), these revelations benchmark an appropriate place in my learning.
The first experience that I learned from was the 2008 Beijing Olympics,
brought to us in the United States by NBC. I believe I watched more of the
Olympics (so far, anyway) this time than any other, though I haven't yet
figured out why. I realized that something just wasn't right, but I kept
coming back for more.
I suspect it had something to do with just coming off a fairly intense
productivity push, to be followed after about three weeks (perfect timing)
by another. It might have been the "most spectacular opening ceremonies in
history" though I did not see them. It's possible that it was the
record-setting gold medal quest by Michael Phelps (I was a swimmer as a
young boy about the time that Mark Spitz was setting the previous record). I
doubt that it's because the gymnastics judges have a clue what they are
doing (I won't even get into what I think they were motivated by when they
ripped not one, but two Americans off in favor of Chinese gymnasts).
When I saw
danah boyd's post on Olympics 2.0, I
knew I had identified the problem.
As danah noted, for those who don't want to be stuck on the arbitrary
schedule of NBC producers, it would be nice if somewhere we could get
real-time feeds (I would settle for
just-recorded video) of the events. I think we have figured out that there
are some that would still be excited about watching the recorded event for
the first time, but for those who are addicted to
now, it would have been a great
idea to demonstrate the technology capabilities of the 21st Century. And
yes, I would accept this option for
a fee. Thanks, NBC, for giving us an example of the "old way." Aren't you
partnered with Microsoft on many fronts?
That explains a lot!
The second experience was much more cutting edge. My son rented (the
old-school way, from a bricks-n-mortar Blockbuster store) a copy of the
movie Never Back Down. I
wasn't too excited about the movie when we started watching it, as I am not
a huge advocate of people beating each other up for the sake of seeing who
can incur the most mind-numbing, near-fatal injuries, but I agreed to watch
the movie. The story line was actually pretty enticing, the language and
shown violence were somewhat limited, the subtle message was decent and the
acting wasn't the sub-B-rated junk I expected.
But the grasp of powerful marketing
strategy was phenomenal!
During each fight, and many other places throughout the movie, you see
people with mobile phones shooting pictures and videos. Periodically, you
can see an actual video camera in use, but it's relatively small and
operated by a teenager so you know it's probably digital. Now, that sparked
my interest, but the next logical thought was "what are they doing with
those?" There were a few shots where one person stood next to the other and
played the video on the device that captured it, but I wanted more!
The movie ended, and we moved naturally into the clips at the end that were
cut, re-shot, etc., and I saw it. A
montage of YouTube videos and responses that showed exactly what goes on
in the world (not the stuff that Directors and Mega-companies think goes
on). There was a conversation, in real time, using multi-media, to talk to
others about life experiences. Videos on Youtube (and probably others) were
portrayed in the air, in no particular order, with text comments in follow
up . . . and people were having conversations!
Imagine what NBC could have done with that! What if, in real time, we could
watch AND discuss the adventures of
Dalhausser and Rogers,
Walsh and May-Treanor, and of course the
U.S. men's basketball team. How
much traction could they have gotten if they handed off back and forth
between their website and "live" or at least big screen coverage? What if
instead of watching a mind-numbing video of the marathon or what seemed like
hours on the rowing the announcer slipped over to the comments (screened and
filtered, of course) on their blog?
And what if they mentioned the conversations on Twitter(see
@OlympicsBlog, or the
list of olympic medals there
What do you think?
The brilliance of "getting it" with YouTube, Twitter and more