Justin.TV – Lifecasting, the new(?) big thing

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Justin.tv is a site streaming video 24 hours a day of Justin’s life. Here’s a little background:

Eleven days ago, 23-year-old Justin Kan was just another no-name startup guy with big dreams of the small screen. Then he and his friends launched Justin.tv, an Internet reality show chronicling their adventures as young San Francisco entrepreneurs that, at least for now, is proving to be a smash hit with online viewers.

Kan calls it “lifecasting.” The concept is simple: Using technology his team developed, Kan has strapped a camera to his head to capture every moment of his existence in live streaming video on the Internet. Viewers literally see the world through Kan’s virtual eyes, which broadcast his life onto the Web 24/7. He interacts with his audience through 21 chat rooms and hundreds of e-mails each day. He even took their calls on his cell phone until he got overwhelmed.

Well, this concept is not something new, given the success of Jennicam, Anacam, and numerous other camgirls who led the way with lifecasting some 11 years ago or so. My colleague Terri Senft has a book coming out later this year about camgirls actually, as this was the subject of her PhD thesis.

But Justin.TV is more of a business venture – with making money and launching a company the prime goal. It doesn’t seem nearly quite so interesting or “researchable” to me because it lacks the honesty of the other sites which were there solely to lifecast, and not to make money. But what is interesting is the phenomenon of spectatorship, and even in the screenshot I took above where I was watching Justin apparently on a date, one of the viewers in the TV room with me said this was more interesting than TV.

GooTube Conspiracy: Collaborative Video Storytelling

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The GooTube Conspiracy is a very funny collaborative video storytelling concept developed by popular YouTuber, Nalts. Here’s a great description from the info site:

YouTube Users Spoof Google’s Acquisition of YouTube With Fake Kidnapping Story

Online video creators are collaborating on the first viral video series that exposes a fictional “GooTube” Conspiracy. The series was initiated by one person, and has evolved into a collaborative storyline. YouTube video creators — who have never met — are participating in the plotline by posting new videos and advancing the plotline.

Philadelphia, PA — December 14, 2006

In an increasingly popular “underground” movement by active members of the YouTube video community, a collaborative plotline has emerged that depicts Google and YouTube conspiring for media domination. The story, “The GooTube Conspiracy,” began when one YouTube user posted a video claiming he was kidnapped by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. Other YouTube creators began submitting unsolicited videos that developed the conspiracy story. Most of the creators have never worked together or even met each other.

“We’re experimenting with a new narrative art form,” says Kevin Nalty, who plays “Nalts,” a character desperately fleeing from YouTube and Google. “I’ve been amazed by how instantly people get engrossed in the storyline and take it in new directions.”

This is very exciting – even if the story doesn’t grab you, the concept is just wonderful.

And here’s a trailer for Series 2:

Inanimate Alice

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Thanks to Jess, I discovered the amazing multimedia graphic novel, Inanimate Alice. Not only is it one of the best pieces of flash fiction I have ever seen, but it’s suitable for children!!!! Hallelujah!!!! The following review explains it better than I could:

‘Inanimate Alice’ is a series of unique kinetic experiences: part game, part novel, part movie that depicts the life of a girl growing up in the early years of the 21st century. Set across ten increasingly interactive episodes the story of games animator Alice is told using a combination of text, sound, music and images.

So far, 3 episodes are available, and they’re just breathtaking in aesthetics and design. Here are a couple more screenshots:

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Go check it out!! It’s amazing!! The narrative is wonderful and did I mention that it is suitable for using in a classroom with kids!? Guess what’s going to be included in all of my post-grad courses and workshops with teachers from now on?

