March 28, 2016

CREATIVITY IS NOT A TALENT.


"Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating." - Austin Kleon starts his tiny little yellow book "Show your work!" with this quote from John Cleese. A book full of nice stories around creativity and sharing creativity. One of my favorite is this: "We´ve all read stories of near-death experiences changing people´s lives. When Georg Lucas was a teenager, he almost died in a car accident. He decided "every day now is an extra day," dedicated himself to film, and went on to direct Star Wars".

Or this one:
"I love meeting my online friends  >>IRL.<< (IRL = in real life.) There´s never any small talk - we know all about one another and what one another does. We can just sip beer or some other social lubricatn and talk about big ideas. There´s been a few times that I´ve asked people whaat they think the best thing about being online is, and they´ll point around the table and say, >>What we´re doing here.<<""

So "Show your work!" is not a big book. It´d does not unveil the secrets of creativity or a creative. You don´t read through it, with a wow in your face and a fascinated mind about the authors ideas. It´s not mind blowing, no.
Kleon is open, honest and fair. He writes what he thinks a creative should do and what not - especially in times of social media, collaboration and crowdsourcing. He gives away the way he works - day by day. If you follow him on twitter you can watch every day how he is working - on his creative work, on his life as an artist and author. And in all this tiny little tips... there is some wisdom. So, yes "Show your work!" is an easy read ... and surprisingly there are many pages and phrases where you stop and start thinking about your own life and work. And that´s exactly what a good book should do. No matter how big it is.

March 12, 2016

Hello Creatives,

This week I thought we work a bit on our storytelling skills. And as Visual Storytelling is becoming more and more important, let´s start with the images first.

1. You know about Visual Storytelling on Social Media? Of course. But even if you a visual storytelling pro you should have a look into this beautiful presentation shared on Slideshare: The Art of Visual Storytelling! Lovely.

2. You don´t know Photoshop? Now worry, there are so many other tools you can use: Check out this 10 Visual Content Tools for Beginners.

3. How does Storytelling look like on Twitter? Is it possible to use Twitter for fiction? Yes it is. Check out some of my favourite Tweets and how new rules for storytelling on social media look like.

MOST CREATIVE STORIES ON TWITTER


Telling Stories on Twitter is tricky. Space is limited. Attention spam also. But there are some creatives who cracked the code and do a fantastic job with stories on Twitter. Here are my favorites:

Following @RealTime WWII  is a must. This year the twitter feed is called "WW2 Tweets from 1944". Historian Alwyn Collinson writes tweets as if today would be 1944 - in the middle of World War II. He started the project in August 2011, 72 years before Germany invaded Poland. Every day you can read what happend this day 72 years ago as if you would witness the day live. For example March 9, 2016 Collison tweeted: "Red Air Force bombers have hit Estonian capital of Tallinn, aiming for German forces occupying city- 757 people dead". The Oxford grad promised his 3000.000 followers to tweet until the end of the war August 1945 - this will be August 2017. @RealTime WWII is brilliant usage of Twitter and wonderful innovative storytelling to bing history to life and make it more relevant - especially to a young audience.

Most of the time Twitter is about latest and breaking news. But the #TwitterFictionFestival 2015 is a proofs that Twitter also works for fiction. This authors kick off your imagination with hundreds of short stories. With words and visuals. Check out the website #TwitterFictionFestival 2015 and find wonderful love stories, wired crime stories, poems and parody - from bestseller authors, New York Times journalists and beginners. Read tips and tricks to start your own story on Twitter. And have fun with the Tweed-Generator - creating mini-stories with 3 phrases. Give it a try.

Florian Meimberg is famous for his "Tinytales". Odd stories written with no more than 140 characters - and in German (!). Of course fans of Tinytales also bought Meinmberg´s book "Auf die Länge kommt es an". Here are two examles of this super-min-short-twitter-stories:
  • Er grinste verlegen: „Sorry, Leute. Ich wusste nicht, dass hier jemand wohnt.“ Columbus drehte sich um: „Segel setzen. Wir fahren wieder!“ (He smirked shyly: "Sorry, folks. I did not know that someone lives here." Columbus turned around: "Set the sails. We move on.")
  • Der Tunnelbau ging gut voran: Er musste jetzt ungefähr unter der Berliner Mauer sein. Noch etwa ein Jahr. Im November ’89 würde er flüchten. ("The tunnel looked pretty good: they must have been under the Berlin wall now. Only one year to go from now. They will be able to escape in November ´89".)
Storytelling on Twitter: A revival of Shortstories? Well, Twitter seems to be a wonderful creative canvas for fiction. And a new challenge for storytellers as there are new rules coming along with social media:

What´s new for Storytelling on Social Media? 3 Things

Realtime Feedback: authors and storytellers get live and in real time feedback. They can - and have to - adjust a story according to the interest of their fans and readers.

Neverending Story: Stories don´t have to end. They can go on and on as the beauty of this format is - similar to games - the neverending story.

The Audience has an Audience: The author is no more the only authority on a story. Recipients can and should be invited to support and co-create a story. And as the audience know exactly about its own audience there are some readers who are enthusiatic and motivated to write their own version of a story.

New rules - new stories. Social Media brings new forms and new ways of storytelling. The future of storytelling will be fun and exciting, don´t you think?


March 06, 2016

ARE EMOJIS A NEW LANGUAGE ?

Do you know  ?

