Interactive Blog

Before I can discuss how interactivity creates empathy, I must explain what empathy and interactivity are.  According to dictionary.com, empathy is defined as the intellectual identification with a feeling, thought, or attitude. Interactivity allows two-way transfer of information between a user and technology such as a computer or television.

A perfect example of interactivity that creates empathy is the Forum Theatre. People and participation.net describes the Forum Theatre is an interactive form of theatre that encourages audience interaction and explores different options for dealing with a problem or issue.

So here is how the Forum Theatre works. The audience sees a play in which the main character is unable to overcome an obstacle. However, what makes this special is that the obstacle is often based on something that is important to the community or a shared life experience everyone has been through.

What really sets this play apart from others is the voice that the people have. People and participation.net describes that the audience is allowed to make suggestions on the outcome of the play after it is finished. The actors explore the results of these choices with the audience creating a kind of theatrical debate, in which experiences and ideas are rehearsed and shared, generating both solidarity and a sense of empowerment.

The Forum Theatre gives people a voice. The experience is powerful because it creates a community of strangers to come together and overcome to try to solve a problem or situation. With the participation of the audience, new ideas and solutions are created to solve existing problems. The theatre setting can be a very powerful tool to explore difficult issues.

If you are every in the UK check it out.

Cardboard Citizens
26 Hanbury Street
London E1 6QR
UK
Tel 020 7247 7747
Fax 020 7650 0002
Email mail@cardboardcitizens.org.uk
www.cardboardcitizens.co.uk
 
Information provided from: http://www.peopleandparticipation.net/display/Methods/Forum+Theatre

Video Blog

In todays society it is easier than ever for someone to be famous. With reality television shows, blogs, and Youtube the average person is becoming a celebrity over night.

Youtube is the biggest catalyst for this recent wave of overnight celebrities. Todd Wasserman, masable.com writer, reports that Youtube streams 4 billion online videos each day, more than one for every other person on Earth and a 25% jump over eight months ago. According to Reuters, about 60 hours of video are now added to the site every minute and the average user spends about 15 to 25 minutes on Youtube a day.

If you want to make a video go viral, you have to use Youtube. However there is 48 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every minute, only a select few go viral and become a cultural moment. So why do some videos go viral and others don’t?  Kevin Allocca,  YouTube’s trends manager, conducted a TedTalk to discuss this very issue.

Kevin explained that there are three reasons that a Youtube video goes viral. First, the video has to have the support of a tastemaker. The tastemaker introduces us to new and interesting things and brings it to a larger audience. To be a tastemaker you have to have a larger following. Celebrities, athletes, and comedians are normally your tastemakers because they either have a large following on their website, blog, or social media accounts.

The next step in making a video go viral is community participation. Once you have a group of tastemakers supporting, sharing, and interacting with something they form a little community behind the idea. Then the tastemaker’s fans join in and are apart of the phenomenon by either sharing it or doing something new with it. Kevin explains that this happens because in today’s generation, we want to fill involved and apart of something. We do not just enjoy content now but we participate in it.

The final step of a video going viral is unexpectedness. No one can predict what is going to become popular on Youtube. For the video to be popular it has to be truly unique, surprising, and humorous. Kevin concludes his presentation by stating that viral videos define a new kind of media and a new type of culture. A culture where anyone has access and the audience defines the popularity.

Here are three videos that went viral:

Rebecca Black – Friday

This video follows the exact pattern of becoming viral. Rebecca Black “Friday” music video has been viewed nearly 200 million times. Rebecca Black video became popular because of tastemakers such as comedy blog Tosh.O posted it and then other blogs and comedians started posting jokes about how bad Rebecca’s singing is. Once everyone started making fun of the video, a community formed where there were 10,000 parodies of this video created. Her video popularity was completely unexpected but came from ridiculousness and humorous concept that the community around the video formed.

Nyan Cat

Nyan cat is another video that has become an Internet sensation. This 8-bit animation of a cat that flies through space as rainbows stream from its Pop Tart body has dominated Youtube being viewed nearly 50 million times in 2011. Jennifer Bergen, writer for Geek.com, reports that the video was originally posted by YouTube user saraj00n on April 5, getting more than 1 million views in its first two weeks. Nyan cat benefited more from community participation then from one tastemaker. Nyan cat inspired creativity among a community that inspired a Nyan cat video for every culture and country. It went from a video that was just suppose to be funny to something that we all can enjoy and be apart of.

