Archive for the ‘web2.0’ Category

Channel 4 and Digital Participation

One of my current projects is Alone in the Wild. Cameraman Ed Wardle has gone into the wilderness of the Yukon to film himself and how he copes with 12 weeks of total isolation. Each morning, as part of the safety protocol, he has to send an “I’m OK” message. He does this by sending, from a semi-disabled sat phone (can do outgoing SMSs only), a short message which is posted on Twitter www.twitter.com/aloneinthewild . He’s just started his third week out there – you can see some of the early rushes here and here, more to follow tomorrow [he leaves off his tapes in a dead letter box-type drop-off from where they are later collected by helicopter or float-plane once Ed has moved on, so no human contact] – and already after this opening period, it is clear that Alone in the Wild is bringing new people to Twitter/microblogging as these screenshots illustrate:

Alone in the Wild Twitter screenshot 1Alone in the Wild Twitter screenshot 2Alone in the Wild Twitter screenshot 3Alone in the Wild Twitter screenshot 4Aitw TwitterAlone in the Wild twitterAlone in the Wild Twitter screenshot 5This is a good, clear illustration of how Channel 4 inspires Digital Participation aka Digital Media Literacy aka Being Digital [Digital Britain report] by providing a purpose or mission or story. “Inspires” is the key word – it is what is sometimes lacking from social networks and platforms, and it is what Channel 4 consistently offers – Inspiration is a rare commodity. Even Twitter is basically a tool in need of a task or purpose, it is only as good as the things people find to do with it. Alone in the Wild provides clear guidance on how to join in the conversation on Twitter, part of Channel 4’s commitment to helping drive Digital Participation. But Ed’s “awesome adventure”, his inspiring story of courage and endurance and an unquenchable desire to do the extraordinary (he has been up Everest twice, been to the North Pole, every year he tries to do a new extraordinary thing, but never has he done one in isolation like this, a whole new challenge, as much psychological as physical) his inspiring story is the real energy which is motivating people to have a first go at digital social media.

Can’t kid a kidmapper

cover by NC Wyeth (1913)

cover by NC Wyeth (1913)

Follow the Kidmapper: a literary blogumentary from Tim Wright

From 30th June to 25th August, Tim (who wrote MindGym with Ben Miller and me) is following a route across Scotland from the south-western tip of Mull to the outskirts of Edinburgh, as charted in Chapters 14–27 of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’.

You can follow his travels & travails at Kidmapper.

Tim considers ‘Kidnapped’ a fantastically exciting book – “the story of David Balfour running for his life across the Highlands, sometimes accompanied by tough and rebellious Alan, sometimes pursued by the English army, seemed so visceral and exciting to me that I wanted to try it for myself. So that is exactly what I am doing.”

From the blog you can read and discuss the book itself, listen to extracts being read out in the places the book describes and keep in touch with where Tim has got to each day.

“Perhaps there’s something you’d like me to do or think about whilst I’m walking. Perhaps you’d like me to visit specific sites and film them for you. Or better still, perhaps you’d like to come out here and join me for a walk, add your own responses to being on the Kidnapped Trail and have an adventure of your very own.”

If you want to start from the beginning, the first episode is on Tim’s YouTube channel and you can find him as ‘kidmapper’ on most popular web services.

So this is the latest chapter in Tim’s on-going exploration of web narrative, which incudes the outstanding In Search of Oldton whose launch I had the honour to host at Channel 4 way back when.

I’m feeling inspired now to handcuff myself to a blonde and run across the heather-strewn glens of ‘The 39 Steps’.

We seem to have a bit of a Hitch here, darling

We seem to have a bit of a Hitch here, darling

And on the subject of following…

You should follow me on Twitter here

Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) should follow Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) there

The English army should follow David Balfour there

Why all the following?

Polling Day (Stand up and be counted)

Tank Man

China evidently blocked access to Twitter two days ago, two days before the sensitive 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Other Internet services that seem to have become inaccessible include Hotmail, Flickr and search engine Bing.

