Monthly Archives: March 2012
House Shoots Down Legislation That Would Have Stopped Employers From Demanding Your Facebook Password
Well, that didn't take long. A proposed Facebook user protection amendment introduced yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives has already been shot down. The legislation, offered by Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter, would have added new restrictions to FCC rules that would have prohibited employers from demanding workers' social networking usernames and passwords.
The final vote was 236 to 184…
Just when I thought I was being original, I decided to do some research and found out I was beaten to the punch a long time ago. I guess there really are no new ideas.
Have you ever heard of one, or followed one? Do you have any recommendations?
I’ll admit that I was going to come in here with a brand new idea, but that’ll learn me to get all hubrissy. I don’t think that’s a word, but I could make it a hashtag! #hubrissy!
So anyway, the written word is constantly evolving, and our access to social media and the Internet has changed how writers disseminate their message. There are entire websites dedicated to fan-written stories, some of them only a few paragraphs long, others are long-reaching series of novels. They put them up for free, out of the love of the craft. Now, they’re aren’t all well-written or well-edited (some authors even argue illegal), but some fanfiction writers have significant followings.
There are self-publishing websites for original works as well. The Internet is not comprised entirely of the redistribution of other people’s ideas.
But around 2003, long before Twitter, an idea came out of Japan called keitai shousetsu, quite literally “mobile phone novel.” These are novels that are published via text message. The story evolves one text at a time. It became so popular that one story even became a movie!
So now it’s moved to Twitter, but it hasn’t been nearly as successful.
But it begs an interesting question, doesn’t it? It seems to appear that a market for a story delivered 140 characters at a time isn’t really that strong. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s an idea that’s already dead in the water. Early adopters tried it, and failed, and Twitter novels (Twovels?) never took off. But were these Twitter novelists using the tech to its fullest potential? It’s easy enough to rebroadcast a regular novel– just reduce every post to fit the required character limit and publish at a reasonable interval. Simple. But you’re not really using Twitter so much as just confining your story to 140 characters at a time for no reason.
Can you visualize a Twitter novel that keeps up with appropriate hashtags and posts pictures and videos as well as text? Imagine a Twitter novel where real time interactions can help shape the story. Where every hashtag, mention and retweet is carefully thought out and used as a literary device. Perhaps spreading the tale across multiple accounts, so each main character has his or her own account with an aggregate account that centralizes the whole thing.
At that point, would it be a novel or would it be performance art?
*NOTE: This article is SPOILER FREE*
Canadian game developer BioWare is famous for making games that allow players to choose their own endings. But what happens when gamers don’t like the ending?
(Here’s the bit where I add in two disclaimers:
1) The game in question, Mass Effect 3, has more than one ending. Most of the complaints revolve around the ‘best’ or ‘ideal’ ending.
2) I haven’t beaten Mass Effect 3 yet. Nobody spoil it for me!)
This controversy has been stirring since a few days after Mass Effect 3′s release (March 6th) and was reignited last week when the studio said it would change the ending. Obviously it’s something that is now within the realm of technical possibility through online updates. But just because you can do it, does that mean you should?
Hours and hours of work went into writing, developing, and producing Mass Effect 3. It is the product it was meant to be. Fans may not be 100% thrilled with it, but you can’t keep coming up with a slightly revised version each month in an effort to please everyone.
There’s that old saying about how if you try to please everyone you’ll succeed in pleasing no one, but I think it runs deeper than that.
Social media and fan interaction and listening to your fans is a great thing. I’m not refuting that. But this is like George Lucas changing Star Wars Episode 4 so Greedo shot first. And worst of all, he did that years after the movie was released. This is being done so quickly the only way I might be able to see the ending as originally intended is through Youtube!
The point I’m trying to make is that just because you can crowd source things doesn’t mean you need to crowd source everything in this digital age. If you’re going to do it, be upfront about it and don’t do it weeks later (or years later). Stick to your guns and have faith in the product as it was originally created (unless you want to fix bugs or serious flaws with the game…and there are plenty of those Bioware!). It can’t be piecemeal, and you can’t give some fans (early adopters, in this case) preference over others. It’s great that your fans are so emotionally invested in the games that they are disappointed with the ending because it didn’t fulfill their every need and desire. That doesn’t mean you need to appeal to their every whim. Ultimately, Bioware is the professional game studio and it’s their story. Could you imagine interrupting an author or narrator in the middle of a book and telling them you don’t like it and they need to change certain things? Of course you’re allowed to have your own opinions and ideas, but then that story would be your story not the work of its creator.
I’d love your feedback on this issue, whether you’re playing through Mass Effect 3 or not right now.
Should media publishers and content creators bow to fan demands if they feel there’s an issue with the end product? Or, should the artists/writers/etc. only make those types of changes if fans are involved the whole way through? Or should they ignore them altogether and stand by the product they’ve created? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.