This presentation was given at the 100th National Communication Association Conference in Chicago on November 21, 2014. This presentation reflects the work I have done with Pooky Amsterdam to understand the nature and potential of virtual world television as reported in the Journal of Virtual World Research. This presentation was awarded one of the Top Paper Awards for the Communication of the Future Division.
The current state of affairs brings what is “television” into question. Amongst the various layers of activity and discourse that surround it, “television” can, and perhaps should, be deconstructed into at least two primary components: the content it relays, “television-as-content,” versus the technical interface it is, “television-as-technology”. There may soon come a time when the idea of watching television does not involve the use of a television set. Instead, television content will be increasingly divorced from the medium for which it was developed: over-the-air broadcasting of audiovisual content. At that time, television-as-content will become another aspect of the Internet.
These challenges to what is “television” are also challenges to the traditional models of production, distribution, exhibition and consumption that have for so long defined it. These challenges are also implicated in the move toward higher interactivity. The traditional models are predicated on transmission and passivity, whereas the interactive models require dialogue and activity. Concepts and technologies like video on demand, time-shifting, and social television are all part of these challenges. This paper explores yet another, virtual world television or VWTV. With VWTV, we are seeing another possible location for the evolution of television.
Tags: "television-as-content", "television-as-technology", access interactivity, avatars, communal, Community, content interactivity, Giant Snail Racing, Interactive television, interactivity, Metanomics, Relationships, Second Life, social interactivity, social media, Television, The 1st Question, Virtual worlds, Winky Dink
This presentation was recently given at the 2013 Popular Culture Association conference in Washington, D.C. The presentation focuses on an analysis of our Virtual World Television project, which will be ramping up as the year continues. You can find the PowerPoint, with notes, at this blog post. And stay tuned to this blog and that blog for more analysis, discussion, and illustration of Virtual World Television.
CBS is no newcomer when it comes to experimenting with giving their audience a more interactive experience with their television programming. As I’ve discussed elsewhere on this blog, the television network in the past had offered their audience a chance to engage in social interactivity while watching their favorite shows online. The network had structured online spaces to become chatrooms wherein viewers could congregate and talk amongst themselves while watching the show — and earlier versions of these virtual living rooms even permitted the viewers to superficially engage with the content via reactions and trivia.
I’ve been using this blog to deconstruct research I’ve done that are interesting vignettes of findings, but perhaps in need of a non-traditional method of publication. In one such paper that I’ve been deconstructing, I’ve already discussed the Ghost Hunters live special episodes for how they incorporated online technologies as well as the virtual living rooms created by NBC and CBS. The final piece of that paper is the basis for my current research on virtual worlds television; in this post, I discuss the first virtual worlds television programming I studied, the series Metanomics, for how it demonstrated the potential for social and content interactivities.
Tags: CBS, chatbridge, constructive cacophony, content interactivity, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters Live, Internet television, Ira Flatow, Metanomics, NBC, NPR, remediation, Robert Bloomfield, Sage Hall, Science Friday, Second Life, social interactivity, talk shows, Television, text chat, Virtual worlds