Maria Aragon – Born This Way (Cover) by Lady Gaga

Maria Aragon was the latest Youtube star when she posted a stripped down piano based version of Lady Gaga’s born this way. The Huffington post reported that the video caught the eye the acclaim singer. Gaga tweeted that she couldn’t stop crying and stated that this is why she makes music to have an impact like this. Gaga linked to Maria video in her tweet becoming the first tastemaker to support the video. Ellen DeGeneres brought her on her show and recently Lady Gaga performed the song with Maria live in concert. With over 50 million views to date Maria became an over night success. A community of support developed around Maria by supporting and sharing the video and the message behind it.

Social Media Blog

Advertising has definitely evolved over the years. This is because new technology has changed the way we communicate with each other. The Engagement Model Theory explains that advertisers use to communicate in a lateral way. The advertisers communicate to the consumer with little to no feedback of how the consumer felt about the product or company. Then we grew into a bi-lateral communication in which, the company communicate to the consumer but the consumer could also communicate back to the company. An example of this is customer service representatives and other customer support staff. Now everyone company is trying to reach lateral engagement.

Lateral engagement is better known as earned advertising by word of mouth through your trusted circle of peers and friends. The communication in this model is like a circle. The company has created a community where they can interact with their customers, other businesses in the industry, and have open dialogue about anything. Social media way one you can achieve lateral engagement. With platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Youtube companies and interact with their consumers and more importantly consumers and interact with consumers.

Every company has different targets, goals, tactics, and they are using social media for. However, for everyone using social media it provides unprecedented opportunity for networking and community building. Here are some tips/examples of how you should be using social media for Twitter & Facebook.

Twitter

  • Tweeting- posting a comment (less than 140 characters) to your followers.  This includes posting a link to your news stories or any other pertinent information.  To preserve characters, tinyurl.com shortens url links.
  • Retweeting/Replying- retweeting posts someone else’s tweet to all of your followers.  Replying to a tweet will go to your followers and will address the author of the original tweet.  Both of these techniques can help to gain followers and create buzz.
  • Mentions- by using the @ symbol followed by someone’s twitter handle, will increase your chances of being found via search.  In addition, the person you mentioned will see the tweet.
  • Trending- trending results when enough twitter users are discussing a specific topic designated with an ex. #ShapeUpNC.

 

Facebook

  • Facebook provides another platform for you to both host information and interact with your network. Facebook will serve as an extension of Shapeupnc.com when it comes to content.
  • Because Twitter is best optimized for microblogging (less than 140 characters), Facebook will provide a place to post more in depth information and news about successes of the organization.
  • As previously mentioned, to best optimize Facebook, it is necessary to reply to comments and remain active and current. Interact with your fans with wall post, surveys, & games.
  • Facebook presents an excellent opportunity to present news and activities of the foundation in a very effective and efficient way. Upload photos and videos of content as well.

Audio Blog

To have a successful commercial you need great visual and audio components. Here are some examples of commercials:

Verizon Dead Zones- Creepy Lady

The Verizon Wireless Drop Zone campaign is one of the best campaigns in the last decade. The video commercials, audio advertisements, and print ads are all cohesive and portray the brand very well.  Verizon’s drop zone commercials have great visual and audio aspects. Each commercial in the campaign depicts a moment where the main character is stopped by a complete stranger and warned to stay away from a certain area because they would have no reception.

One of the examples out of their campaign that is strong in audio is the Verizon Dead Zone Creepy Lady. The commercials sound effects set the mood very well.  It is audio’s ability to capture the intangible experience of a moment that makes it challenging and important (Saidi, 2010). From the ambient sounds to the emotion behind human words, recordings can capture powerful moments for eternity (Saidi, 2010). The wind blowing, the piano, chimes in the background, and the soft whispering of the dialogue between characters demonstrate the creepy and scary mood of the commercial.