In recent years, access to YouTube, Western media outlets and many other websites has also been blocked, often before or after ‘sensitive’ events. And now’s a good moment to remember those who blocked themselves.

A few days after the blog of artist and government critic Ai Weiwei was shut down, he simply opened a new one (which you can see here, in Chinese). Ai also uses Twitter.

******

Only 22% of eligible British voters have declared their intention to vote in the European and county council elections today. In 2004 the turnout in Britain for the European parliamentary elections was 38.9%.

******

Be irrepressible

Chat rooms monitored. Blogs deleted. Websites blocked. Search engines restricted. People imprisoned for simply posting and sharing information.

The Internet is a new frontier in the struggle for human rights. Governments – with the help of some of the biggest IT companies in the world – are cracking down on freedom of expression … learn more

Slive: Surgery Live on Twitter

Surgery Live trending on Tweetdeck

Surgery Live trending on Tweetdeck

To round off the week of The Operation: Surgery Live with regard to its integration with Twitter here are a selection of tweets from the week. Trending 3rd, 2nd and 1st over the week reflects what seems to have been a successful experiment.

warrenfree: Enjoyed watching Channel4 adoption of twitter to allow us to question the surgeons.. Interesting to watch too #slive

OotSandShaman my question was just asked on @surgerylive! man twitter kicks ass

wisebuddha liking use of twitter integration in a linear tv show good example from C4 in UK more of this in future http://bit.ly/hevJ2 #slive

Sarahgrittin09 #slive good to see social networking sites used for more interesting things like this rather than poncy photos and relationship statuses!

Vialli25 #slive the first TV programme I’ve ever watched where they actually ask you to include this hashtag when talking about the show on Twitter!

liammoody Looking forward to Surgery Live at 11 tonight. Have just got the Twitterfall app to follow #slive discussion! It’s a rare gem from Ch4

vas_876 @ajd90 Hey, looks like #slive has brought loads of us prospective medics to twitter

mygadgetlife: #slive really C4 a great program made all the more enjoyable with twitter but poor scheduling  [many viewers were upset that the live broadcast had to end after its allotted hour]

InnerLambada: Surgery live is absolutely addicting. I just couldn’t stop watching. Although I couldn’t help but think “What if it goes wrong?” #slive

thumbfight: #3wordsduringsex (1 thumb down) VS. #slive (2 thumbs up)

anthayes: .@krishgm awe inspiring but can you be on for longer tomorrow though? #slive

beth_richards: #slive is genius

ellied18: Shame #slive isn’t on for longer… great insight!

MrCheapCalls: #slive Well, that wizzed by… not long enough!!

machotrouts: #slive This isn’t interactive enough, when do we get to vote on what bits to take out? Does the red button control any equipment?

simonday09: #slive I hope you all enjoyed live brain surgery as much as I did, simply amazing. well done channel4!

wren154: #slive Forget Susan Boyle and all the other wannabes. This programme is showing where Britain’s Got Talent

marcmcg @SurgeryLive please turn SurgeryLive into a weekly series. Most innovative and educational show I’ve seen on TV in a long time.

tweelhouse @krishgm Watching Mondays #slive – totally fascinating. Have a heart condition and helping me better understand what goes on inside me!

#slive wow this is extraordinary, just tuned in for the first time! Not for the faint hearted, but may be I could be a doctor

Bruce elrick #slive @krishgm another classic -quick work from tonights surgeon. Did you guys get started earlier? This would be great to show in schools

sotonrich watching day 3 of the amazing surgery live all week has been amazing. there should be more of this on tv #slive

Rachael90210 #slive This is one of the best things on TV! Love. It.

Unfortunately, I can’t watch #slive since I’m in the US :-( Sounds like just the kind of show I’d actually love to watch!