Rock You Experiment

My wordpress account doesn’t let me embed slideshare presentations, and the splashcast software, I have been informed, has a “bug” that they are working on. So I have resorted to using Rock You to embed my slide shows… it’s very teenybopper – MySpace ish but… here it is :) I got to include music and flashing lips…. *laughs* Enjoy!


| View Show | Create Your Own

Romanticism and Second Life Fashion

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Having an avatar has made me much more aware of fashion, the fashioned body, and the relationship between fashion and identity. I think spaces like Second Life where the customisation of the avatar is a constant fascination (which drives the thriving fashion industry) prompt us to become more reflective about fashion and the body as a visual metaphor for identity. The virtual space is also a romantic space which is somewhat dreamlike, a space for imaginary illusions, sensual delight and fiction. It is a playful space. Even when I am teaching inside Second Life (or maybe especially when I am teaching) I play with my avatar’s appearance to stimulate student discussion about these ideas. Sometimes I seek authenticity in my appearance when the gaze is external (like my TV appearance last year) but more often than not I enjoy the indulgence of being playful, and changing my skin / hair / clothes / shoes on a daily basis. Joanne Entwhistle in The Fashioned Body says:

[The] restless Romantic spirit, this indulgence in dreams and fantasies, is what drives fashion.

She also argues that fashion is way of shaping our identities in a way which helps to stabilise our sense of self in a time when identities are increasingly fragmented and fractured. So maybe those of us who are enjoying “playing dress up” as much as I am are actually doing much more than meets the eye – we’re finding that the avatar simultaneously provides us with not only the freedoms and pleasures of playing out our fantasies, but are also a way of dealing with the chaos in our everyday lives.

PS: My rose coloured glasses are also magical: they tell me when my friends come online, they announce when other people approach, and they help me fly fast and high. And the very nice man that made them also customised them especially for me so I could wear my eyelashes at the same time. At one level I sit back and laugh at myself and the investment I have in my avatar. At another level I try to theorise about it. But at the deepest, most honest level, I just enjoy it and don’t care anymore about trying to justify it!

NMC Online Conference: Convergence of Video and Web Culture

Well, the NMC online conference is over and what an interesting experience it was to present in a new way. I’ve really enjoyed the conference talks and guest lectures I’ve given in Second Life, so I wasn’t certain how a java platform would go, but actually it worked great! Here’s a screenshot of me in action:

NMCKeynote

It’s very interesting really – using the Elluminate platform, which a very nice guy named Mike gave me training to use at midnight one night during the week (it’s all a blur now) – and the shot above shows its capabilities.

The powerpoint slides are shown in the main panel, as were the videos I showed, the audio streamed through simply by pressing the microphone button at the bottom left, and the list of live audience members at top left. Most interesting is the middle left panel of live discussion which scrolls through during the presentation – a side channel of conversation around the talk, and responses and questions along the way.

I really liked the idea of the side channel but when speaking it was a little difficult to follow. So I went back to the recording of the talk and watched the conversation later! It was great that they did a screen recording of each keynote because it meant I didn’t have to get up at 4am to attend! I listened to Cynthia Calongne give a wonderful talk about machinima, and Henry Jenkins speaking about participatory culture and YouTube. Here’s a shot from Henry’s talk:

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It was wonderful! I also have to say that I found it very exciting to speak to a new and quite different audience than I usually do (Literacy / English / Linguistics). When I was first invited I felt rather intimidated at the thought of addressing the NMC audience because these people are all at the leading edge of new media studies (and therefore would have extremely high expectations and would know so much more than me!). But actually I think it was very rewarding and it made me spend twice as much time as usual in my thinking / reading / preparation for the presentation.

CKin2U in SL – I sneak in for a preview

Further to my posts about the perfume CKin2U launching in Second Life soon, I snuck into the sim before the launch to check it out. It’s a beautiful area with lovely builds, and fun, frothy, sexy freebies. If I could think of a good idea for the photograph competition and win a million Lindens then I’d be able to pay off my credit card and be very happy indeed!!

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Evocative Spaces and Aesthetic Grabs (My YouTube Talk)

Click the image to go to the slides for my talk at the NMC’s Online Conference on the Convergence of Web Culture and Video

A complete list of all videos mentioned in the talk are included “under the fold”.

