Media Mutation

I noted a few posts back that many industries, geeky industries, are in transition – or should be.  I noted that movie theaters face many challenges, and perhaps even the and of what it means to be a movie theater, or its expansion into something else. I noted publishing is changing. Many, many industries and businesses are in transition, and those in them need to keep up or the changes may well crush them.

So, yes it's important to realize that businesses are changing in this bizarre, wonderful age of technical and media mutation. Yet, if you think about it, media itself is changing. Why should we expect the media to stay the same after all -  it relies on technology which is ever-changing, so it's going to change and morph and modify itself.

Remember how I noted that some businesses seem to survive just because they were traditional? Some of the challenges they face are not just delivery methods changing, or shifts in power. Some of the challenges they face are because the very forms of media they rely on, that they sell, are changing. Media is no longer what it used to be in many cases–and I think were treating media as if it hasn't changed, when it is in fact changing very rapidly and strangely.

Yet, we look at many forms of media, and thinking they're the same as they've ever been. They're not.

Want to write a novel? Look at the different ways to deliver it–electronic, web, self publish, or go all out in delivering an interactive visual novel. People create trailers for novels, making the marketing and media experience different. What indeed is a novel these days – with tie-ins, different delivery methods, etc.?

Want to make a videogame? Is it going to be on the web, on mobile, with DLC? You can tie it in  with social media. People except mixed genres of gaming (such as Puzzle Quest or Borderlands) that would have sounded unlikely five or ten years ago. You could tie the game in with a book, with a unlockable codes and so forth.  What a game is has changed.

Soap Operas?  15 minute webisodes seem to be the wave of the future.

How many indie films are starting as trailers first?  How many films end up being only complete in a DVD release?

The media we consume are changing.  The media we produce are changing.  I wonder if we're still clinging to traditional definitions of media – and if it's holding us back.

If media is changing, if were still using old words to describe forms of entertainment and communication that have or are mutating, we need to be aware of this. If we are aware how things are changing, if we can see many ways to implement that book we want to write a new technology, if we can see new ways to deliver games, then we can succeed. If we can see these trends and take advantage of them, or even help create them, we can succeed at our geeky ambitions.

It's not easy. Look at how often we theorize and speculate here, and are blatantly wrong. But it's not going to go away. The changes in the things we create, from newspaper to software, games to films, are going to affect what we do and her chances of success.   We have to look at these trends, we have to know what media is becoming.

Why keep speculating on it? Of course I will. I might even be right.

But you keep speculating. You keep asking what books, movies, comics, and so on will become. You think ahead. You become famous, rich, and successful.

Steven Savage