I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned that I’m taking an interactive media class this trimester…so, I’m taking an interactive media class this semester. What does interactive media entail?

  • Video Games
  • Apps
  • Websites
  • Interactive Film
  • Transmedia projects
  • Probably more…

I’ve learned some really awesome things, like Zelda: The Ocarina of Time has been rated the number one game of all time for several years (which with judgment I completely agree).

Actually, most of the exciting things I’ve learned in this class revolve around video games, and it makes me grateful for all my gamer friends in high school, otherwise I would have no clue about the wonderful world of video games.

However, today and last week’s classes revolved around crowd sourcing and crowd funding.

From Wikipedia, in case you didn’t know:

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

Crowdfunding is the collection of finance to sustain an initiative from a large pool of backers -the “crowd”-, usually made online by means of a web platform. The initiative could be a non-profit campaign (e.g. to support a political party), a philanthropic campaign (e.g. to produce an artist), a commercial campaign (e.g. to sell a new product) or a financing campaign for a start-up company.

I think these possibilities are awesome and really utilize the internet in all of its glory. Wikipedia itself is an example of crowdsourcing. I have taken a personal interest in the idea of crowdsourcing to make advancements in science and technology, such as these games that have been developed where an every day person can put in the man hours scientists need to analyze patterns by simply playing a well-designed game. I mean, I’ve now contributed to research on genetic diseases by trying to arrange DNA sequences from different species by playing this game Phylo.

Isn’t it kind of a dream to throw your idea out into the world and have thousands of strangers get excited about it, enough to help you develop or pay for it?

This is also a fangirl’s dream, as crowdsourcing extends into the world of user-generated content, meaning fanfiction, direct input into new product development, and the ability to “remix” an existing product. A lot of people (creators) resist this because they feel that the general public is going to demean the value of the product, but for some smart creators, enabling user-generated content has allowed their product’s lifespan to increase significantly.

For example, in the gaming industry, the latest and newest game usually doesn’t hold attention for too long, but there are some games that built user-generated content into the game and remain relevant in the industry years after their release. A good example of this is Warhammer, which built tools into the game for the players to create new levels and maps. When a person feels involved in the creation of something, they are much more likely to stick with it for a long time, plus there is virtually no end to the possibilities, so the game automatically decreases the possibility of fans getting bored.

Outside the gaming sector, some great examples of creators allowing user generated content are J.K Rowling and George Lucas. Both of them have encouraged fans to write fanfiction to their hearts’ content. There are hundreds of Star Wars novels out there, and J.K herself has only written something ridiculous like 2% of all Harry Potter based literature in the world. Harry Potter in fact has the largest selection of fanfiction on the planet. And J.K. is not throwing a fit over all the people who think that Harry and Draco should’ve ended up together.

This actually makes me want to come up with a film or television series that has such a rich story world that people can make their own creations out of it…because really, all us creators want to do is inspire people, right?


One response to “Crowded

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