Pleased to meet you

Hello, my name is Laura, and I’ve been a media addict as long as I can remember. One of my fondest childhood memories is getting a letter from Mr. Rodgers after writing him to express my upset when an episode of Mr. Rodger’s neighborhood did not have a land of make-believe segment. I was a preschooler. I was engaged. I was making sure my demands were met, and I got more intense from there.

My undergraduate degree is in Radio and Television. My graduate degree is a Masters of Communications in Digital Media. Let’s just say it has been a life long passion. One that I have built a career upon. But let’s set the career aside for a moment. This blog is in no way associated with my employer. My thoughts expressed here are my own, not endorsed by my company.

After graduating with a degree in Radio and Television, I was one of the lucky few who found a way into a career that allowed me to use that degree. However, after several years, I found myself in a bit of a rut. I was working with the broadcast market, but I was now facing an industry full of changes and new outlets for content that weren’t viable, or even available to discuss during my college education. In my non-work hours, I was becoming increasingly obsessed with the various online outlets for storytelling and intrapersonal connections, and I felt strongly that these outlets were poised to change the world of entertainment and communications as we knew it. So I found my way back to school. My master’s program, which I jokingly call my Masters in Social Media, helped me contextualize the changes, helped me validate the shifts I was seeing and gave me the metaphorical kick in the ass I needed to find my voice in this new landscape.

I’m pretty sure there are some who wish I could find a way to quiet that voice, but I can’t help it, I’m full of ideas and opinions. This blog is an outlet for me to share those and start the discussion about what is big, what is next and what we should all be doing about it. I’m not claiming to know it all, or be a one-stop expert and I’d love to hear from you. Let’s get started, shall we? Welcome!

10 Ways to Let Women Know They Don’t Count at Work

1. “Forgetting” to add them to meeting invite lists when they are responsible for something in that meeting
2. “Forgetting” to add them to email threads that directly involve them or their teams.
3. Interrupting them constantly
4. Feeling the need to go above and beyond in the “I’m just playing devil’s advocate” department in every single conversation
5. Failing to invite them to participate in social interactions with co-workers (“Oh, I didn’t think you’d be interested”)
6. Assuming they should be the person on the hook for all diversity and inclusion recruiting and knowledge.
7. Arguing about the state of women in technology with THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM.
8. Insist on letting them know each and every time they are not included on a “need to know” matter, and making sure they know you are.
9. Complain that you feel left out of events for and by women at work, especially complaining about events where it is clearly stated that ALL are welcome, but you just don’t feel comfortable attending. (Or attending these events then arguing with the women in attendance about the state of women in technology despite all evidence contrary to your point of view)
10. Not being an ally in countering all of the many people who are doing 1-9. (without advocates and allies, we will always be fighting these same battles)

(Apparently 10 were not enough.  Here are a few more that have come to mind after the initial post:

11. Identify “leadership” potential as what most sensible people would equate with bullying or narcissism.

12. Immediately forgive and forget any bad behavior from male counter parts, but cling relentlessly to one outburst of emotion that happened many years ago as a way to point out she is “too emotional” at work.

13. Forget that the great idea or the new connection you are counting as your own was actually hers. Double down by offering to explain the idea to her, explain the strategic significance of the idea or contact, or offer to make an introduction (to the person she introduced you to).

And now for something completely different

Being a storyteller at heart, I was deeply inspired by Brent Friedman’s presentation on transmedia storytelling.  As I listened to him explain the complexity of the work he creates, the vast number of moving parts and the dependencies and interconnections between these pieces in order to create a cohesive whole, I kept thinking there must be great tools available to help assist this process.  But there aren’t.  In speaking with Brent both in class and via email, I discovered a gaping hole in the tools provided for this more woven approach to production.  Based on Brent’s experience and the video interview with Bernie Su about his Emmy winning production of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” I started to brainstorm approaches to assist in these engaged stories.

Since this class I have been digging into the problems, opportunities and possible solutions in creating a new workflow for transmedia storytellers.  Given the inevitability of the “death” of traditional linear television programming, I think there is a huge opportunity to shape and democratize the development and archive of more flexible, engaging and adaptive storytelling model.  In my “terms of engagement” I focused on my desire to help spread better storytelling tools for the next generation of storytellers.  I assumed I would slowly collect perspectives and theories over the course of many classes, quarters, possibly years.  Instead I find myself working feverishly on this project with a renewed level of inspiration and purpose at work.  I’m striving to start transforming the future of storytelling immediately, no longer satisfied to be sitting in an observer’s seat.  If this is what one class can do, I’m a little worried how I’ll harness the innovation generated by the rest of the program.  But honestly, it’s a good kind of worried.

Beyond one screen, one interaction

Viewers no longer focus on a single program without distractions.  Our ability to view content when and where we want seems to be shaping  a culture of continuous media consumption.  Technology allows us to have multiple simultaneous media access points all working at the same time, and smart story tellers are finding ways to weave these interactions together to build richer stories.

With the growth of the variety of outlets for storytelling, we no longer have to create content that begins and end in video.  We can take advantage of the complex networks of social media allowing characters to live beyond the story playing out on your tv or web video.  This invites viewers deeper into the world created on the screen, driving engagement in a way not previously possible, allowing the audience to move beyond viewership into full participation.

And yet, while the appreciation of increased audience engagement  through these rich stories is accellerating, the tools to facilitate the planning and archive of these experiences are still not well developed.  In order to fully benefit from a transmedia story currently, you must be involved as it unfolds. We are still unable to archive Twitter exchanges in sync with Facebook updates ,Pintrest boards, Tumblr pages  set to unfold as your video is being presented in segments over time.

Additionally the plotting of this new fabric of additional writing and production spanning all of the outlets any storyteller has chosen to involve is still largely done via spreadsheets or in proprietary systems out of the reach of  smaller-scale productions.  Better tools to facilitate this type of woven story telling will help push this direction broader at an accelerated rate by inviting more communicators into the fold instead of asking each new player to blaze their own trails.  The ability to successfully archive these stories with some respect of the full viewer interaction experience in place will also increase the return on production costs by allowing an afterlife better encapsulating the full experience of round the clock story development.