Continue reading

“Sexy, texty” CKin2U coming to SL

Wow, less than 2 weeks since I mentioned the perfume CKin2U and their marketing campaign, they have now announced their launch in Second Life. They are entering with a bang too, holding a photography contest with a winning prize of 1 million Lindens!!! (That’s about USD$3,500) Here is the press release:

CK fragrances Makes ‘Scents’ in Second Life
Calvin Klein will be the first global fragrance brand to launch in the virtual world of Second Life, with the new ck IN2U fragrances for him & for her.

Residents and visitors to Second Life (www.secondlife.com) will be able to visit the ck IN2U site to pick up virtual bottles of the new ck fragrances, connect with other in-world virtual partners by spraying them with fizzing fragrance bubbles to initiate dialogue – and use specially modified ck graffiti bottles to express themselves and whatever they or their friends are ‘in 2′. UK consumers who want a sniff of the real thing will be able to click through to the www.ckin2u.com to request a free ‘real world’ sample.

Situated on Avalon, the first island in Second Life to command a real-world land value, ck is also launching the ‘what are you in 2?’ photography competition and gallery, offering Avatars, the inhabitants of Second Life, the chance to post a ‘snapshot’ of any image that inspires them in the virtual world. Entries can be uploaded daily in the ck IN2U gallery and the winner will become a millionaire…in Second Life anyway, taking the 1,000,000 Linden $ prize money.

Launching in the real world on 21st March ck IN2U targets a generation that is being defined by the freedom that technology created to connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world…or in the virtual world!

“ck IN2U speaks the language of a generation connected by technology – the aptly named technosexuals, a term that Calvin Klein has trademarked,” says Lori Singer, VP of Global Marketing, Calvin Klein Fragrances. “They are the first generation to be defined more by their means of communication rather than fashion or music.”

Justin Bovington, CEO River Runs Red, creative agency behind ck IN2U build, “We’re really excited about ck IN2U coming into Second Life, the bottles contain a myriad of goodies and surprises. Second Life is a great place for this launch, it’s almost like its coming home.

ck IN2U – the fragrances for him and for her – Spontaneous – Sexy – Connected

Like all CK fragrances, IN2U for him and for her are both easy to wear and very sexy.

The name is sexy, texty and refers directly about people who are connected and into each other.

The ck IN2U bottles take their cue from the world of generation Y – the colour evokes the IPOD and the electronics of this technosexual generation.

www.ckin2u.com

(Thanks to Mathieu for the link! Oh yeah… Mathieu gave up his “real” – or maybe I should say “daytime” or “former” – job a couple of months ago because he’s now making more money with his SL business. Amazing, isn’t it.)

Ysabellabrave: Youtube’s New Star

This woman is amazing, she’s like a 1940s screen Goddess.

I’ve been busy all weekend doing research and preparation for my talk about youtube and identity on Thursday (Australian time, that is).  When I discovered Ysabella along the way, I became an instant fan.  I would totally buy her music!  I expect to read about some acting or recording deal any day now.

Sam Has 7 Friends: Video Podcast Fiction

I really like this new piece of digital fiction – Sam Has 7 Friends. Season one happened at the end of 2006, and there are rumours of a season 2 later this year. The story behind it is fascinating:

“Sam Has 7 Friends” is completely self-financed by the four writer/directors and one producer. They are spending their own personal savings to produce the series and are distributing it for free.

There is no corporate money, sponsorship, or advertising revenue subsidizing the project. The post-roll click-thru advertisements you see at the end of each episode are brought to you by Revver and not SH7F. By clicking on the ad, SH7F and Revver receive literally pennies of revenue – but it is nothing compared to the financial commitment already made by the creators.

This series is the product of hundreds of favors, a budget of less than $50,000, and help from many talented and professional friends behind each episode. It is a show built from the ground up in a passionate attempt to bring a quality production to the internet.

