Archive for August, 2010

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

When I became a working mother for the first time I radically altered my views on work/life balance. Up until that time I tended to work hard, but then cut off from work after I left the office. As soon as I had children I realised that as a mum you never switch off. And to be fair to the office, if I was a mum 24/7 then I had better be a MediaCom strategist pretty much all the time too.

I found this liberating. I also found that it helped me with coming up with good and fresh ideas. If you don’t worry about whether they’re going to come to you in the office or going round Waitrose then I think you get more of them more of the time.

And then Facebook came along. Facebook made me understand that my work and my life are not perhaps as fully integrated as I thought.

My very first friend on Facebook was Barrie Cree who I worked for in the nineties, but hadn’t been in touch with much since. His picture at the time showed him semi-naked posing on holiday. During all the time I had worked for him I didn’t once see Barrie with his shirt off. (Now Barrie’s picture is much cooler!) But, anyway, the etiquette of Facebook is that your friends, family and colleagues mix it up. Facebook doesn’t subscribe to the boundaries of a LinkedIn where professional connections are easy to embrace in isolation. On Facebook cousins, the mums from the school, ex-university buddies and professionals from the world of media collide.

And this is apparently what Mark Zuckerberg always intended. Quoted in Wired magazine the founder and CEO of Facebook says “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly…. “He adds (perhaps a little judgementally don’t you think?) “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

It’s an interesting issue. Some people want to know all about their colleagues. Others think that coming across professional colleagues’ holiday snaps and domestic tiffs is just “too much information”.

Perhaps my instinct to keep some things in my private life private is an old fashioned one. Maybe if everyone is open about everything then we will all be more accepting of each other’s funny little ways. What do you think… should I publish swimsuit shots from my holiday on the next blog ? Or only if airbrushed?

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Reality versus fiction – where are the boundaries now?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

PD James, the crime writer, is 90 years old this month. Interviewed on the BBC she commented that society had changed so much in her lifetime that she sometimes thought that reality today was something she’d invented in her fiction. (www.news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8879000/8879894.stm)

I know what she means. Technology moves so quickly now that nearly all of us have experienced the reality of gadgets first glimpsed in sci-fi movies now sitting on our desktop or in our pockets or handbags. My Android phone certainly has a very cool way of searching for things I (vocally) tell it to – although it is a bit like speaking to a somewhat dim and hard of hearing helper who barely speaks English a bit like Basil Fawlty trying to explain something to Manuel.

We are going to have to get used to this blurring of boundaries between imagination and reality. This month’s edition of Wired magazine ( http://www.wired.co.uk/wired-magazine) celebrates what it dubs “The age of transmedia” where story tellers escape the limits of their primary medium in order to take the stories to a place where you can experience them “live”. Transmedia ignores the division between TV and online and cinemas and live events in order not just to promote the core product but to deliver a better story telling experience for the consumer.

Wired cites the recent Doctor Who role playing games launched earlier this summer. Viewers can interact with the new Doctor in two hour games online. And soon the TARDIS comes live to a venue near you with Doctor Who Live in October.

Multi platform fiction is nothing new – it’s really a long tradition. When Universal made a movie of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1931 you could have called it a transmedia production.

But Wired suggests that there is a coming revolution in creativity that means that consumers will expect to participate in the story outside of the traditional boundaries, and that great creators of fiction will work across platforms. And where movies go, there will follow the world of advertising. Media planning across platforms will be vital to convey the transmedia creative idea fully, not just a way of reaching the consumer.

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