No? Well, maybe you understand me better when I write the name in Latin letters: Tutankhamun. You´ve heard about this Egytian pharaoh, don´t you? He died 1332 BC at the age of around 18. Poor boy. But I don´t want to talk about ancienct pharaohs and why they have to die so young. I want to talk about signs and letters. Or to be more precise: about Emojis. 
This tiny little pictures are everywhere. Messages and emails end with a smiley or something else. Whatsapp publishes every week new signs ... in different colors, for different regions and for different cultures. Smileys and flags are the most popular emojis on Twitter and on Facebook you have now a bunch of emojis instead of just one like button. 

What is this?
What´s happening? Is our language-system out of order? Why do we trust no more in our 26 basic letters of the Latin alphabet? After nearly 3000 years this letters are no more good to help us express our ideas, feelings and arguments? Or is this a version of the so called "visual turn" or "pictural turn" as W.J.T. Mitchell predicted?  Is image winning over text with emojis? Is this Visual Storytelling?

No, No, and No
Emojis are not a language. And they are no good visual storytellers. Emojis are pictorgrams which are based on international conventions. Smart and easy when you want to communicate with an international audience. Well, its not only about language. There are also so much different alphabets. There is the Greek or the Russian alphabet. There are totally different languages such as Arab, Chinese or Japanese - with different characters and different reading directions and and and. 
Emojis are much easier. They are somehow like mimik. We all share - and that´s seamless around the world - the same fundamental emotions. Happiness, sadness, anger, astonishment - these feelings are all the same no matter where you are from. And we express this feelings very similar. We laugh, we cry, we scare. Look at our eyes, our eyebrows, our mouth ... and you get emojis. 
Plus there are conventions: a heart, an airplane, a national flag ... that´s already a mini-story.

But ...
Emojis hardly stand alone or speak for themselve. They need text and context. As many signs have so many different options to be misinterpreted. So emojis work in 3 ways: First they raise our attention. They use visual information because our brain processes images much faster than words. Second, emojis help to sort text. The tiny little images help us to read much faster through messages and sort out what we want to read and what not (like Hastags) and third: they merge with words and give context. The combination between emojis and text makes it really interesting - and fun :-)

To use emojis like a language we would need 7.000 emojis - that´s the predition of philologist Anatol Stefanowitsch. And - more important - everyone (!) has to know the meaning of all this 7.000 emojis ... not only some nerds. 

If you are interested in the most popular emojis on Twitter ... have a look on emojitracker.com. This app ranks the most used emojis in real time. Most of the time, the winner is: 

GAMES STUDIES. SPANNENDE COMPUTERSPIELFORSCHUNG


Games werden als Medium und Ausdrucksform anerkannt. Ganz ganz langsam. So könnte das Fazit lauten, das Klaus Sachs-Hombach und Jan-Noel Thon mit ihrem wissenschaftlichen Sammelband "Games Studies" zum Stand der Wissenschaft rund um Computerspiele ziehen. Das Buch bietet einen hervorragenden Überblick über die aktuelle Computerspielforschung und wer jetzt glaubt, hier geht es ausschließlich um die Frage, ob Ego-Shooter gewaltverherrlichend und verrohend sind oder nicht, der hat schon lange den Anschluss an die aktuelle Games-Debatte verpasst. Die Medienwissenschaft der Games-Studies ist heute viel weiter und untersucht Computerspiele von zahlreichen unterschieldichen Blickwinkeln und Aspekten. 
Computerspiele sind ein faszinierendes Forschungsfeld - aus Sicht der Ludologie (Spieltheorie), Narration (Formen des Storytellings und Dramaturgie), Soziologie (Zusammenwirken von unterschiedlichen Spielern, online und offline) oder gar der Ökonomie (Auswirkungen der Gamesindustrie bzw. Möglichkeiten der Wirtschaftssimulation im Spiel bis hin zu wirtschaftlichen Auswirkungen in die Wirklichkeit, wenn plötzlich Goldfarmen angeheuert werden oder Gerätschaften auf Ebay in harter Währung und mit echtem Geld versteigert werden).
Die Autoren beleuchten das Thema "Games" aus Sicht der Medienspychologie, der Rezeptionsästhetik, der Medienpädagogik, der Geschichtswissenschaften und sogar aus Sicht der Geschlechterforschung. Games erweisen sich dabei nicht nur als interessantes Spiegelbild von Gesellschaft und ihrem Umgang mit Geschichte, Ästhetik oder gar Ökonomie, sondern auch als mögliches Medium zukünftiger Wissensvermittlung und Innovationskultur. 

Spielen war immer schon Teil des menschlichen Verhaltens. Durch Spielen testen wir unsere Talente und erlernen neue Fähigkeiten. Spielen ist Handeln in einem risiko- und sanktionsfreien Raum. Egal ob Brettspiel oder Konsole - wir spielen aus Freude und Neugierde. Und besonders gute Spiele - und dies gilt ganz besonders für Computerspiele - halten uns in einem interessanten Zwischenfeld - einem Feld zwischen Unterforderung (Langeweile) und Überforderung (Stress). Genau in dem Bereich, in dem wir eigentlich auch in unserer Arbeit die beste Leistung abrufen können. Leider ist die Computerspielforschung den Nachweis noch schludig, wie "Spielen" besser in den Alltag eingebaut werden kann ("Gamification"). Aber man arbeitet wohl schon daran. "Games Studies" - herausgegeben von Klaus Sachs-Hombach und Jan-Noel Thon, erschienen 2015 im Herbert von Halem Verlag. Absolut lesenwert.