Crafting of influential interactivity

12 10 2009

Based upon my studies thus far as a Masters student in Interactive Media, one key insight I have noted is that old fashioned, traditional media is largely static. Before you newspaper lovers jump all over this post, I am not saying that is always bad. However, static content only goes so far, it is rather limited in regards to spreadability. People do not want to interact with content that just stares back at them. On the contrary, growing number of people want to experience content that responds to their own input, allows a degree of relationship to be established between the user and the content even if for a fleeting moment.

It was along these lines that I participated in a group activity to devise a list of the most important characteristics that make interactive video content influential. We ranked characteristics from 1 to 7, where 1 is most influential. Just because something incorporates interactivity does not mean it carries much or any influence. Therefore, without further anon, check out the list and brief explications of our thought processes below:

1) Relevance
Video spreads because audiences can establish some sort of connection to what they watch. Main subcategories of relevance include Audience, Demographics and Culture.

2) Emotional Response
Humans are emotional creatures, though to what degree varies depending on whom you ask. Playing on this emotional bond, we subcategorized two areas:
-Human interest: something humanizes the video
-Identifiable: viewers see relation to what they are watching

3) Innovation
The video has to have a purpose to make it influential; otherwise it is just taking up space on a server somewhere. The idea behind the video motivates the content to an extent where it moves others to act or respond. Breaking this down further we settled upon these subcategories:
-Content is fresh
-Presents new perspective(s)

4) Timeliness
This is all about the tick-tock around the clock, timing. When the video is posted can play a significant role on the influence that the video establishes or maintains.

5) Quality
There has to be demonstration of effort in the final product to the minimal extent that the viewer can see and hear the material, otherwise, it isn’t going to influence a soul!

6) Length of Video
Many people, either by realizing it or not, have grown impatient with material online. They expect something now, not in 3 minutes. Generally, the longer a video becomes the influence it exudes decreases. I stress the word generally.

7) Multiplatform Accessibility
For material to become “viral”, it has to cross borders. In this case, borders are media platforms. Influence is build by having the content easily available in the manner that the user is most comfortable. If the content forces people to change their habits just to experience it, I would bet the material would not reach its full potential.

There you have it. Is it perfect; no. Are there relevant points addressed in this list, yes. You are free to disagree but we feel this does a nice job of encapsulating the core components of differentiating the influential videos in cyberspace.