I’ve started watching it and am enjoying it – its so much better than the other attempts I’ve seen at storytelling in tiny bits (i.e. some of the mobile phone fiction and web fiction I’ve looked at in the past). I am so amazed at how many video sharing sites and new forms of “internet tv” channels are just mushrooming all over the place. As I’ve been preparing for my conference presentation next week I have literally been overwhelmed by how much is out there, and every time I think I have something significant to say, I find a new site or a new channel which takes me into new directions of thought and theorising.

Australian Musicians in Second Life; Broadcast Live on Virtual TV Channel

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Thanks to Christy, I was alerted to the launch of a Second Life virtual television channel, Second Life Cable Network. This network is streaming live events from inside Second Life, and todays big event was a special Australian “hoe-down” featuring a number of Australian bands performing live. I watched for a few minutes on the web tv stream, then decided I had to go inside SL myself for my big chance to get on tv!! More details can be found at Cattle Puppy Productions.

Here are some shots from the event:

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I wish I’d had more time to listen but when these events occur in the middle of my work day, its a little difficult to hang around unfortunately!

What I think is really interesting is the convergence of web culture and video… oh wait, isn’t that the name of the online conference I’m speaking at next week?  I’d better get back to writing that paper!!!

MySpace and LiveVideo Collaboration

I received the following press release inside Second Life about Tila Tequila – from a rep from Big Brother Agency, Endemol. Above is a snippet from the single released on youtube.

ENDEMOL AND INGROOVES STRIKE GROUNDBREAKING PARTNERSHIPS WITH MYSPACE SUPERSTAR TILA TEQUILA;

INTERNET QUEEN SIGNS TO UNITED TALENT AGENCY FOR ALL REPRESENTATION;

MYSPACE AND LIVEVIDEO TO BE KEY MARKETING COLLABORATORS;

TILA’s Debut Single and Video “I Love U” set for worldwide Digital-Only Release

Los Angeles, CA ——- The No. 1 girl on MySpace is set to become the No. 1 girl in the music industry. On February 27, 2007, Internet sensation TILA TEQUILA, who has over 1.6 million friends and half a billion page views on MySpace, is releasing her debut single and music video “I Love U” in a unique way – as an independent, digital-only, global release.

Managed by Strategic Artist Management in Los Angeles and newly signed to United Talent Agency for all areas of representation, TILA has struck a partnership with global entertainment producer Endemol and digital label/distributor INgrooves for a worldwide first – an all digital release of the single and video from the MySpace superstar.

“I’m incredibly excited to have some of the most amazing partners in the US and internationally who understand my vision of trying to do things differently,” TILA TEQUILA says.

The video, a co-production by Endemol and TILA made specifically for the small screen, has been available exclusively on mobile phones around the world since February 14. The single, produced by multi-platinum-selling producer Lil Jon, will be available for an exclusive pre-release through iTunes and then March 13th to the rest of the Internet universe. iTunes will offer the video as a free bonus with the 99 cent U.S. download (prices vary by territory) of the song during the initial two weeks on sale.

Michiel de Gooijer at Endemol comments: “What makes this partnership so significant is that it plugs fans directly into the artist in every possible way. We’ve already had international success working with the music industry and mobile operators on our ‘Get Close To…’ format and this new deal represents another step forward in this area. TILA’s video is tailor made for the small screen and is the kind of rich content that takes mobile entertainment to the next level.”

This is the first ever music video for Endemol, whose credits include global television sensations such as Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. The production company continued its legacy of breaking new ground by premiering the video simultaneously around the world via mobile phones. “I Love U” is available on deck via Sprint USA, O2 UK, Vodafone Netherlands and many others. Endemol is handling direct worldwide distribution of the video and working with San Francisco based INgrooves on the online and mobile release of other assets. Further announcements are expected shortly.

In the US, TILA’s video premier is available exclusively for Sprint subscribers with a Sprint Power Vision phone on the lifestyle channel “Fast Lane,” operated by mobile media power house Versaly.

