Last Friday I attended the X Media Lab, Global Media Ideas Conference 2012 as part of the Vivid Festival in Sydney. I heard about the event from a friend of mine and thought it looked too good an opportunity to pass up!
As someone who is new to X Media Lab, I had no idea what to expect from my very first Global Media Ideas conference. I spoke with others there who had been going for the last decade. You can find out more information about X Media Lab here.
The conference was a one day event bringing together a diversity of speakers from around the world who spoke on a range of topics in the creative and digital media industries. In all there were 15 speakers (a lot to fit in one day!) so I will give a brief overview of each presentation. I have to say that the format of the conference reminded me of a TEDx event. Each speaker had something unique to contribute so it’s hard to not include them all here.
After a warming ‘Welcome to Country’ and opening address by the NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon Andrew Stoner, the first speaker was Kenneth Hertz, Hollywood Entertainment and New Media Lawyer. Kenneth opened his presentation by examining the role digitising photography had on the collapse of Kodak. What would have happened to Kodak if they invented Instagram? It’s certainly an interesting proposition in light of Instagram’s popularity and move across onto Android. Now that anyone with a digital camera or smartphone has the tools to take great photos can professional photographers still make money?
Kenneth also went onto to examine how digitising music has changed the nature of that industry. With the enormous amount of music out there, how do consumers decide what they want to listen to and how do artists get heard above everyone else they are competing against? An interesting point I got from this was that while selling music itself is not necessarily profitable (how many celebrities do we know of that are endorsing products), using music to sell something else is far more successful.
The next speaker was Ian Charles Stewart, co-founder of ‘Wired’ magazine and venture philanthropist. At the heart of Ian’s message was that no matter what we do (even if our venture is for profit) we need to have fun doing it and also do something genuinely good. Technologies improve and change the way we engage with the world and as such enterprise can transform our engagement with each other.
Corvida Raven is the creator of SheGeeks.net. I really enjoyed her incredibly simple message that digital media equals participatory media, ie, social media democratises online conversations. Corvida passionately made the case that we need to engage with the ‘voices on the edge’ of our networks by creating new pathways to conversing with a new audience. How do we get through to someone else’s network?
The barriers to participation in social media are virtually non-existent, so the flow of information is constant. So to bring people in from the edges, you need to reach out with content relevant to them; be unique in your perspective; and don’t be afraid to share your voice and opinions by engaging the existing and available social media platforms. And I completely agree.
We next heard from Stephen Baty, Principal at Meld Studios and the concept of ‘interactive design’. Because of advances in the digital world, interaction is no longer static and action / reaction becomes more complex.
Stephen argues that we need to be designing technology for the way that people want to act (removing barriers to use and engagement); and that understanding behavioural insights can make or break a business, product or campaign. The excellent example used here is how Wii Fit changed the way we use game consoles by removing the need to use, or even be good at a game controller.
Next up was Michael Naimark. He showed us Viewfinder – a tool to ‘Flickrise’ Google Earth. Here is a video of it below. You can also find more information here.
I’ll cover the rest of the day in the next couple of posts.