Exploring brave new e-worlds for writers

Posts Tagged ‘tablets

It’s all systems go for SXSW

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By Kaye BlumNeon-DontLiveHere

So much for my wild notions of blogging every day from SXSW Interactive – it’s Day 4 and I’ve hardly had a chance to catch my breath. No matter how many tips you read or advice you get on preparing for this mammoth conference, you just don’t realise the scale of it until you’re actually right here in the thick of it!

Highlights so far:

Lean forward, lean back: tablet news experiences (Friday March 8, 2013)
Sara Quinn from the Poynter Institute generously shared their research and statistics on tablet reading behaviours and presented other relevant factoids. Maria Garcia from Garcia Media and Dave Stanton from Smart Media also shared their well-researched and relevant insights on tablet design for news. Notable takeaways: every study they did shows that eyes first go to photos on a tablet page; and no-one wants a tablet news app that looks like a newspaper.

Show and Smell 2: marketing experiences beyond visual (Saturday March 9, 2013)
These happy science boffs gave a great presentation of the latest tech developments in gadgets and devices that enhance the senses. From ‘the scent of your city’ to projected sound beams, it was a fascinating and entertaining presentation. Notable takeaway: non-visual brand cues are often stronger than we realise…Plus, a demo of a tiny wee Instagram image projector that works like an old-school slide projector but is small enough to hide in the palm of your hand. Their presentation can be reviewed at http://www.tmsw.com/sxsw2013.

Exploring place with cross-platform storytelling (Saturday March 9, 2013)
This panel session showcased transmedia and cross-platform film projects that explore place using technologies such as geo-tagging, augmented reality and interactive video. Michel Reilhac’s transmedia project combines scenes from Paris locations in classic films with actual locations in an app with themed walks around the city. It allows you to re-make the film scene and upload it, access information about the film and the location, and more. It is scheduled for release in June 2013 and will be syndicated to cities such as Rome, Berlin and New York. Mike Knowlton from storycode.org MC’d the panel and provided his own valuable insights. Favourite takeaway from this event (a quote from Mike): “All the technology in the world doesn’t mean anything if the story stinks.”

On both Saturday and Sunday I missed several sessions (mostly with mobile themes) due to queues stretching around three quarters of the venue’s block, which was hugely disappointing. There is so much to choose from with so much going on simultaneously – and just so many people – organisers and locals encourage ‘going with the flow’. I’ll give it a shot… But right now I’m off to a panel called How to Measure Social Media, then to my next workshop called Storytelling – the Next Wave of Engagement.


Written by Kaye Blum

March 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Cool new toys at MWF2011

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By Kaye Blum

MWF2011 - New News: Cool New Toys panelists

MWF2011 – New News: Cool New Toys panelists

I’ve just attended my first session at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. Weeks ago, I scoured the program and selected sessions with a technology theme. This session was free and booked out quickly, so I’m glad I got in early. The focus was on iPads and other tablets and their impact on journalism.

The panel comprised David Higgins (News Limited’s innovations editor), Craig Butt (digital producer at Melbourne Press Club), William Powers (media and technology journalist and author of Hamlet’s Blackberry) and Stephen Hutcheon (tablet editor of the Sydney Morning Herald). It was chaired by Swinburne senior lecturer Andrew Dodd.

Craig Butt opened with an overview of some of the most innovative tools for tech-savvy journalists: Tweetdeck; Audioboo, which can record up to five minutes of audio for instant uploading; and Qik, which enables you to upload, tag and share video recordings taken from smartphones.

David Higgins talked about aggregators: Feedly; Storify (which I’ve already used and love); and GoogleFusion, which is used by The Guardian. “Professional journalism is now in the hands of everyday people,” he said. Indeed it is.

Stephen Hutcheon talked about the non-linear nature of tablets, claiming it is a “lean-back device” that solves the problem of the small screen on mobile phones. “Most people are looking at it in bed,” he added. He believes the future is in bespoke app’s such as the one created for Le Tour de France and ABC’s food app. “This is where the real growth prospects are.”

William Powers noted that it’s hard to multi-task on tablets, which he believes is a good thing, because it helps maintain focus (unlike the multiple distractions online). “We need to be more strategic about how we use these tools,” he added.

My favourite quote from this session, from Powers again: “We are at the very beginning of this [digital] revolution… it’s exciting… but we’ve got a long way to go.”

(c) 2011 Kaye Blum.

Written by Kaye Blum

August 26, 2011 at 4:07 am

Seeking writers unbound at MWF 2011

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By Kaye Blum

This year’s Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) is themed ‘Stories Unbound’. It’s a delightfully positive spin on the status quo of the publishing industry as it edges tentatively into the digital era with (hopefully) a little less confusion, fear and foreboding than the music industry experienced not so long ago.

I’ve regularly attended writers’ festivals in various Australian locations including Brisbane, Byron Bay and Melbourne. In recent years there’s usually been a session or two on e-books and what’s going to happen to our beloved paperback.

Much of the focus has been on the current issues facing the publishing and book retail industries. And there are many challenges, including digital rights management (DRM), the different formats required for the range of tablets (or e-readers) available, pricing models and distribution.

You only need to be the owner of a tablet yourself to know the current limitations of the Australian e-book market. And if you are a tablet owner, you’re one of the rapidly growing masses, according to the stats in this promo blurb for AIMIA’s upcoming seminar on Tablet Wars:

“It is forecast that 5.5 million Australians or 3 million households will own a tablet by 2015…. The rate of adoption is twice as fast as smartphones, broadband and other technologies that have preceded it.”

These stats are from Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2011-2015, due for release some time in August 2011, which will include a focus on tablet devices. Hopefully the report will also include some up-to-date statistics on e-book sales compared to printed books in Australia, which I’m currently struggling to find. (If anyone has any data, please be kind and share.)

But there’s no point having the tablet if we don’t have the content. And to me, the tablet is more than just a device to transform a printed book into a PDF. It’s an entirely new world for readers – and writers.

As writers, we are no longer limited to words on paper. With smartphones and tablets, we can integrate sound, moving image, location and real-time interaction from anywhere in the world as narrative devices. Storytelling is literally leaping from the page to become story sharing across media platforms and across the globe.

At this year’s MWF, I want to find out how writers feel about the potential of the e-book. Are they mainly concerned about piracy and how they might protect their hard-earned income? Are they ambivalent about making any kind of change to the structure and methods of their storytelling? Are they interested in developing new skills to explore the possibilities of interactive or non-linear narrative? Do they think the title ‘content creator’ holds less esteem than ‘author’? Are they – like me – excited by the limitless potential of stories unbound?

If you’re a writer of any genre, I’d love to hear what you think.

(c) 2011 Kaye Blum.

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