Saidi, N. (2010). iReport boot camp: Painting pictures with sound.

SNICKERS Peanut Butter Squared – “Focus Group”

Adweek chose this Snickers focus group commercial as one of the best ten commercials of 2011. Tim Nudd describes the Snickers spot from BBDO as sick and twisted but brilliant because it has strong visual and audio features. In the commercial a focus group of sharks discuss their human taste test. The deciding factor is the human that had just eaten the Snickers Peanut Butter Square tasting better than the human that had just eaten a peanut butter cup. Tim Nudd points out the stunning CGI and voice work but I credit most of the genius to the voice work in this commercial. The voice work is cartoony, funny, and witty.

DIRECTV – “Don’t Have a Grandson with a Dog Collar”

DIRECTV has arguable the best campaign right now. The audio is just as strong as the visual in these commercials. The best part of the audio in this commercial is the voice over. Visual presentation shows what’s going on through the eyes, but audio accompanies it and makes an emotional connection to the video (Saidi, 2010).  The narrator portrays the scenario of what is happening. This commercial is trying to portray a serious message but in a joking manner. The actual script is funny and witty but the voice over tone is very serious. They want you to understand that DIRECTV is the best and every other cable service is not as good.  The sound effects in the background set the scene. These sound effects add to the atmosphere of the commercial.

Saidi, N. (2010). iReport boot camp: Painting pictures with sound.

Still Photo Blog

An ionic image brings a moment to life. The image is usually easily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a large group of people. Most of the time, the object or person in the image is regarded as a special status as particularly representative of, important to, or loved by, a particular group of people, a place, or a period in history.

Julia DeIuliis, writer for Quora.com, explains that there are three reasons of that makes an image iconic. The first one is if it perfectly captures an event or artistic style. If an image represents and tells the story of an event or particular style, than that image will be become referenced or discussed anytime that event or style is discussed. In all future discussions of the topic or style, people need to discuss that image, and eventually, that image becomes emblematic, representative, or synonymous with the topic being discussed. Eventually, that strong association is part of what makes the image iconic

The second reason an image to be iconic, is for a lot of people need to have seen it and be familiar with it. It should be the norm that people have seen it and know what it is. Because of its ubiquity, other artists reference it in their own work. If something becomes parodied a good deal, that’s one form of reference, and its a sure sign that something is on its way to becoming iconic. Alternatively, artists could reference the image in their work to help users feel an immediate familiarity with that work.

The final reason an image can be iconic it has an impact on public opinion. It’s very rare that an image directly results in action, so if an image is striking, visceral, and temporal enough to do so, it’s on its way to becoming iconic.

The Kiss by Alfred Elisenstaedt-1945

This photo is iconic because it represents a significant time frame in our countries history. On August 14, 1945, Japan surrender was announced signaling the end of World War II. The photo depicts the celebration of this event as a young man runs down the streets of downtown New York grabbing any and every girl in sight. The media portrayed the photo and story as a sailor reuniting with his long lost love, which it was not, but the image became an enduring symbol of America’s exuberance at the end of a long struggle.

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange-1963

This photo became an iconic image of the Great Depression. At the time, the 32 year-old women was a widow with seven children. Forty years later, the woman was identified as Florence Owens Thompson.

Black Power salute by John Dominis-1968

This photo was taken during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Athletes Tommie Smith and John Carols are shown making a black power salute as a civil rights protest while receiving the gold and bronze medals in the 200m dash. The athletes were later banned from the Olympics for making the political statement.The event was one of the biggest political statements in the history of the modern Olympic games.

ShapeUp NC: Social Media Strategy Proposal

ShapeUp NC: Social Media Strategy Proposal

Strategy

Create a successful social media marketing campaign for ShapeUp NC to encourage residents of North Carolina to get more exercise.

Goals

ShapeUp NC wants to build connections between North Carolina residences that exercise on the daily bases. The easiest way to engage consumers and get them to engage each other is social media. ShapeUp NC needs to use the Engagement Model Theory.

This theory promotes vertical engagement (business -> <- consumer), and lateral engagement (consumer -> <- consumer) to promote user-generated content, support for the community (profit/volunteer base), ensure that virtual communication is translated into real-life action (residents actually exercise as a result of their social media interactions).

