Take 1. Transmedia Narrative carried out via Social Media Networks
The initial Pitch Idea was to carry out a fictional story distributed via online characters telling their section of the story on their personal profile page, either on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or WordPress blog. Initial interest was very high with the Facebook “like” page for The Hashtag Life receiving 104 “likes” across the first three days. This idea was tapping into people’s browse-ability… having carried out audience research regarding their interest in following celebrities online and scrolling various news feeds to pass the time of day, I thought it would be relatively simple to give them something worth browsing for, and give them a story to follow. However, content creation and a narrative strong enough to maintain interest and engagement was just not possible as along with brows-ability came boredom and the need for something new and exciting. One thing I have learnt is that “fads” on social media come in have their moment and then go again just as quick. This led to the second idea, which focused more on making people on social media “be the story” themselves.
Take 2. Interactive Visual Linear Narrative
An interactive visual narrative, which engaged with the user more directly, still had the same themes as the previous idea as it still wanted to connect with an audience who could put themselves within the story. The three areas of interest to depict were; what would conversations on social media sound like if they were actually spoken in real life and would people ever say what they feel brave/bold enough to write on social media, how pictures are used to give a false impression of real life, making life in the online world look much more glamorous and the sociologically/psychological effects and processes each and every member of a social network goes through when viewing or uploaded pictures of themselves and other people. Each of these three concepts came under the overall umbrella of the blurring line between online and offline life and how people could engage with a narrative that addressed them. The main issue faced with this is the display method. Although the concept ideas are all to do with the same thing they are very difficult to express in a linear narrative that’s strong enough to tie them altogether and make them flow in an appropriate way that wouln’t make them seem cheap or stereotypical. By trying to display them in a chronological order via a linear click through, the point was just lost and instead the user was left feeling confused and unsure and it was easily forgettable. The stand-alone products themselves were much stronger and the finer details more obvious when displayed more subtly, something, which happened organically when, viewed separately. So this meant for a display rethink, which led to idea 3.
Take 3. Interactive Concept Visualisation
Idea 3 still focuses on the themes, ideas and content included in idea 2, however the structuring of the narrative has been changed. Instead of forcing a direct pathway through the information and forcing the user to understand and relate to what I am trying to make them connect with, I am allowing for the ideas to emerge more naturally. This in turn represents the whole overall process of the idea itself and how it came to emerge making me quite annoyed at myself for not realising this sooner! By pushing the ideas upon people in idea 2, they lost credibility; it was poorly designed therefore making it look tacky and overall looked very pointless and amateur. This method of display and adopting a more artistic approach is much butter understood by the user and much clearer. This way the project will stand as a conceptual artefact within its own right and encourage the viewer/user to really reflect on their own personal use of social media and their own engagement with it and how they allow for themselves to be viewed as well as how they view others, questioning all aspects of the project concepts. The decision to use a 3D gallery viewer with interlaced video, sound and image, as well as 2 user installations, which required direct users, input, the overall design was stronger and more engaging. The 3D gallery was instantly more engaging because it is something fresh and different from average web pages and reflected my own more personal “artistic scrap book type” style.