Friday, January 25, 2013

Transmedia and Magical Sorcery

     Transmedia is a growing way in which people are telling stories. For those of you who aren’t quite sure what transmedia is, I’ll explain a bit. Transmedia is telling stories across multiple platforms. While the platforms in which storytellers use are important in getting the message out to the masses, the real key to transmedia is the stories.

     I’m currently a Content Strategist Intern for a social media marketing company, and the first thing I learned on the job was this: you can use the hippest, fanciest, rootin-tootinest social media tools available, but if your content isn't engaging, then you’re S.O.L. (Stuck On a Log).
     People love to hear good stories. So that’s what you should give them when trying to be a successful transmedia storyteller. Especially in this age of information overload we live in. Stories allow for the “experience” mentality, so instead of simply telling information, we can actually show what happened, when, where, and why, etc. Stories also create emotional and personal connections which in turn create continuing bonds from hearing about the experience in the story.

     Effective transmedia storytelling is driven by the following:
·         Creativity- use that noodle and be unique!
·         Cultural Attractors- these draw together a highly involved audience.
·         Cultural Activators- these are motivators to initiate behavior.
·         Strategy-any successful story needs a well thought out plan to maximize its impact.
·         Sustained Engagement- getting people to stay engaged with the story is important in keeping the story relevant to its viewers.

     This brings me to Interactivity and Engagement. One of the most important things for transmedia storytelling is engaging your viewer. Without engagement, your story really won’t be able to soar in success. You have to get your audience to care in order to create engagement. This can lead to interactivity, creating an even deeper engagement throughout your audience. In order to keep your audience interested, you have to create an environment with your story that will keep them coming back for more.

     A good example of transmedia storytelling from a large company is Walt Disney World’s “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.” This interactive game allows Magic Kingdom visitors to become sorcerers who travel across the theme park fighting Disney villains by using collectible cards like the ones shown in the picture. This attraction takes classic Disney characters from their own stories and creates a unique and changing interactive experience among guests. This experience seems to be pretty popular among kids visiting the parks, and keeps them coming back for more villain-fighting, sorcery-fun!
‘Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom’ set to debut Feb. 22 in Walt Disney World, Imagineer offers closer look at role-playing game
  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about transmedia storytelling. Thanks for reading and have a magical day!

A New Way to Game: "Disney Infinity"

Last week, Disney unveiled their newest venture in the gaming world at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. This highly anticipated upcoming video game is called “Disney Infinity.” The game will give players the chance to interact with the game’s characters and worlds in new and creative ways. For example, players will have the power to choose some of their favorite Disney and Pixar characters and explore many different worlds in the game with each other. "Disney Infinity" will be able to be played on gaming consoles, online, and even on mobile devices, keeping the possibilities of how to play wide open.

There are a few aspects of "Disney Infinity" that differentiate it from most typical top selling games. Here’s a list of some of the cool details included in the game:
  • Figurines-players will have a character such as the ones in the picture below and control that character in the game. This is similar to the popular video game “Skylanders.”      

  • Play sets-there will be three virtual worlds in the game: Monsters University, The Incredibles, and Pirates of the Caribbean. In this “Play set” mode, gamers will only be able to interact with the characters from that specific world. Each world will remain true to its story. However…
  •  Toy Box mode will give players complete control over how they play, allowing them to truly “play” and be in control of the game. For example, players will be able to create a game in which Dash Incredible races Lightning McQueen. This will allow players to be extremely creative while playing their own individual game. This is where Disney has really hit the target in my opinion. Bringing characters such as Lightning McQueen, Jack Sparrow, and Wreck-it-Ralph together in a single game sounds like a heap of fun to me!
  • Power discs will also be available to gamers who wish for more virtual toys, which will upgrade each world’s abilities.

Sounds pretty cool, right? I’m not much of a gamer myself other than the occasional “Brave” themed Temple Run app on my iPhone, but this "Disney Infinity" thing seems kind of awesome to me! What do you think? Are you so excited for the new game to come out that you just can’t keep your Mickey ears on? Let me know by leaving a comment below! And for more information on "Disney Infinity", follow the link below to 'Inside the Magic’s' full article on the Disney Infinity unveiling in Hollywood last week. There you’ll find the full video of the presentation along with further explanations of the game. 

