Archive for Tag ‘fcf07‘

Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture at Forrester Consumer Forum

I’ve written several times before on Jenkins – he’s a major guru I think of the new media shift. If you haven’t read Convergence Culture go do so now.

Today he’s one of the keynotes at the Forrester Consumer Forum


I’m here as the token EggHead of the event. I always go where no humanist has gone before.

If you want to understand the web now, you need to hire humanities grads – the questions about the web used to be technical questions, but now they are social and cultural questions – the kinds of things studied by liberal arts grads.

Describe Web 2.0 in 2 sentences or less:
“You make all the content. They keep all the revenue.”

Convergence culture is a world where every story, image, sound, idea, brand, and relationship will play itself out across all possible media platforms.

Along with convergence culture is participary culture – he actually used this slide:
Participatory Culture

Which is user generated content which originally came from this presentation.

The question now is really what can I do with your product.

We hear about people worried about losing control – the reality is you lost it long ago. Consumers can take your content and remix it and share it and publish it almost as publically as you can. You can sue, and shut a few people down, but the genie is out of the bottle.

The ability for “us” to control and remake content and republish it at an equivalent quality and fidelity as large media brands is fundamentally and radically different than previous eras of media.

But large media and brands have a place as well -all the parodies of the mac ads circulate in part because everyone knows the original.

There’s also great innovation going on here in terms of fan practices and how they are cocreating value.

There are all kinds of low cost experiments which remix the raw materials our culture provides and you can support and cultivate these in dialog – not shut them down.

Four Eyed Mosters and collaborative curating – creating a market for your product before it is even released.

Wizard Rock – over 200 wizard rock groups using myspace to create music with reference to Harry Potter – a whole genre of widely listened-to music that did not exist before it came bottom up, not top down.

Any platform that can be used to trade cat pictures can bring down a government – Ethan Zuckerman.

The fundamental questions are all about what this new participatory and convergent culture will be like.

The story of Fanlib – a company which wanted to create a commercial portal to distribute fan fiction – and some of the fans are revolting – they don’t want a commercial entity to run this.

Fanlib committed several obvious mistakes – 80% of the fan fiction writers are women, but the ad campaign was all men. The company told fans it wanted to empower them, but to corporate rights holders they were telling a different story – complete control, staying within the lines.

The community didn’t like the idea of things being regulated, commercialized, and brought into the lines.

Example of Stephen Colbert – but his studio sends a cease and desist to YouTube – different parts of the same company have different ideas of what this means. That is the current state of convergence culture.

One quick plug at the end for the Futures of Entertainment 2 conference.

Q: Is copyright dead?

A: No, but it is evolving. In the future, companies will have every right to protect their content but every incentive to let it go. It isn’t that they don’t have legal right but they should not use it.

Q: Is participatory culture even across the world?

A. Not even, but global. When the media folks went after Harry Potter fan fiction in Poland and Thailand, the kids in the US knew about it immediately. In some ways this group is more connected and interactive than anyone else. But there are other countries which are clearly left out. This is a global phenomenon, but not one in which everyone in the world participates equally.

Q: To what extent should brands try to control / engage in negative discussions about their brand?

A: You can’t shut it down. Your best response is to do something about what you’ve done that people are criticizing you for. If it is a misperception get out there and correct it – if it is an accurate criticism change the behavior.

Next Generation of Media Panel, Forrester Consumer Forum

Shar VanBoskirk leading a “Next Generation of Media” Panel


Panel at Forrester Consumer Forum 2007

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Christina Norman, MTV keynote from Forrester Consumer Forum

Christina Norman, MTV – really excellent keynote. Dynamic, engaged – easy to see that MTV gets it. (Of course it isn’t just one person, but she represents well the variety of efforts they have underway).
Christina Norman at Forrester Consumer Forum 2007

At MTV, we’re pretty psched – being our fans BFF has always been important to us as a company.

It’s no accident MTV started as a cable channel – youth were most open to the potential of cable.

Together, we define what MTV is – it is the world’s largest brand gallery.

What we’ve learned: Four Guiding Truths that burn in all of us at MTV

  1. It’s not the medium, but the content that matters most.
  2. Build an emotional relationship with the users based on content they find compelling.
  3. Give your audience a place and mechanism to find each other.
  4. You have to let your audience help you shape your brand.

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Living in the age of the Groundswell

Josh Bernoff‘s day 2 keynote from Forrester Consumer Forum.

Key point: Objectives, not technology, need to lead your effort

Don’t build a community just because your competitors do. Don’t just try to “generate buzz” – what is the goal you hope that buzz will accomplish? Figuring out what you’re trying to achieve will let you then measure what you are doing.

It isn’t “how do we get involved in the groundswell” but what problem are we trying to solve or what opportunities are we trying to create.

These are the main objectives:

  1. Listening
  2. Talking
  3. Energizing
  4. Supporting
  5. Embracing

Analogies to organizational roles:

Research -> Listening
Marketing -> Talking
Sales -> Energizing
Support -> Supporting
Development -> Embracing

In the groundswell (ie, in the web 2.0 era), each of these needs to be transformed a bit. He went through each of them with some examples, including vendors.

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a single mention of the use of open source to help deliver on these objectives – each objective ended with a brief table listing approaches and vendors – but no mention of assembling your own solutions with open source frameworks, despite the reality that open source frameworks are often the best solutions in many of these spaces.

I know Forrester hasn’t historically focused on open source and I don’t expect them to – but buying product solutions from proprietary vendors isn’t the entire universe. He also didn’t really cover how you integrate these solutions together – so that you don’t end up with five siloed solutions but a cohesive strategy and integrated set of applications which exchange and share data. [Note: this did come up during the Q & A - see the end of the notes below.]

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Forrester Consumer Forum 2007 Day 1

What people learned from day 1 of Forrester:

Christine Overby and Carrie Johnson at Forrester Consumer Forum 2007

Carrie Johnson and Christine Overby just finished the day 2 opening remarks, talking about things carried over from day one – Richard Edelman’s “Windy City Rules” and “Be It, Don’t Buy It” (see Jeremy Pepper’s notes); Christine Hefner on Playboy’s use of new media (myspace, Playboy U) and organizational change (as in, if you can’t change the organization you’re in, change organizations).

Next up Josh Bernoff keynote.