the interactive documentary

this week’s reading, titled “interactive documentary: setting the field” by Sandra Gaudenzi and Judith Aston discussed the emerging (and now emerged) style of interactive documentaries or “i-docs”. now, this for me was both an interesting but difficult reading. while it was in easy to read format and did offer lots of explanations and examples, i just found it difficult to connect to what i was reading. i feel the biggest issue for me was that i have no experience with i-docs. thus, all the examples being offered and the different modes and their benefits or drawbacks often washed right over me because i really find it difficult to understand what an i-doc is and how it operates. thankfully, this is what this entire course this semester appears to be about so hopefully by week 12 i’ll be able to go back to this reading and go “oh! now i get that. so clever”. i’m just not quite there yet.

i feel as though right now, i understand the concept of what an i-doc is (ok, maybe. maybe just partially understand) but until i can experience, view or participate in one myself, i don’t think i will truly get what this was all about. but it was all interesting. about changing the ways audiences experience stories and media and information. although the first 2 of the 4 different modes of interactivity felt too similar (i’ll be honest, i couldn’t tell the difference between them) i did like the participatory and experiential modes as i feel that this is where all media will be headed in the next few years but it’s insane to see how some people have already been there making these kinds of things for years already.

the part of the article that i found the most fascinating though was the discussion of the “90-9-1 principle” which i have quoted from the article below:

“He (Nick Cohen) referred to the 90-9-1 principle, as cited by Jacob Nielson (2006), which suggests that there is a participation inequality on the Internet with only 1% of people creating content, 9% editing or modifying that content, and 90% viewing content without actively contributing.”

to me this perfectly describes the internet and myself as a user on the internet where those percentages represent my actions online as well as the actions of the online community as a whole. the internet is just so vast with so many (infinite really) pathways leading to different content and experiences, yet this content has only been created by the finest population of internet users. imagine how much there could be if the 90% of bystander users became creators. i don’t think i would ever be able to get off my computer (ok, so maybe it’s a good thing then that we’re not all creating, i do like to leave my house sometimes). if these new modes of interactive media and narratives and documentaries allow for and push more passive users to become creators then i feel that we will be heading into a really exciting and interesting future.


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