Towards a Vonviral Glossary. What the hell is 360 cross-platform pervasive transmedia?

When I used the term 360 in the name of a course I ran at the NFTS (The Essential 360 Storytelling Lab) some people thought I meant panoramic photography. New media (itself an old term now, a bit like new labour) is still new enough to not have a settled nomenclature. Buzzwords are bandied very freely and few of us like to admit that we aren't sure of their precise meanings. Now Vera Vonviral has invited me to attempt to nail some of the terms down. Please do add comments, suggestions or corrections.

Cross-platform
Usually used inter-changably with multi-platform, originally referred to computer programmes that work on different computers or operating systems. These terms now also apply in the context of media and seems to be inter-changable with the terms "360 degree media" and "cross-media". My interpretation of all these terms is that they apply to media projects that use more than one platform but do not specify a narrative that is divided across those multiple platforms (ie transmedia). For example, the BBC's Dr who is multi-platform/cross-platform/cross-media/360 degree media. It's a TV show, it has TV spinoff shows (Dr Who Confidential, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures), it has websites, boardgames, lunchboxes, magazines, plastic toys. Top Gear ditto.

Cross-media
A slightly more precise term than cross-platform. Media that is distributed across multiple platforms that may or may not be transmedia.

Digital Storytelling
This term describes a very specific form of narrative documentary in which non-professionals are helped to use basic tools to tell their own stories in their own voices.

Locative Media
"If only these walls could speak..." Using technologies that can identify the position of the viewer or the media player, locative media will change according to its location. Pervasive media is often locative, as is augmented reality. Advertisers are massively excited by the possibilities of locative media. Your smart phone knows where you are and tells you about what is nearby. Artists tend to be more interested in it as a way of connecting stories or memories, or multiple histories to places.

Multi-platform
See Cross-platform

Pervasive Media
As computers and media delivery systems get everywhere in our lives media becomes increasingly customised to our particular needs, tastes and desires. Pervasive media, unlike broadcast media is sensitive to it's surroundings or to who is consuming it. A media player might know where it is, who is looking at it or elements of a viewer's history. It's an exciting new trail to be blazed, both for mega-corporations and for artists.

360 degree
It's a BBC term that is usually used with the term multi-platform, as in, "360 degree multi-platform content creation." It is also used as a stand alone expression. Not to be confused with 360 panoramas or xbox 360. My interpretation is that it is the BBC management term for new working and commissioning practices that incorporate the following:

1. It was no longer deemed cost effective to have journalists who just worked on a single platform such as radio, TV or web. 360 means the same journalist will file radio, TV and web reports. This was originally called "bi-media," but platform inflation rendered the term obsolete.
2. 360 degree also refers to the changes in the way viewers consume BBC media - for example "on-demand" viewing of a linear TV show, or watching the webcam of a radio DJ.
3. It was decided that every TV and radio show should have a website. This is said to be 360 commissioning. Personally I see it as 180 - more of a straight line rather than a circle.
4. Audience feedback, a product of social media, blogging, texting, twitter and so on is also part of 360 degree thinking.
©Stephen Dinehart

Transmedia or Transmedia storytelling
A transmedia project uses multiple media to tell parts of a larger narrative - each part adding something to the overall understanding of the story. For example, the Swedish ARG, The Truth About Marika is a transmedia story as elements found online were exclusive to that medium and essential to the progression of the TV narrative. The BBC TV series Spooks, which had a superb website in which visitors could become agents and go on missions guided by characters from the TV series is not transmedia as the two elements were narratively unconnected.

Ubiquitous computing
See pervasive media. It's pretty much the same, but refers to the devices instead of the media.

Web Drama
I thought this was an uncontentious, 'does what it says on the tin' type label for drama that is made for the web, but on my Twitter filter of the term I get people refering to their daily web drama. This seems to refer to the 21st century complexities and misunderstandings arising from the use of twitter or Facebook as communications methods. eg, "Sharon1992 unfriended me, what a web drama!"

This blog was moved in January 2016 from it's original location on vonviral.ning.com where it had received 610 views.

Rik Lander

Rik Lander makes interactive and participatory narratives. Website

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