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Gaming the event

The ‘life beyond the broadcast’ for BBC Weekenders seems quite healthy.
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Moylesy taken from kc_mcfen’s on flickr.  See the pool which with 222 members and over 2300 pics as of today is up there with the Japanology pool!  Woohoo.  See also the weekender tags and a rather wonderful set of from ruu as well as Radio 1’s own polished yet somehow dull set [perhaps because it feels more ‘produced’ amidst the more edgy images from the audience].

The distributed media malarky allows us to experience and engage with the event in so many different ways as they ‘folded’ back into the event and then existed as a life beyond it.   Of course that brings some teething problems, not least is distributing resources to the edges where the communities have distributed to! Following conversations to manage any potential problems is one of the key issues with an ‘open’ and inclusive media strategy like the one the BBC employed here.    This open approach was exposed somewhat by the use of flickr discussion groups to get answers when the postie scam hit .  It would seem that flickr is the pre-eminent platform for  extending mainstream social experiences online.  Perhaps Flickr’s move from ‘beta’ to ‘gamma’  [lol] is recognition of this fact, that and their re-design.

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It’s not just flickr of course.  The big news from the Weekend was simulcasting the event in Second Life.  Despite the PR, actually perhaps because of the PR from the Second Life experiment I’m left a little disappointed by the fact that it seemed so, well, er, dull.  Am I allowed to say that?  The seeming adulation afforded MMOGs is almost cult like and as an outsider looking in it can’t match the hype.  Innovative, sure in the sense that it utilises a different platform to showcase the event.  But where’s the playout from the ‘event’ in game? The ‘ripples’ don’t seem to have a different ‘life’.  And where’s the social innovation in game?  Perhaps I’ve missed something.  Oh. No. There it is, there’s the Daleks! :-)

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BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend VirtualFestival uploaded by Louise from the makers of the BBC Second Life event RiversRunRed.   

Perhaps I’m expecting too much but it would have been great if there had been some offline playout of the game at the event [there was a screen apparently].  This could have simply been in the form of  a conversation to develop between those at the offline event and those in game, so that the ‘tension’ between the experiences were exposed introducing a reason for dialogue.  It wouldn’t be easy but a rather crude model like the subservient chicken shows how calls to action from both communities could be initiated.  The big screen relaying the Second Life event exposes messages to the people watching at the offline event "dance like a dalek" etc etc.  There’s a level of sophistication in the creation of the experience that I clearly haven’t had time to work through :-) but you get my gist.  Shortcodes to txt back into the game and send images of "dancing like a dalek" could all work.  It’s just one very simplified thought.  More interesting ideas start to come through in gaming an event itself… cues set in game that people have to solve in the physical environment of the event to determine which acts perform, when, what etc… or making a mainstream viscereal experience akin to that shown by Blast Theory  in Uncle Roy All Around You early last year.  Experience design on that level gets really really exciting. 

3 Comments
  1. Virtual/Real Crossover Event: Dont Believe the Hype?

    UKbased marketing planner James Boardwell used to work for the BBC researching media consumption as well as planning future products and services. Because of his occupation and previous experience, I find his comments about the recent BBC Radio 1 …

  2. Dude, two comments:

    1. Simplicity.
    Getting this stuff up and running means baby steps..

    2. Year-long lease.
    One event is just the beginning.

    I’d say Uncle Roy is a totally different kettle of fish. There’s “experiential media”, like Uncle Roy, and there’s alternative broadcasting, like Second Life Virtual Festivals.

    Different aims, different games. SL is neither a MMO nor a game, after all…

  3. Dude! Small steps – sure. I think there needed to be a counterpoint to all the hype around the SL broadcast by simply saying “how could it be improved upon”.

    Re: experiential media. It is different from alternative broadcasting but that’s not to say that we couldn’t learn from it to produce experiences that add to the ‘alternative broadcast’ and fold it back into the event / broadcast itself somehow…. Uncle Roy isn’t the solution, it’s merely a cue. I thought i’d kinda said that, perhaps not.

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