So, some thoughts that came out of my attending DIY Days last Friday. In case you don’t know what DIY Days is check it out here. Congrats to Lance and everyone else who put it together. It was a great day.
Something that has been stewing in my brain, though, and I apologize if I am paraphrasing or outright stealing from anyone there. There were so many great speakers that I’m not sure if I picked it up directly from someone or not. But here it goes (my vain attempt of the day to appear intelligent):
In the old day, even before the internet, cell phones, cars, or, say, the wheel, we existed in a barter system. I have something you want, you have something I want, let’s trade. Then somebody came up with the bright idea that instead of hauling everything I want to trade around on my back until I find someone to trade it to, how about we make little pieces of metal or paper and trade those instead. These little pieces of paper or metal were now the basis of all exchange of goods. You saw something you wanted, you gave someone a stack of paper and some coins and then you received that thing you wanted. Those actual pieces of paper were eventually replaced with little pieces of plastic but the concept was the same.
The whole concept was pretty simple, though, no matter what the actual pieces were. I give you something you want and you give me something that now belongs to me. (And I’m sure that there are thousands of people out there with a ton more knowledge and savvy in talking about economic theory than I do, so please don’t crucify me for my simplistic view here.)
In the 21st century, that dynamic has changed for the first time in the history of man and music and film are leading the way. Now, the dynamic is changing to you give me something for free and if I like it, I can decide to pay for it. Piracy has made it so easy to gather media for free and the width and breadth of the amount of media available for free is so huge, that now you have to earn my dollar by being good enough for it (even if that dollar is in the form of my time spent in front of a video pre-roll or side banners).
The pressure has never been higher to produce quality content because just shoveling marketing dollars on something no longer leads to the result (purchase) that you want. You have to be good enough for me to pay for it in retrospect. But what is that “good enough” or “quality” thing? By who’s standard?
By the standard of a growing generation raised in an interactive media landscape. When X-Factor posts your tweets in real-time on the show and the MTV music awards has live celebrity coverage of what Jane Smith in Idaho thinks of Nicki Minaj’s dress on facebook, you cannot deny that people are used to interacting with their entertainment.
So you’ve got a growing generation of people who are raised to believe their voice will be heard and ample content that they really don’t HAVE to pay for unless they want to. That’s the gap where this concept called transmedia will step in and, I believe, will flourish. Activate people, give them good stories and let them show you how they appreciate it. Holding on to antiquated philosophies that date back to the barter system will leave you wondering why no one wants to trade for your mule.