Mass participation brings new life to start-ups

The theme of the FutureEverything festival, which is being held in Manchester this week, is FutureEverybody to mark the International Year of Co-operatives. As part of a talk...

The theme of the FutureEverything festival, which is being held in Manchester this week, is FutureEverybody to mark the International Year of Co-operatives. As part of a talk on mass participation, three prominent figures in the industry talked about new ways of using crowd sourcing tools to create media.

Zombies Run is a app created for the iPhone that encourages people to run in real time while listening to a story through their headphones. It was project created by Adrian Hon and was funded co-operatively through the crowd funding website Kickstarter.

The game, which has sold over 100,000 copies, is an example of mass participation to help design new creative projects, while also giving those involved incentives to take part in the development process. Adrian Hon explained that they chose to use Kickstarter instead of traditional contributors for a variety of reasons.

He said that originally they thought that it was "too weird a concept" to explain to commissioners and this way people can contribute at different levels from $1 to $1,000.

It raised over $71,627 in the first month, from over 3,000 contributors. The game is now one of the top 100 games on the iPhone and is due to be released on Android in the next month.

Adrian has a background in alternative reality games and said during these games: "Everyone would have to work together. The problem was people really struggled how to make money from it. It’s hard to make good storytelling experiences to thousands of people.”

Zombies Run successfully made the leap from real life to personalised gaming.

The second speaker, Dave Addey from Agant, has worked on the successful UK Train Times app and was nominated for a BAFTA for Malcolm Tucker: the Missing Phone.

He discussed the work he had been doing on the QI app, based on the television series. The app features selection of facts from the QI books for people to read. They decided to take the concept further and allow people to contribute their own facts for people to read. He said: “We wanted to use this app as an experiment in mass participation.”

People could send in their facts, with relevant evidence and after moderation they would be displayed on the app. However they came up against a wall, how do they know if the facts were interesting?

He said that they borrowed inspiration from, where people can rate kitten online, using this model they gave people the opportunity to rate the facts.

This allowed people to interact on different levels, they could submit facts and also rate other peoples facts and in reward they would be given a new fact.

They have had over 25,000 facts submitted and over 4 million ratings. They are now working on an app which will allow people to experience the Apollo 11 landing through archive footage and storytelling.

Added Dave Addey: “The idea with this is that you can share that experience with others. What we realised is that there was a whole bunch of people who had this huge shared experience, but there’s a whole generation who didn’t have that experience and we are giving them the opportunity to have that.”

The final speaker was Chris Jackson, from Meta Broadcast. He discussed how mass participation can be used in television. He explained that people watch four hours of television a day and they wanted to create platform where it could become a shared experience.

They have worked on creating personalized content for people on television websites and making platforms where people can see what their friends are watching. The event showed how co-operation on a large scale can be utilised to create new innovative forms of media.

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