I love information, I think it inherent in the human psyche, the want, need and permeation of information are the things that drive our species. In the Amazon delta or the Kenyan savannah information and communication can prevent one falling prey to hidden predators, in the information age it can mean the death of your income and ego if you do not use information to your advantage. And we now have so much access to so much information at any given moment that it is hard to imagine how much this has changed the world. From tribal fires to the Manzetti / Bell problem, communication and the exchange of information has been a constant human pursuit and investment of our time and technology.
One side effect of the advent of high-speed broadband is that for all and a myriad of varying communication methods we have developed for ourselves our fickle society has had its attention span effectively shelved. Many people cannot sit through a ninety minute film without needing to take a phone call. While watching the social network last year my eye was drawn to a shining five inch square three rows ahead, what did I see on that screen? Irony of ironies; a girl checking facebook.
Information flows thick and fast, news of last years earthquake in Los Angeles reached citizens outside the epicentre before the quake itself via twitter feeds and widespread rumor mongering is said to have caused a myriad of problems in controlling the riots in London recently. The market leaders of consumable media (music, literature, games) have long been in the know regarding their fans necessity for information and have thusly catered their marketing to a whole new level focused on drip feeding. Almost every album release today allows fans to hear if not download a track or two as a sample of what is to come. The aim is to whet your appetite and drum up any available support because in reality we are in an age where the prevalence of media and its free availability is killing hype through inundation of information. The question for big bands, games developers and publishing houses now is what to reveal and when, giving the consumer just enough to keep them hooked but not too much that it saturates the necessity for the full release.
Even advertising itself has become smarter, taking a solid grip on the zeitgeist of little and often information and adding a new level of consumer addiction to the mix. Companies such as 42 entertainment (responsible for the Dark knight and Year zero campaigns) have carved a niche in the advertising market in building what has become known as ARG’s (Alternative Reality Games) which, while advertising a product through small hidden clues in websites and real world events also create anticipation by having the consumer become part of the lead in to the product. I would wholly recommend following at least one ARG if you find a film, game or movie that you are interested in that is running one, they are a truly enjoyable, immersive community experiences.
This new regime of slow-and-often information publication is not something that should be thought of as unique to the large industry model simply because of the numbers drawn in by major releases, drip feed information and tangible connection to dedicated fans can mean life or death to the smallest of grassroots creative outputs. No matter what your production is, it is imperative to keep any point of attention locked down with a stream of useful and insightful information. With all the capabilities of communication at ones fingertips it is in the creative types best interests to keep strong links with those who have and will provide future support for a project, simply put if you give people nothing they have no reason to stay interested in what you are hoping to pass into the work upon completion. It takes almost no time to render off a quick image or sample of your progress or to post a quick 140 character update on twitter.
No matter how inane your ambling on the subject of your current creative process, the minimum knowledge that said project is still in the working can calm the water of what may seem to be very persistent bunch of followers. Fans, no matter how insistent on constant publication, are a creative’s lifeblood; the people who decide if your creativity thrives or dies. Without people at the receiving end waiting expectantly for what you have to show for your time and effort, you are essentially letting your talents and voice fall on deaf ears. Community and connection are the true staple to the survival and propagation of your product and name in modern media terms, be sure to take the time to appease your respective community during the process.
So while decimating our attention spans and saturating us into obscurity it has also never been a better time or market finding likeminded fans to provide support for a project whether that’s having 100 downloads of a free track from soundcloud or having people collectively contribute $50,000 for a statue of Robocop.
Our communication age has brought us closer together, closer to news and information that shapes the way we think about the world outside of our usual experience, closer to a return to true communities, digitally connected across oceans by a web of wires and ideas. Closer to things we never knew existed, closer to art and literature and ventures set up and produced by real people. Closer to fans and supporters through the tools of a modern age enabling us to share that precious commodity that is information, about our lives, our work and our appreciation.