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BL_1911.jpgAs if I didn’t have enough to do already, I’ve just been named editor of What’s Next Enmesh, a blog in a parallel universe.
It’s part of a transmedia network of 11 Websites (so far) describing both the imaginary technology and the daily life of people in 1911. All ultimately lead to “Triangle: The Fire That Changed America,” a book by Washington Post staff writer David Von Drehle about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911. That’s the only one of the sites that overtly promotes the book itself, linking to
Included in the network of sites are Mesh News, and a site that tries, but does not really succeed, to explain it all to the uninitiated.
The promotion is created by the 20-something founders of The Brain Bridge, a startup promotional agency. When they were signed on to promote the book they invented a period equivalent of the Web — called the Fluctuating Frequency Field, or FFF — and even a 1911 version of Wi-Fi (Ho-Fi, for Horseless-Fidelity.) The FFF is referred to as “the Mesh.”
This is not the first time a parallel universe was created as a promotional vehicle. An elaborate network of sites was created for the Steven Spielberg movie, “A.I” in 2001. Unfortunately, the online network was far more interesting than the film, which bombed.
Back in 2000, I interviewed Jakob Nielsen and Brenda Laurel, then of the Nielsen Norman Group, who predicted that the entertainment industry’s pioneering the connection between experience, technology and content would bring the next wave of the Web.
Nielsen and Laurel refer to the changes as “transmedia” rather than the commonly used “convergence” because transmedia represents the creation of a new form of media rather than the merging of several old mediums.
The web will become more and more collaborative, Nielsen and Laurel said, with users having a hand in creating content. “Letting fans create material for a web site goes against the traditional instincts of protecting intellectual property,” says Laurel, but it actually helps to keep the property alive.”