Soliciting engagement from the online community is hard.
Especially when you have to first build the community.
I think that the Integrated Media project is a challenge because we are creating a community, and then asking them to interact with us. Projects like this take effort. They also take a lot more time and money then we have to establish a reputable concept and image of who we are and why we are creating/facilitating discussion.
Darius’ work with the Goa Hippy Tribe worked so well because he was latching on to something that was already bubbling away and he fuelled it a little more.
By and large, a high-brow/low-brow divide between audience proximity and texts still exists. This is changing with the development of Web 2.0 and Quality TV, however it is still seen by many as culturally degrading to have a close relationship with texts. Interactive, transmedia texts are pushing this boundary… but there is still a boundary that exists… what does the audience, the participant gain from the interaction?
With Stranger Photography, they get to see their photo online, curated with other works, but that’s about it. We are asking them to engage further with the work once it is distributed online… but why would they do that?
What makes a movement like Humans of New York so successful? People look to Brandon to have their stories told, but what got people to that page in the first place? And who comments on these photos? Why? What do they gain from it?
Personally, I am happy to stand back, to just read the stories, look at the photos and then take away the meaning and let it sit with me.
In retrospect, if it were possible, that would have been a great way to approach the task. Maybe we were blinkered by this idea of staging an event to consider other possibilities… Like just simply looking at what issues were current and eliciting discussion online (right now, I think it would have been fantastic to do something regarding the Commit to Community TV program…) jump on board a movement and document it rather then construct something totally new…
Hindsight will forever haunt what could be.