Time Machine: Finally A Production Does Something Interesting On YouTube


I'm always interested in how creative people will take advantage of new means of production and distribution. Our networked infrastructure and ever cheaper and more powerful processing power have upended business models and changed the relationship between artists and producers.

However, most early examples of the impact of new technology are uninteresting. It's dominated by people who just see a new way to distribute the same content. Examples include those who use Twitter to carry their RSS feeds or YouTube to post their broadcast video content.

A higher level of evolution comes when people take advantage of the new means of production or distribution to enhance interactivity. Perhaps they allow and engage with comments or crowdsource the financing of their projects.

But the most interesting is when the content itself, the production, changes because of new capabilities. The first TV shows were just radio host talking. It took a while to really take advantage of the visual medium.

I've just found the most interesting example yet of this change in the art itself on YouTube. It's a "forking" or choose-your-own-adventure style series whose conclusion is up to the viewer. At the end of each clip, you face a decision about how the plot is to advance. It's a very old and simple concept, but until now, we haven't had a way for people to employ it on a large scale.

The people who've been promising "interactive TV" said this would come a long time ago, but their implementation depends on mass upgrades of cable boxes across hundreds of millions of households adopting a common standard. Meanwhile, a few months ago, YouTube added features allowing producers to embed video links within a clip, and these guys have run with it.

Check it out.



Now think of all the interesting technologies and social media tools out there and how the art itself will adapt to the new capabilities. Let me know if you've found some interesting examples.