Also, here's the link to Disney Infinity's official website. Feel free to check it out as well!!/game

Thanks for visiting and have a magical day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Privacy, Ethics, and Legalities

Social media has changed the ways in which we communicate with people everywhere. What used to be a telephone conversation has turned into commenting on a status update on Facebook or replying to a tweet. Information can be easily shared with just the click of a button. The only problem is once you click that button, whatever you've posted is now open for all those in the web-o-sphere to see…for good.

Online privacy is a controversial issue these days, especially dealing with advertising companies gaining access to different websites’ databases. Advertisers then use the information from the databases to strategize and focus their ads toward a specific target audience.Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is, but there are some people out there who think this sort of practice is positively blasphemous. For this reason, it is important to know that once you place information online, that information automatically has a chance of being taken and used by someone else for some kind of purpose such as advertising.

Another issue we face with social media is ethics. More people who are actively involved with social media believe questionable behaviors, such as commenting negatively about their company on social media sites, are acceptable. As social media becomes more and more important in our culture, it is necessary to be aware of ethical pitfalls and how to avoid them. Here are a few tips to help you stay as ethical as possible:
·        Always be honest and transparent. If you are hiding any kind of information, it reflects poorly on your character.
·        Know exactly how to portray yourself or your company through social media. Your online personality is often viewed as your physical personality, so make sure not to post anything questionable.
·        Make sure all of the information you present online is accurate and correct. Be careful of potential legal issues such as defamation.

Legal issues are also important to note when discussing social media. There are hundreds of social media lawsuits settled in court yearly. And let’s not forget about the out of court settlements. MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are a few social media companies who have gotten into legal trouble repeatedly. Here are a few things to do in order to stay aware of social media legal issues:
·        Draw a bold and distinct line between personal and professional accounts. Don’t mix the two.
·        Know the social media policies and keep up with them if/when they change.
·        Be privy to the knowledge of legal issues and how to use technologies. Knowing what you’re up against is imperative in being social media savvy.

I hope these tips will help you understand social media better and allow you to become more knowledgeable on social media privacy and ethics. Thanks for reading and have a great day! 

Blog Beginnings and Gorgeous George

     Hello blog-o-sphere! Allow me to introduce myself… My name is Caitlin Brooks and I’m currently a sophomore student at the University of Louisville. I am majoring in Communications and focusing my classes around public relations and social media in the hopes of becoming a strategic communicator for a large company in the future.  I grew up in the small town of Maysville, KY, so living in Louisville is a drastic change for me. Although many of my high school classmates (and even myself at times) complain about our hometown being the most boring, Mayberry-esque place on this side of the Mason-Dixon line, Maysville is actually a pretty neat and historic place. In fact, Maysville is the hometown of the following people:
  1.  Rosemary Clooney (her debut film “The Stars Are Singing” premiered at the Russell Theatre in downtown Maysville)
  2.   Darius Miller (former UK basketball player and currently playing for the Iowa Energy)
  3. Chris Lofton (former University of Tennessee basketball player and current professional basketball player)
  4. Heather French Henry (Miss America 2000).
  Sure, the only thing to do in Maysville is to stay home or go to the run-down four cinema movie theater. But, Maysville is an important part of me and has shaped my personality and who I am today. And did I mention George Clooney (Rosemary’s nephew) and RenĂ©e Zellweger came to Maysville to premiere their movie “Leatherheads”? Yep, that happened.
Click the following link to check out’s article on the Leatherheads premiere.
 Being raised in a small town has made me thirst for knowledge from bigger places…like Hollywood and New York. I love popular culture, and I credit that to my hometown. My love for popular culture is what got me interested in communications in particular. Remember earlier when I said I hoped to work for a large company as a strategic communicator? Well, the company I have in mind is The Walt Disney Company. You guessed it; my ultimate dream and goal in life is to work for “The Mouse” himself. Disney has always been a big part of my life and has given my family and me so many happy and magical memories; I hope to be a part of the company who creates happiness for people all over the world like it’s nobody’s business.
 Since this is my first blog, I should set a few goals to help myself stay focused and organized. My goals for this blog are pretty simple:
1.       Write about topics such as social media and public relations as well as other interesting topics like Disney, animation, theme parks, etc.    
2.       Keep up with the blog throughout the remainder of my college experience and beyond! (Buzz Lightyear voice).
3.       Keep my readers interested!
 So now that you know a little bit about me and what this blog will be like, I’d like to hear from you! Feel free to post comments and ask me questions about social media, UofL, Disney, etc. I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay here at my blog!
 Have a magical day!