Telephone in the Toilet: Seeing the World Through a Transmedia Lense!

A couple of days ago I was hanging out in the Pitman caf, eating some sub-par soup, when my sister came bursting in with an odd set of demands: “I need your vacuum, your watch, and to download Tinder onto your phone.” Mysterious, no?!

In fact, not quite! She had simply dropped her phone in the toilet. (Tragically L) BUT alternatively this could be an intriguing start to a transmedia property! It’s like the start of a mystery: get all your twitter followers guessing what the items are for. If they find her Tinder profile there will be a secret clue waiting there (Saying that if you want to meet up with her, she’ll be at Metro buying rice. Because that’s where she went next: to Metro to buy some rice to put her phone in). And once they figure it out they can send messages and post YouTube videos to suggest what, if anything, they have done to revive their phones after subjecting them to water damage! This could perhaps be done to raise awareness about responsible phone ownership and the importance of not dropping your phone in the toilet.

P.S. Can YOU figure out the importance of the three items? Add your guesses to the comments!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

As for my thoughts on transmedia? Well, I LOVE the following things:

  • Board games
  • Treasure hunts
  • Pop culture
  • Mysteries

SO it stands to reason that I would LOVE transmedia! And I DO! But only sometimes. Sometimes it full-on creeps me out. When the line between reality and virtual spaces blurs to the point where participants can no longer distinguish between the two, I get increeeeedibly uneasy! Some transmedia projects take players down the rabbit hole to the point of no return and to me that is super incredibly disturbing.

HOWEVER, although there are definitely some pretty wack transmedia properties out there, there are WAY more super awesome examples! One of my faves is Arcade Fire’s roll-out campaign for their latest album Reflektor. I remember my older sister going to Osheaga and randomly noticing a five-second video clip of someone spray painting a mysterious logo on a wall. Then it started showing up all around the world as chalk graffiti, with the date 9/9/9. WHAT DID IT MEAN?! By the end of August, Arcade Fire took responsibility for the graffiti and on September 9th at 9am they launched a website featuring an interactive music video for the album’s first single. They also began advertising through more traditional platforms, like a guest appearance on SNL and a half-hour special afterwards (featuring Michael Cera?!). They also put on a secret show, advertised as The Reflektors and only admitting people dressed in costumes or fancy clothes. When the album was finally released the hype was REAL. How cool? So cool!! There’s definitely some that are a bit more extensive or interactive but I’m pretty sure this is one that I was the most engaged in.

This week’s lecture is forcing me to re-evaluate my life. Between my difficulties with digital media, my love for audio AND film and also the aforementioned unease that I sometimes feel related to transmedia, I was thinking I probably wouldn’t choose it as an area of focus for next year. BUT there is so much creativity in transmedia! I just really love the whole story-building, interactive, cross-platform approach. It’s definitely something to think about.


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