Who they are?

Shape Up NC is a non-profit organization made up of North Carolina employers, health planners, and other organizations. Its main goal is to work together with the shared goal of a building a healthier state. ShapeUp NC wants to invite all residents of the state to join its annual wellness challenge in which teams compete to exercise, lose weight, and achieve our personal health goals. ShapeUp NC believes that working together motivates all of us, hold us accountable, and makes being healthy fun.

Do they use social media?

ShapeUpNC does not currently use any social media platforms. Ideally, the campaign that I came up with will be used in these three interactions:

(B2C) Business to Consumer-Refers to how the business relays information to its consumer. ShapeUpNC should not be just blasting information at the consumer blasting this platform as a conversation tool between the two.

(B2B) Business to Business-Refers to how the business trade and interacts with other businesses.  ShapeUpNC should connect with other businesses to form partnerships with them so that they can better enrich the experiences of their fans. Sharing information from other business and offering health & fitness specials from other business will increase business for both parties.

(P2P) Peer to Peer- Refers to the interaction that customers have with other customers. I hope that this campaign will change consumption into interaction. ShapeUpNC should encourage interaction through incentives. It should also generate a since of “belonging” for the user, enticing the consumer to interact rather than observe. Once your brand is builds buzz and your customers promote you then you know that you have become successful.

When, Where, How?

The ShapeUp NC social media strategy encourages a since of community and belonging as they interact and exercise with each other. These interactions are going to take place at the gym, at home, or on the Go. Typically, users use social media on their smart phones and personal computers. They will use social media to communicate with friends and family. Through competitions and online interaction with the organization, NC residents will become members of the ShapeUp NC social circle.

Are they influenced by users of social media?

Users of social media platforms influence the target groups of this social media campaign. ShapeUp NC goal is to create an online community where people who want to exercise tougher can come share ideas, goals, and tips for each other.

What attitudes and knowledge should consumers of the media hold?  What knowledge should they have?

The audience should have a positive attitude towards exercise and a willingness to participate in activities. They should know what benefits could come from exercising and participating in the ShapeUp NC program. They should have a strong sense of team building and social activity and social media.

The audience should have an idea of what they want to get out of working out and should know how they plan on accomplishing their goals through activities. Social media can also help with developing a routine, and encouraging longevity in an exercise plan. They should also know their personal limits with exercise and activity.

Social Media Platforms- Strategy/Use of Each Platform

Twitter

  • Tweeting- posting a comment (less than 140 characters) to your followers.  This includes posting a link to your news stories or any other pertinent information.  To preserve characters, tinyurl.com shortens url links.
  • Retweeting/Replying- retweeting posts someone else’s tweet to all of your followers.  Replying to a tweet will go to your followers and will address the author of the original tweet.  Both of these techniques can help to gain followers and create buzz.
  • Mentions- by using the @ symbol followed by someone’s twitter handle, will increase your chances of being found via search.  In addition, the person you mentioned will see the tweet.
  • Trending- trending results when enough twitter users are discussing a specific topic designated with an ex. #ShapeUpNC.

Facebook

  • Facebook provides another platform for you to both host information and interact with your network. Facebook will serve as an extension of Shapeupnc.com when it comes to content.
  • Because Twitter is best optimized for microblogging (less than 140 characters), Facebook will provide a place to post more in depth information and news about successes of the organization.
  • As previously mentioned, to best optimize Facebook, it is necessary to reply to comments and remain active and current. Interact with your fans with wall post, surveys, & games.
  • Facebook presents an excellent opportunity to present news and activities of the foundation in a very effective and efficient way. Upload photos and videos of content as well.

Foursquare

  • Foursquare is a location based social networking service. It allows you to share your location with friends.
  • When you walk into a gym or fitness center, you “check-in” (Foursquare’s term) on your cellphone or mobile device, and your friends will see where you are on a foursquare map.
  • It is also a game, of sorts. You earn points and “badges” for checking-in frequently, or at a certain time. If you raise enough points, you become “mayor” of a certain area.
  • Allows users to link check-in information to their friends and followers on Facebook & Twitter. Partner with Foursquare and Businesses to offer discounts & specials.

