General Idea development

Interactivity Code Elements

So my portfolio of artistically visual  engaging pieces is starting to take shape however I want to take it to the next step. I want to put the user in the piece and I have chosen to do this in 2 different ways.

  • Using the webcam

Analysing peoples pictures was hot topic of discussion throughout the research process with people being openly admitting to judging other peoples pictures and then having to almost remind themselves that other people would be doing the same about them. By using a webcam plugin I aim to pull the live image of whoever is engaging with the piece and making them believe that their face is in a live social media image environment. By mocking up a page whereby a live feed of comments of what people are actually usually thinking when they see their image upload online, this will demonstrate not only what people are really thinking when they see pictures or upload pictures themselves, but to make to the viewer feel uncomfortable and to poke fun at the fact that they would not truly enjoy a life online quite so much if they really did feel as exposed in real life and not just through images and status posts.

The design aspect of incorporating a live webcam image is relatively easy to mock up, with the webcam image box imbedded in a page and then the surrounding image can be designed as a Facebook photo page.

  • Using live Twitter stream

This project is all about the blurring lines between social media online and off… so since Twitter has often been criticised for people just “shouting” about stuff one really cares about, I want to turn this on its head. I want Tweets to be read aloud as if they were being spoken. This will be representative of how people wouldn’t really behave on Twitter how they would in real life and again poke fun at the fact that we engage with social media at all. Since research has suggested that “hashtagging” is the ‘done thing’ and that people do it either because other people do or to be funny, the functionality of this interactive section will occur from people searching a word and then a tweet with a hashtag of that word will be read aloud. The functionality of this will be quite complex, especially if I want it to be live. It will require registering as a Twitter app developer and getting an API key.

Having openly admitted that code is not my strong point I have located help from Dominic White, a Ba (Hons) Computing final year student at Bournemouth University. By working with somebody outside of the course and building cross course collaborations I feel I have improved my communication skills and furthered my computer knowledge more generally. Dom has acted similar to that of a tutor which I feel has benefited my personal development more so than  a straight swap collaboration would have done because I have seen the code parts grow and form from the very beginning. By working through the coding aspects of both these interactive elements, I now have better under Twitter API’s, Jquery, Javascript and  how plugins work.


Production Analysis: Idea Summary

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

Character Development

goodquoteBack to the original concept of my character Sophe “The Online Lurker” , somebody who views social networks but doesn’t post herself, really got me thinking. So far my time constraints and audience engagement has put me off following through with this idea, however I feel like it could still be possible. This quote got nearly 7500 likes on Instagram so is obviously something a lot of people relate too. I think from now I really need to develop the character of Sophe and tell her story as somebody who feels a bit overlooked in terms of the social circle of life.

Production Analysis: Methodologies

The dreaded Pitch Presentation…. 15 minutes of solid pressure to sell The Hashtag Life to my production tutors.

Here are the demonstrations videos that I used to portray the way in which THL is carried out and how the audience is required to have specific purposeful engagement.

I apologise the quality isn’t great and my voice over is massively whiney… The video is also a little slow in places.

What I learned from my presentation pitch was to include target audience responses in perhaps the form of a videoed interview recording peoples thoughts and ideas and how they think it will work in the real world. The target audience for THL is 20 something year olds and I know my tutors who I pitched too were definitely not 20 somethings (no offence meant).

Production Analysis: Idea Synopsis 1

“I didn’t do it!”

Interactive, immersive short video experience demonstrating our emotional attachment to our online profiles. By retrieving the viewers personal details via their Facebook log in, each experience will be unique to the user. The single fixed narrative video will include their Facebook profile taking on a life of its own and aim to achieve an emotional response. By using cleverly scripted video animation, the web application will convince the viewer that a status or post will be written on their behalf, an extreme amount of ‘likes’ will be awarded or taken away from one of their recent pictures, friends may be removed or added and just that general mayham is being cause on their profile in real time. The idea is to make the viewer feel uncomfortable because they cannot control or stop what is happening in front of them. The video is interactive in that it puts the viewer into the narrative itself, and makes them think about how what they are putting on their Facebook or other peoples Facebooks could be affecting themselves and others. The moral of the story is to be careful with what and how you portray your identity online and to be aware of the safety of your profile.


“The Hashtag Life” 

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. It would require an audience to follow every characters social media outlet in order to follow the next part of the story.