Chrissarnowski #slive Thank you Surgery Live; great eyeopener, makes me more determined to pursue my ambitions in medicine…

LyndaHull @surgerylive Am loving the shows. Totally mesmerising TV. Congratulations!

Ajnokia slive Great idea, always wondered what happens during surgery. Because once your under the blanket you have no idea.

Gregp94 #slive is brilliant

Lucy_locket_91 #slive: Will there be another series??? This has been my highlight of the week!

Martincollett #slive another excellent programme, shame the series has to end, looking forward to more soon!

TEDavis #slive = brilliant, loved every second of it!

Ummmdonuts #slive noooooooooooooooooooooo don’t end! more surgery! pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssseeeeeeeeeee!

J_Dizzle_: just watched heart surgery live on channel 4, twitter questions and updates.. very well done. #slive

mjmobbs: #slive excellent, see you tomorrow, really enjoyed the Twitter and Live TV combination.

philroberts: #slive this could be one of the best models for twitter, live interactive feedback brilliant twitter was a great enhancement to the show

manpreet1: Surgery live on channel 4, and #slive, was a great use of a new format.

Surgery Live trending on Twitscoop

Surgery Live trending on Twitscoop

Update 1.vi.09:

An article from Broadcast today. And one from the NHS.

Who wants to be a 20 millionaire? – I do

Channel 4 Factual

Factual Fingers

Yesterday was a big day for Embarrassing Bodies online (and indeed for Factual Cross-platform at Channel 4) – we passed the 20 million pageviews mark on the EB site a year after launch. This is off the back of 2.2 million visits.

Meanwhile, since September  Sexperience has clocked up 14 million pageviews.

This means in respect of many key metrics these Factual projects are right up there playing with the big boys of C4 Entertainment.

Entertainment Fingers

Entertainment Fingers

Adoption Experience

Britain's Forgotten Children

Britain's Forgotten Children

Yesterday afternoon saw the launch of my latest project – Adoption Experience www.channel4.com/adopt – this is the thinking behind it:

“Adoption is an area of childcare and family life shrouded in misconception, myth and confusion. The best way to untangle the realities from the rumours and hearsay is to focus on real people’s real experiences.

Adoption Experience shares valuable first-hand experience of Adoption from every perspective – people who have been adopted, adopters, social workers, siblings, people left in the system, potential adopters, every viewpoint that helps give insight into the realities of Adoption.”

Now those of you familiar with the peripatetic, seemingly random wanderings of my oeuvre will notice distinct similarities between Adoption Experience and Sexperience. Here was the thinking behind Sexperience:

Sexperience enables people to share their first-hand experiences (as opposed to opinion or theory) of a broad range of sexual issues, problems and solutions in video and text form, thereby recognising the complexity and individuality of the subject through multiple perspectives and transcending the easy, often over-simplified answers of self-help manuals.”

When it came to the subject of Adoption, it struck me that the same grounded insight brought by a focus on direct experience to the realm of sex and relationships might really help to shed light through the fog of preconceptions obscuring my understanding of this other subject. For me what first sprung to mind was a nightmarish, intrusive process; social workers telling you you have too many books in your house or are too pale for your own good; a recent tale of an adoption imploding and tearing apart the family and marriage of my friend’s sister; compelling tales of retracing birth families; happy sorties filming childcare projects with Emerald Productions and ArkAngel Productions for Barnardo’s; various celebrity stories headed up by Mia Farrow (recently on hunger strike over Dafur – good on her), Angelina Jolie and Madonna; and a few lovely, sometimes quiet kids at my sons’ schools. So what I decided to do was to lift the infrastructure of Sexperience wholesale and reapply it to the subject of Adoption.

The production company/digital indie, Mint Digital, said it would probably work but they’ll be a 5% difference in the structures. I stuck to my guns that it could work as a pretty much 1-to-1 match and that’s what we went with. So, in effect, it’s my first attempt at an online format. (Another class implementation by Mint in the wake of Sexperience and Osama Loves. Video content by Betty TV. Reminds me, Sexperience has just been nominated for a Broadcast Digital Award [Best use of Interactive] and the Osama Loves documentary, Osama Bin Everywhere, is up for a Rockie Award at the Banff TV Awards in Canada.)

