Being aware of the information we share is an increasingly important consideration in our connected lives. Many of us don’t really think about the digital footprints we leave or what organisations might do with the apparently trivial details they gather when we sign up for new products or services. Many “free” offers are contingent on us handing over personal details and we rarely consider where these end up: if you’re not paying for a digital product, you are the digital product.
If you’re not paying for a digital product, you are the digital product.
Conscious of the normalisation of handing over personal data when signing up for something new online, and to coincide with the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, Play with Learning was commissioned by the UK’s Open University to help develop a game that could tackle the issues. In a first for the OU, we have launched a multiplayer game on Facebook where you can explore the value of information.
Playing a different character and entrusted with various pieces of information in the game, you take turns to share and trade data in an attempt to maximise its value.
The original card game was developed by David Barnard Wills as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Centre (EPSRC) funded Visualisation and Other Methods of Expression (VOME) project, which was based at Cranfield, Royal Holloway and Salford University. We took the basic mechanics and converted it to a competitive online game.
Playing a game on Facebook that explores privacy is novel and ironic and hopefully will encourage us to think about what we should share and what we should keep private.
You can learn more about the OU’s related studies on OpenLearn.
Found this interesting infographic over at Infographic Labs. It says a lot about Twitter except that the average lifespan of a Twitter user is less than 30 days. The numbers belie the fact that it remains dominated a small number of prolific Tweeters.
I’ve been thinking about location-based stories with some very bright students at the University of Bradford [I'm privileged to spend about 10% of my time lecturing]. I thought I would share the simple overview that I gave to them.
As David Polinchock over at FutureLab comments, location-based stories have exists as long as people have told stories but social and mobile media have transformed traditional methods and opened up exciting new possibilities.
There are at least 3 broad categories of new location-based stories:
Static stories are pinned to a single physical location. New York-based Broadcastr sees itself as “an answer to the transient nature of social media” by “unlocking pictures and audio relevant to where you are.” It aims to create an historical archive of stories around the world, in addition to providing instant access to stories happening at the moment. The site allows you to listen to stories tied to specific places as well as share you own tales.
Although you can visit Broadcastr from anywhere via the web, the real impact of it is consuming the stories in situ – the act of standing in setting of the recollections is a powerful emotional experience.
The Street Museum app by the Museum of London does a similar thing with historical photographs linked to places in the UK capital.
Other digital artists have extended this idea to link sites together to create journeys.
Tim Wright‘s ‘Kidmapped‘ is a great example of using technology to retrace some literary steps. The project follows chapters 14–27 of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’ and the story of David Balfour running for his life across the Highlands, sometimes accompanied by tough and rebellious Alan, sometimes pursued by the English army. Tim says that it ” seemed so visceral and exciting to me that I wanted to try it for myself.”
Tim’s blog combines the retelling of the story in the original setting with his own experiences of travelling the path and an invitation to join in either in person along the route or online. It’s a very intimate but accessible insight into the literature that provides a new way of understanding classic literature.
The We Tell Stories initiative by Penguin and Six to Start explores original digital storytelling techniques and one in particular focusses on location-based tales. Chris Cummins’ story The 21 Steps (based on The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan) tells of Rick, a man with a checkered past who finds himself mixed up with a dangerous organization that wants him to smuggle a mysterious vial into Scotland. A blue line traces Rick’s path across satellite images from Google Maps as you work your way through the story by clicking on location markers.
The Langwitches blog has some very useful instructions on using Google Maps for digital storytelling.
Stories don’t have to stay in real world locations to encourage travelling: the web provides a treasure trove of places to visit. Bernie Dodge coined the phrase “WebQuest” to describe a structured online exploration across multiple sites and it’s as good a term as any to talk about virtual location-based stories. Although mainly used to define consciously educational activities, the framework offers an interesting way of linking virtual sites into a coherent story. Random House’s The Da Vinci webquest is a simple example of how a multitude of websites and related activities can be tied together but still it’s more of a treasure hunt that a ‘proper’ story (that is, one that enjoys any of Aristotle’s Six Elements). I’d love to hear of better examples.
One of the questioned raised during the session was whether placing a story in its actual setting detracts from its ability to fire the imagination. Its an interesting thought. All too often new technologies are used lazily as a shortcut to ‘novelty;’ we’re left feeling dissatisfied by superficial projects that haven’t undergone the rigour associated with tradition forms of ‘published’ media. For me, the real potential for location-based stories is in their ability to make experiences deeper and more moving – and that’s worth working at.
This infographic from Technobombs is describes the differences between Facebook and Google+ very elegantly.
The ease of connecting with the world through social media doesn’t always compensate for a lack of discernment. The proliferation of channels means that we are inundated with options but often ignore the choice not to post at all. This graphic from iStudio describes the decision tree beautifully.
