The Participatory Mindset

This week, I attended the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen. Fortune Executive Editor, Adam Lashinsky, opened the event with the disclaimer that we were all participants in a live journalism event — meaning all was on the record.

The event elements included on stage interviews, live-streamed audience interactions, live social posts, conversational online platforms, daily newsletter updates and coverage on 

Companies used the platform to break news while others were scrutinized by Fortune editors in front of 300+ people along with a much larger live virtual audience.

Brainstorm Tech is representative of what's happening in the greater media industry. Publications are transitioning from planned, closed mediums to live, open, collaborative platforms. This same participatory mindset is being applied in marketing, and we've implemented it in our own work as well. 

Last night at a National Guard hangar in Tustin, California, in front of nearly 1,500 people, we supported a new chapter of the Corvette story by revealing the first mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray “live” and via live stream. Chevy hosted more than 400 media and the event included astronaut Scott Kelly, Corvette car clubs, dealers, Chevy global leadership and General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts from around the world tuned in. 
All efforts, assets and mechanisms were designed for social interaction. The media invitation video above was repurposed on social, YouTube and CRM, and shared to and by multiple audiences. Hidden in the video are “Easter Eggs” – little nuggets of history and glimpses of the coming vehicle – which we then deconstructed for all our audiences – and spread across channels.

A participatory mindset also allowed us to be responsive in real time. If a virtual audience member asked to see a mid-engine close up, photo assets were ready to share this specific content. Or if someone commented that a function of the car sounded complicated, we had 23 in-depth videos on hand to clarify. 

Using Corvette as a media platform, we were able to feed into editorial coverage, social platforms and live webcast audiences with the information the community cared about most. 

The Corvette program is an apt example that if conceived with audience interests in mind, all companies can be media companies. 

Chris Perry 

As always, if you find this newsletter valuable I would be grateful if you encouraged others to sign up by directing them here.
What We're Reading
Media Forensics
Opinion | Mad Magazine’s Demise is Part of the Ending of a World
By David Von Drehle, The Washington Post

Mad Magazine had long survived as the smart-aleck spawn of the age of mass media — existing solely to subvert established authorities. Its demise reflects the demise of establishment itself. We now live in a time when everyone's a rebel, from the president of the United States on down.

Media Forensics
"There's A Website For That": Inside The Online Recommendation Ecosystem
By Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

In recent years, shopping recommendation verticals have grown so numerous that they’ve become as hard to parse as the vast amount of product options they were meant to simplify. Now sites like Wirecutter, The Strategist and Reviewed have come to define a new era of editorial-minded shopping and have become a central part of the online economy.

Media Forensics
I Was a Macedonian Fake News Writer
By Simon Oxenham, BBC Future

Veles, Macedonia, has become a home for websites that publish misleading and inflammatory political articles targeted at US readers. One former writer describes her job of creating semi-plagiarised copies of articles originally published on US extreme right-wing publications, so that her boss could serve them back to unsuspecting Americans for Google ad revenue.

Media Forensics
Area 51 Invasion Force Reaches 1.2 Million Brave Souls, Making it the World’s Fourth-Largest “Army”
By Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

The number of Facebook users who have joined an event pledging to raid Area 51 on September 20 has now reached 1.2 million people. It’s unclear how serious the event’s organizers really are about the invasion, but the number of "alien hunters" who have expressed interested is now equivalent to the world's fouth-largest army. 

Platform Dominance
The Streamer who Built a Giant Starbucks Island in Minecraft
By Cian Maher, The Verge
Twitch streamer Daniel “RTGame” Condren gathered 200 viewers in a single Minecraft server to create an islandic homage to corporate giant Starbucks. Community projects like this Minecraft mission are the crux of the new-age relationships formed between streamers and their audiences. 
Media Forensics
A Kid Hilariously Showed Up To VidCon Dressed As A Social Media Influencer Apologizing
By Kerry Flynn, Digg

At VidCon 2019, the largest convention for YouTube and Instagram influencers, one kid dressed up in cosplay as "apology kid" — a melange of different expressions of regret made by social media celebrities like Logan Paul — who, after sobbing, reminded his viewers to subscribe and like the video for a chance to win a $1,000 gift-card giveaway.

Content Experience
The New Entertainment Giants: Welcome to the Streaming-Industrial Complex
By Rob Marvin, PC Magazine

Newly melded media conglomerates and powerful Silicon Valley players, including Apple, are gearing up to battle Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu with their own streaming services. PCMag breaks down the escalating war for original content and the tectonic shifts in an industry that's straddling the media, tech, and entertainment worlds.

Artificial Intelligence
Yoox Net-a-Porter CEO: “We Sit on a Gold Mine of Data
By Maghan McDowell, Vogue Business

Yoox Net-a-Porter CEO and chairman Federico Marchetti outlines his plans to integrate data into every part of the business by developing predictive models and interfaces to bolster the performance of its buyers and personal shoppers.

Emerging Technology
A New Immersive Classroom uses AI and VR to Teach Mandarin Chinese
By Karen Hao, 
MIT Technology Review

In collaboration with IBM Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, now offers its students studying Chinese another option: a 360-degree virtual environment equipped with different AI capabilities to respond to them in real time. Students will learn the language by ordering food or haggling with street vendors on a virtual Beijing street.

Deep Take
Highlights from Fortune Brainstorm Tech
By Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Data Sheet
Fortune Executive Editor, Adam Lashinsky, states that live events, when they succeed, deliver epiphanies. A few that he highlights in his newsletter include:
  • Big innovations can come from simple technological advancements.
  • Corporations who hack hackers back could lead to dangerous outcomes.
  • Food-delivery robots have arrived, but the data their cameras collect is the real development to watch. 
  • Autonomous vehicles are further from hitting the roads than most think. 
Copyright © 2019 Weber Shandwick

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