Now Sex is of universal relevance whereas Adoption is something of a niche concern, so I wasn’t sure what kind of take-up to expect. The signs so far are good and I feel like we’ve found our clear blue water. There’s little out there on the Web which captures first-hand experience of Adoption issues in a non-textual, engaging form. The first two hours, from a standing start, saw:

  • 29,448 pageviews
  • 5,578 visits
  • 5.3 pageviews/visit (promising since the user-created content which drives the creative concept was very limited, starting empty that very afternoon)
  • 170 experiences and questions were posted by viewers, many very illuminating and detailed

This came in unsolicited from a recent adopter today: “I think the site’s great – fantastic that it’s open to the public to post questions and responses about their experiences. This is what the adoptive and adopted audiences really need I think!”

The site was created out of the Channel 4 Cross-platform dept. as part of the Channel’s Britain’s Forgotten Children season broadcasting all this week. It springs from the themes of the documentary series Find Me a Family, commissioned by my equally mad-haired colleague Dominique Walker. This is the striking trail created by Brett Foraker of 4Creative to communicate the thrust of the season.

Paranoia Twitter-style – part 5

With a Russian idiot, a blonde babe with big tits, the blank generation and something big and green on my tail, that stalked feeling persists…

In reckless pusuit

In reckless pusuit

In relentless pursuit

In relentless pursuit

But maybe it’s time for the hunted to turn hunter…

The worm has turned

The worm has turned...

I will follow

I will follow

The Way of the World

Signs of the times?…

Following nothing

Following nothing

Over 3,000 people follow …nothing (but a promise)

Containing nothing

Containing nothing

linked to a site containing …nothing (but a promise and an advertisement). Get the ads right and the content can take care of itself. I believe in ‘launch early and often’ as much as the next guy, but there’s early – and there’s Early.

Meanwhile – over at Tumblr…

Tumblr teamthe Team is a bit light on the fairer sex.

Stumbled across these in the course of a couple of minutes via Twitter a few days ago and (no offence intended to Big Blue Baby or Tumblr, another few minutes and I dare say some other examples would have crossed the radar) they struck a cautionary chord.

Porn to be Wild

Anna Richardson vs Porn

Anna Richardson vs Porn

With headlines like “Porn Scandal Minister Faces Axe” in the press yesterday (they have a Minister for everything these days), what a great day to launch the next phase of Sexperience which accompanies the new series of The Sex Education Show: The Sex Education Show vs Porn.

The Sun ran a double page centrespread as only the Sun can – an outraged “Pornification of Our Kids” headline, bridling at the impact of porn on teens, laid over the torso of a stunna in black lace bra and panties, head cropped off not that any objectification was going on.

The site, updated for the new series, got off to a cracking start with

  • 414,000 pageviews in the first 3 hours!
  • 60,000 visits in those 3 hours
  • over 1,000 questions submitted by users in the same period

The Sex Education Show continues this evening at 9pm on Channel 4.

Pornification

Pornification

I got biorhythm

bafta awardThe old biorhythms seem to be zinging a bit this week. Nice Kiss & Tell piece in the Guardian yesterday about a new commercially-oriented dimension to my work, to complement the public service projects I mainly commission at C4. Hot Cherry are a cool outfit when it comes to getting the dirty job done in digital PR and marketing.

And the day got off to a fine start with a TV BAFTA Nomination for Embarrassing Bodies Online for the one&only interactive category – imaginatively entitled Interactivity. The other nominations are all BBC, but our odds have improved. Last year little old Big Art Mob was up against iPlayer which cost more in millions than BAM cost in thousands. This year we’re only up against Olympics 08. And Merlin. Let’s see if they can spot real magic…

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