Upwards social mobility reduces stress – Journal of Epidemiology & Community Heath http://j.mp/nJfdO9
UC Research Points to Best Practices to Reduce Recidivism http://j.mp/pQCNVc
Socioeconomic status as child dictates response to stress as adult according to University of Minnesota http://j.mp/qDZRZ8
High technology, not low taxes, may drive states’ economic growth. Penn State research. http://j.mp/iqX536
Death by Poverty? The effect of wealth and education on mortality. Study by Mailman School http://j.mp/jiAGoT
More evidence that the tax & benefit changes are hitting the poor hardest. From the Institute For Fiscal Studies http://j.mp/iDaUat
Youth cybercrime linked to friends’ influence from Michigan State University http://j.mp/iBAKm3
Some of the social media articles that have caught my eye in the last few weeks:
People will more pay for online privacy according Carnegie Mellon study. http://j.mp/rsLc9U
Parents behaviour on Facebook no better than their children’s. University of Guelph http://j.mp/pqDxrI
Five ways to spot a social-media veteran http://sbne.ws/r/6cdF
Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Someone’s Twitter Account: http://bit.ly/mdxN7e
Teenage web habits: slaves to social networking but not so keen on apps, according to article in Guardian http://bit.ly/qiXS0f
Video on social media facts and figures from Erik Qualman http://j.mp/lI7jbn
9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+ http://bit.ly/mfPfZ3
Text message support for smokers doubles quit rates. From the Lancet. http://j.mp/k9CmP7
Twitter Chats Reveal the Future of Online Communities from TalentCulture.com http://j.mp/ktXMik
BBC Worldwide testing Facebook Credits to pay to watch classic Dr Who episodes http://bit.ly/ol45XD
Murdoch: the network defeats the hierarchy. Comment from the BBC http://j.mp/qP0EHa
You Are What You Tweet: Tracking Public Health Trends from Twitter Messages study from Johns Hopkins University http://j.mp/mOrquz
NIMH initiative · Thinking Globally to Improve Mental Health http://j.mp/rlhzjR
Smartphone app from Ohio State Uni helps you find friends in a crowd http://j.mp/jdvwVp
MIT developed tool to help teachers share best practice. http://j.mp/kIMt16
Some of the recent articles I’ve seen about about multiplatform, transmedia and technology:
Ed Cotton: We Need Creative Hybrids – Why Transmedia Is Becoming Mandatory http://j.mp/jHZLQv
Defining Transmedia http://j.mp/ljJ5by
Jeff Gomez – Storyworlds: The New Transmedia Business Paradigm http://j.mp/lJQqyK
How transmedia projects can help you make money http://bit.ly/jB4fdf
A Simple Way to Throw Applications Between Your Computer and Your Phone, While They’re Running | Popular Science http://j.mp/kOBgSS
British Library launch classic book reading app. From BBC News http://j.mp/kXcym3
Kinect, Wii U, 3D and the future of the living room: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13695160
Disney Tactile Device Lets Games and Movies Literally Send Chills Down Your Spine | Popular Science http://j.mp/ilonmP
Some of the articles about children and childhood that I’ve seen in the last few weeks:
Wanted: More Playful Parents http://j.mp/mII7ph
Supportive home learning experiences in the early years boost low-income children’s readiness for school. From NYU. http://j.mp/j3JmWs
Parents prefer media content ratings system in national study led by Iowa State Uni http://j.mp/jS7Psd
Coney center reports on children and media: joanganzcooneycenter.org/Reports.html
Young adults struggle with online political participation. From Penn State U http://j.mp/mTGyLk
According to research from Ohio, young adults get self-esteem boost from debt http://j.mp/lr3s30
Good youth programs help teens learn to think strategically according to study at Illinois http://j.mp/mEATwz
Some articles about social media from the last couple of weeks:
Don’t Believe Facebook; You Only Have 150 Friends : NPR http://j.mp/ljMBjP
The way Facebook changes relationships by Benjamin Cohen from C4 news http://j.mp/k0T0re
Dangers of social groupthink: A case study in Enterprise 2.0, Social CRM and Social Business | CustomerThink http://j.mp/lPberE
6 reasons not to have a Facebook page http://j.mp/inmuw5
Take a holiday from your networks http://gu.com/p/2pact/ip
Disconnecting in a too-connected world – BusinessWeek http://j.mp/lWT1uN
Facebook’s face recognition technology (and how to turn it off): http://bbc.in/iSSRjC
Don’t Be a Weiner (or a Loser): Think Before You Post from Retrevo http://j.mp/mtwLZL
Digital authorship, computers and writing http://j.mp/lMdonc
Independent Author Sells 1 Million Ebooks via Amazon http://t.co/eNCyGeO
Anonymization remains strong tool for protecting privacy according to Canadian research. http://j.mp/m6Fygq
7 objections to social media in learning (and answers) from Donald Clark http://j.mp/kponiI
How social media and game mechanics can motivate students – http://on.mash.to/ieEOyQ
TED launches new platform for TEDx talks – beautiful way to discover the world’s top thinkers http://j.mp/my9gAn
Facebook Sees Big Traffic Drops in US and Canada as It Nears 700 Million Users Worldwide http://j.mp/k6LSOV
Interesting tool from RAND to use social media to collect and analyse expert opinion http://j.mp/m9JKsy
Online crime and sexual partner surveys ‘biased’ from BBC News http://j.mp/mxdIQd
Iceland’s Citizens Are Writing Its New Constitution Online from Popular Science http://j.mp/kb2MLw
So much for digital democracy: New Berkeley study finds elite viewpoints dominate online content http://j.mp/jaw6vm
Carlton is the founder of Play with Learning. He has a PhD in the design, development and deployment of game-based learning resources. Complementing his academic background, Carlton has years of practical experience at the BBC and independent media companies producing and commissioning world class and award-winning media for the likes of the United Nations, BBC, National College for School Leadership, Open University and the Victoria & Albert museum.