Youtube

 

  • YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch, and share originally created videos.
  •  YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small
  • Upload health & nutrition tips videos. Upload workout videos to give people ideas of what they should do in the gym. Link these videos to other social media platforms (i.e. Twitter & Facebook.)

Blog

 

  • A blog is a type of website or part of website on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.
  • Blogs are important because it allows readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
  • On the ShapeUpNC blog write about health & nutrition tips and examples of workouts. Post group workout events that occur around North Carolina.

 

Targets

When companies start a social media campaign, they never start with realistic vision. Everyone wants to increase followers or fans but they do not know how. When starting a campaign it is your business has to establish goal and objectives are for this campaign from the start. When you have targets that you are trying to reach, you start by specifying value assigned to an objective within a timeframe. Here are the target objectives that ShapeUp NC is trying to reach on each social media platform:

Twitter

  • 50+ followers a month
  • Increase interaction between business and consumer.
  • Have users Retweet your content.
  • Becoming a trending topic in North Carolina with #ShapeUpNC

 

Facebook

  • Obtain 250 Likes on Facebook.
  • Get 100 Fans on Facebook.
  • Increase interaction between business and consumer.
  • Have users post your content on their wall.

 

Foursquare

  • Check-in at during workouts at least once a day.
  • Encourage group check-ins at fitness centers.
  • Upload photos during check-ins.
  • Share check-ins to Facebook & Twitter.

Youtube

  • Obtain 100 subscribes to Youtube Channel.
  • Post over 10 videos
  • Obtain 2 advertisers
  • Reach over 2,000 views

 

Tactics 

After creating your target goals in a social media campaign, you have to establish methods that will be used to execute the strategy. Here are the tactics that are used to achieved the objectives that ShapeUp NC is trying to reach on each social media platform:

Twitter

  • Tweeting at minimum 4 times a day
  • Responding to follower tweets
  • Tweeting & Retweeting pictures from health events
  • Tweet with #ShapeUpNC
  • Retweeting health & workout tweets

Facebook

  • Post relevant content containing too health & fitness.
  • Respond to comments made by fans.
  • Start photo and video album of workout & health tips.
  • Link back to blog and website.

 

Foursquare

  • Claim a Venue
  • Start a Campaign
  • Offer Specials
  • Give Something Small Away

Youtube

  • Establish a Youtube Channel
  • Post over 10 videos of workout tips
  • Offer Specials

Staff support needed for this

Social Media Department:

Social Media Manager:

  • Researched trends in social media field.
  • Active blogger with wealth of knowledge in technology and PR background.
  • Would queue up scheduled tweets in advance.
  • Would need to manage LinkedIn groups.

Social Media Editor:

  • Strong writing and marketing skills.
  • Needs to be available during normal business hours to respond to tweets and retweet pertinent information.
  • Would help organize group competitions

 

Potential Tweets:

Health Tips/Nutrition Facts

When eating healthy make sure you read the food labels. Know that calorie free actually means less than 5 calories. #ShapeUpNC

Eat breakfast & smaller meals throughout the day. Small meals will keep your energy up and your metabolism going. http://ow.ly/9AwSc

Its vital to know with every diet there are specific reduced risk. A high fiber diet=a reduced risk of cancer. #ShapeUpNC

Orange juice, Diet Soda, Silk Milk, Wheat Whole Grain are actually the foods that prevent you from burning fat! http://ow.ly/9AxeT

Healthy Eating Pyramid is a simple, trustworthy guide to choosing a healthy diet. #ShapeUpNC http://ow.ly/9AyXz

Exercises/Workouts

Need a daily ab routine in the gym. Sign up for @RandomAbs alerts about what you should be doing in the gym. #ShapeUpNC http://ow.ly/9Az6O

@WebMD recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate/intensity physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week. #marchtofitness

If you only have about 20-30 minutes a day to exercise, he is a great workout for you. #marchtofitness #ShapeUpNC http://ow.ly/9Azq2

Checks out our blog on how sex can be the best exercise you get all day. #ShapeUpNC http://ow.ly/9AA4c