“We have always envisioned one day working with an artist like TILA, whose fan base is almost entirely digitally based,” said Robb McDaniels, INgrooves’ CEO. “More and more major label caliber artists like TILA are using the Internet and mobile networks to connect more directly with their fans, and INgrooves’ global digital distribution platform and marketing experience support this effort in a cost effective manner.”

MySpace, the launch pad for TILA’s fame is a key marketing partner for the launch of this new model.

Since premiering in mid-February, TILA’s music related and lifestyle videos have been viewed over 1.35 million times on Livevideo.com, another key marketing partner.

ABOUT ENDEMOL
Endemol (Euronext; EML) is a global leader in television and other audiovisual entertainment. The Company creates premium entertainment ideas and sells them to the world’s leading broadcasters. Endemol then produces these shows to the highest standards, creating hits with strong brand value. Subsequently, the company exploits the value of its brands across other media and communications platforms, including, for example, mobile phones and the nternet. In addition to Big Brother, recent international successes include Get Close To…, an interactive made-for-mobile format that allows fans unique access to their favorite band, and interact with them. Endemol, with its head office in Hilversum, the Netherlands, now has subsidiaries and joint ventures in 25 countries, including the UK, the US, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Latin America, India, South Africa and Australia. Endemol is a publicly traded company on Eurolist by Euronext Amsterdam. For more information, please visit www.endemol.com.

About INgrooves
Isolation Network is a digital media distribution and publishing company that provides various distribution and marketing services via its INgrooves and ONE Digital divisions. ONE Digital provides distribution and administration to large distributors and labels at rates far below the industry standard and INgrooves provides clients customized distribution, marketing, promotion, synch licensing and administrative support to help maximize the earnings potential of specific releases or catalogues. For more information, check out www.ingrooves.com or www.theonedigital.com.

About MySpace.com
MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media Inc., is the premier lifestyle portal for connecting with friends, discovering popular culture, and making a positive impact on the world. By integrating web profiles, video, mobile communications, instant messaging and more, MySpace has created a global connected community with a wide array of communication choices. As the world’s top-ranked web domain in terms of page views*, MySpace is the most widely-used and highly-regarded site of its kind. MySpace’s international network includes localized community sites in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Australia, Italy, and Ireland. (*Among the top 2000 domains comScore Media Metrix, December 2006. For more information on comScore Networks, please go to www.comscore.com.)

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Contact:

TILA TEQUILA
Marcee Rondan
MSO
(818) 380-0400
Marcee@msopr.com

Endemol
Charlie Gardner
+44 (0) 7977 075 643
Charlie.Gardner@Endemol.com

INgrooves
Paloma Belara
PR, INgrooves
(415) 896-2100
paloma@ingrooves.com

Heather Wilson
Weber Shandwick
(310) 854-8244
hwilson@webershandwick.com

Playful Crossings Between Reality and Fantasy

There are so many examples now where pop culture – as exemplified by fiction, fantasy, play and fun – are being incorporated into mainstream and real events or texts. We seem to be undergoing a change in attitude towards pop culture, where fiction, fantasy, play or parody operate within and for truth and reality. The two are conflated more often. Sometimes they work fabulously, but other times they really miss the mark. Here are just a few examples – see if you can determine which ones work, and why this might so!

Example 1: The Devil Wears Prada, showcasing the character based on Anna Wintour, is then used to illustrate points made through an interview with Anna Wintour.

Example 2: The video clip to Lily Allen’s song “Smile” is turned in “Simlish” and a machinima is created using The Sims to perform a re-appropriation of the song.

Example 3: Nalts, a popular youtuber, makes a parody about the Blackberry for the entertainment of his youtube videoblog viewers. BBC pick up his parody and use it to discuss the evil effects of technology in the world.

Example 4: Boh3m3, a popular youtuber, trashes Australian vegemite, a local new station airs a prime time report about it, and Boh3m3 fights back.

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