If you can’t make it to the gym today then here is a 5 min workout you can do in your home. #marchtofitness http://ow.ly/9AAnP

Motivation/Interaction

Success Story: Check out @MensFitness article on how one man lost 150 pounds in one year. http://ow.ly/9AAhE

Tweet before and after weight loss pictures. We want to see how you the progress you are making. #ShapeUpNC #marchtofitness

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. -Mahatma Gandhi #ShapeUpNC #marchtofitness

What are some workouts that you do with proven results? #ShapeUpNC #marchtofitness

A Must See Motivation Video: How Bad Do You Want It? (Success). Let us know what you think about this video. http://ow.ly/9AALd

Community Events

Check out Center City Park in GSO, NC. There fitness by the fountain program has great activities to keep you in shape. http://ow.ly/9ADuC

Flying Colors Sports in Charlotte, NC presents the GREAT AMAZING RACE to build healthier & more active families http://ow.ly/9ADGz

Let us know health & fitness activities that are happening in your community. #ShapeUpNC #marchtofitness

Wilmington, NC is hosting a diabetes awareness & fitness event. With Yoga, P90X, & more this is a great 4 you & family. http://ow.ly/9ADQt

Get in shape and make a difference at the same time. Burlington, NC is hosting Tata Trot 5k walk for breast cancer. http://ow.ly/9AEGn

Technology

Want to track your daily activity? Nike+ FuelBand tracks your activity and allows you to turn every day into a game. http://ow.ly/9AI23

What are some apps that you use while you are running? #ShapeUpNC #marchtofitness

RunKeeper App makes tracking your workouts fun, social, & easy to understand so that you can improve the quality of your fitness. Try it now

Nike + iPod Sport Kit allows you work out and listen to music easier than either. Check it out now. #ShapeUpNC http://ow.ly/9AIpt

Check out our blog on 5 ways to use technology to hit your fitness goals. #ShapeUpNC http://ow.ly/9AIzR

Text Blog

Writing for the web is completely different then writing for traditional media (McGovern, Norton, & O’Dowd, 2001). Different forms of online writing include articles, blogs, posts, and newsletters. I will discuss five tips for effective online writing according to Garry McGovern’s Writing for the Web.

Shorter Is Better

The challenge for the web writer is to overcome readers’ impatience by keeping things as brief as possible (McGovern, et al ., 2001). Readers often scan online text for headlines and subheading first. Next, they scan for hyperlinks, numerals, and keywords. Documents intended for online reading should rarely be longer than 1,000 words averaging 600 to 700 words (McGovern, et al ., 2001).  If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out (McGovern, et al ., 2001).

Be Direct

When writing for the web it is important to be direct. Readers are usually looking for information. Research shows that web readers scan pages before they read anything (McGovern, et al ., 2001). They may scan right past an article if it doesn’t have a straightforward heading or introduction that includes key words about the topic (McGovern, et al ., 2001).

Headlines

On the web, your headings are just as important as headlines in newspapers and magazines. People don’t begin to read your web article by accident. First they have to find it  (McGovern, et al ., 2001). Writing headlines is a craft. A good one makes the reader pay attention to the article. A bad heading will turn readers away. Studies have shown that when people use search engines they type one or two words and not phrases or sentences.

Web paragraphs are different

To make your articles efficient and attractive for online readers, you need to structure the writing. Among the most important elements of structure for online reading is paragraph length (McGovern, et al ., 2001). Different types of writing demand different average paragraph lengths. A standard web paragraph is 45 words.

Keep your sentences simple

Writing for the web should be reader friendly. Long sentences can distract the readers from their primary goal of finding information.  There are essentially three kinds of sentences for simple web writing. The simple sentence contains a verb and usually a subject (McGovern, et al ., 2001). The second is a compound sentence, which are two related simple sentences. The complex sentence is the third type that includes a dependent clause.

McGovern, G. , Norton R., & O’Dowd, C. (2001). Writing for the Web. The Web Content Style Guide, 2-12. 

Journalism in the age of data

Visual Complexity

Data Visualization is here to stay!

I really enjoyed watching the documentary Journalism in the age of data. I think it shows the application of skills that we are learning in the program in real world use.  Countless times during the documentary I found myself saying, hey I know how they did that or I know what technique that is! I can admit it, saying that feels really good.

This documentary does a great job of showing the techniques, tools, and decision-making process that designers go through when creating there interactive content. Data visualization has already been around for years in the form of charts, bar graphs, and info graphics. But now since the explosion of the Internet and new tools that have been created users do not want to just see static information presented but want to have great visuals with their information as well as it be interactive.

The great thing about the new wave of data visualization is that it brings together so many different disciplines such as design, journalism, and engineering to make one-piece of information. Companies want to put there data online and for users to see it. Data Visualization allows them take boring statists and make it more appealing. Even if you have seen certain information before with this new method of telling a story through design and interactivity of the makes it seems like you are seeing the information for the first time. The visualization of the information really puts it into context. Actually seeing what the information is telling you in an appealing way will engage the reader more and make them remember the information longer.

The most difficult part of using data visualization is incorporating interactivity and graphic design into the information while being able to still tell a story with the info graphic. There are many different techniques you can use to accomplish this goal. Some designers will create the visual by showing you the data and instruct the users that they have to draw their own conclusion from the data. They give them the freedom of operating through the information and with that freedom every user will not take the same path so there will be different conclusions. Other options designers, journalist, and engineers have is the martini glass structure method where the developer guides user with story then open up the freedom of interactivity at the end. Interactive slideshow method is another option, it guides user step by step through the info graphic. And the drill down story method, which gives the user an overview of a set of topics then allows the user to go further into what specific area they want to know more information about.

No matter the method, design, or structure of interactive info graphics there main purpose is to inform. Every piece of information that is available to mankind is now hosted on the Internet. It is now our job as interactive media designers to pick the best methods so that we can inform, entrain, and appeal to our users so present them with the most useful and important information.

Fantasy Football

ESPN uses TOUT with Fantasy Football

Fantasy FootballI know you might be thinking what does fantasy football have to do with a production-based class. Well it has a lot to do with it. Fantasy football is probably the largest form of interactivity between a company and its consumers. However, fantasy football is not new either.

Starting in the 1950’s, creator Wilfred Winkenbach, made a system that complied points based of the performance of athletes in the national football league. His system however did not catch on until the creation of the Internet. The Internet made Winkenbach system global and a house hold name everywhere you go. Each year, fantasy football gets bigger. More people catch on and new leagues open up. Larger prizes are offered. About 86% of the participants in fantasy leagues are male and 63% are under age 40.

Most recently men participation has dropped to about 70% as more women have gottenESPN Fantasy into the game, increasing participation overall. An average registered user spends 7 hours a week on the websites reading and writing blogs, catching up on news and their online teams.

So why should you care and what does this have to do with interactive media? I will tell you why and how! 10 million people played fantasy sports on Yahoo, ESPN, and NFL’s fantasy football leagues. Online fantasy sites have grown 20% to 25% a year over the past five years. The fantasy sports industry generates $1 billion to $2 billion a year. They make money on publication subscriptions, paid leagues entrance fees, mail order draft kits, and fantasy software. Traffic has increase so of course ad revenue has increase almost 20% over the past two years.

So there is a market for designers and especially interactive designers. Every major website, NFL, Yahoo, and ESPN have launched websites strictly devoted to fantasy football They need us! Students who understand graphic and web design. In addition, there is a need for app developers. NFL and ESPN have both recently launched apps to go along with their fantasy football websites. There are going to jobs available to help design, implement, and manage these applications. There is also a need for expertsSo there is a market for designers and especially interactive designers. Every major website, NFL, Yahoo, and ESPN have launched websites strictly devoted to fantasy with social media in this industry. ESPN has discovered a social media tool called TOUT, which allows users to record a 15 second video of them and send it in to the network in a matter of seconds. Other networks have started using this software but the first large network to use it was ESPN and they used it for fantasy football.

Fantasy football is here, and looks like it is here to stay. In addition, if you are in the field of media, communication, and design and are looking for a job then you better start looking in this industry. Fantasy football has launched websites, apps, and even a whole TV dedicated to this genre. Our skills are going to be needed in this industry.

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