Art of influence and misdirection

On the eve of another big decision, I’ve been thinking about influence and misdirection quite a bit.

I was reminded of a book and TV series I saw when I was much younger. It was called How to be Cool. Part of the thinking is influence and the theory of memetics. PBS did a series called The Merchants of Cool, although the one I remember included Douglas Rushkoff.

Dreamboard starts a trend

What people dreamabout

Dreamboard I have wrote about a few times before and I have been using the application on my tablet to remember my dreams. But recently people like Simon have been contacting me about shadow which to be fair sounds a lot more like a cross between Dreamboard and Lucidpedia.

Building a community of dreamers sounds cool but very difficult to do. I don’t know if a kickstarter project is the best way, specially when you have the likes of the same information on lucidpedia and many other places across the web. Nope I would suggest something like OKTrends is the way to go. Data like I suggested for mydreamscape would be super valuable to many people including advertisers.

But of course dreamboard are already two steps down that road

Dreamboard, the largest database of dreams in the world – obtained by a patented system for data collection – has officially entered the second stage of its development: the analysis of the great amount of data collected with a scientific and multidisciplinary approach in order to identify patterns of different nature.

Our scientific team has grown, and is now guided by Professor Patrick McNamara, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and Dissertation Chair at Northcentral University. He has been active studying sleep and dreams for two decades and is a winner of NIH awards to study sleep and dreams, before becoming Chief Scientific Advisor of Dreamboard. He will work with our first Scientific Advisor, Prof. Bruno Bara, M.D., Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Director of the Center for Cognitive Science, Director of the Center for Neuroimaging, Director of the Schools of Cognitive Psychotherapy of Como and Torino.

Impressive stuff, I look forward to some serious findings to come from our aggregated data.

It was also good to clarify the Facebook link, which is just to do a login and not share private data.

A Perceptive on storytelling

As most of you know BBC R&D have a demo of Perceptive Media which we’ve shown a few places including the EBU in Copenhagen. Its been a hidden gem for a long while and its been amazing to see what people have had to say about the concept of perceptive media. Specially liked the two Brits sitting on the sofa talking about it.

We’re really hoping as many people will enjoy it and give their honest feedback to us (good and bad). But its not just the individual  feedback we would like to research, its the interconnected stories of how people tell others about it and how they explain it to each other…

How memes spread has always been high on my list of loves and to be honest should be high on the BBC’s research lists (if its not already?) In actual fact there is something about how memes spread and attribution which I think is very interesting and could be a new business model into the future.

Anyway… expect much more about Perceptive Media on the BBC R&D blog this month. In actual fact if you want to be first hear it and respond directly to people behind it like myself, the script writer, actress, coders, etc… Then you should make your way to the next Social Media Manchester.

I was reading about the domino effect on my Kindle via Instapaper the other day on the London Tube prompted after reading this tearjerker story. This bit really got into stuck in my throat, further proving that I’m just a sucker and massive romantic…

At the end was this bit…

Here’s the power of a story: someone hands me one, like a gift (I imagine it wrapped in shiny paper with the bow, the handmade letterpress card, the whole nine yards), and in that gift, I find parts of myself that have been missing, parts of our world that I never imagined, and aspects of this life that I’m challenged to further examine. Then—and this is the important part, the money shot, if you will—I take that gift and share it. In my own writing, sure, but the kind of sharing I’m talking about here is the domino effect: how I hear/watch/read a story, and then tell everybody and their mother about it, and then they tell everybody and their mother, and somewhere in that long line of people is someone who, at this exact point in their life, needed its message more than we’ll ever know.

The power of a story indeed…

You could look at this as a example of why Perceptive media isn’t going to work but actually I disagree. Someone (out there) has written a story which perfectly suits the medium but they don’t know it yet.

1 concept 2 films…

Everyone once in a while, a concept gets turned into two films. Those two films are released within a few months of each other. We all know examples but I wanted to look at two which people may not know… Specially on the eve of Man on a Ledge

Man on the LedgeThe Ledge

As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion.

A police officer looks to talk down a young man lured by his lover’s husband to the ledge of a high rise, where he has one hour to contemplate a fateful decision.

Liberty Stands StillPhone Booth

The wife of a gun manufacturer is held hostage by a man seeking revenge for the death of his daughter in a high school shooting incident.

A slick New York publicist who picks up a ringing receiver in a phone booth is told that if he hangs up, he’ll be killed… and the little red light from a laser rifle sight is proof that the caller isn’t kidding.

Time is like the Temperature?

I’ve been thinking about some of the mystery of the mind, specially since I started my quest to explore ideas and memes with after my own bleed on the brain back in May 2010.

I started thinking temperature is quite similar to time?

  • Time is different for everyone, try getting people to tell the time without a clock
  • Temperature feels different for everyone
  • Time has a man made scale
  • Temperature has a man made scale
  • Time goes slow when your having fun
  • Temperature feels suitable (hot or cold) when your having fun
  • Everyone has a preferred temperature
  • Everyone has a preferred time
  • There are places in the universe we can’t really go due to temperature extremes
  • There are places in the universe we can’t really go due to time extremes

Ok maybe its not a perfect match… but you get the general gist…

mydreamscape presentated at social media cafe manchester

Chi-chi Ekweozor (@realfreshtv) has written up my scramble thoughts and presentation about up on her blog.

I am amazed at how much detail she got down in the session, its a perfect account of what was said and by who. Her hand must have been going into over drive!

A couple of people ask great questions about privacy and how easy the network will be to spam.

The points raised range from deciding to keep users anonymous to encourage people to share their dreams in detail to wondering how to stop the spammer that ‘keeps dreaming about ‘Coca-cola’ or Justin Bieber(!)

Adrian Slatcher (@adrianslatcher on Twitter) from Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA), added some fine observations about dreams being non-linear.

Some people make associations in dreams based on colour, so called ‘colour dreams’. There are also ‘anxiety’ dreams. There is a very strong metaphysical element to dreams.

Adrian went on to add that this ‘crowd-sourced’ emotional categorisation of dreams: ‘anxiety = red’, ‘peace = green’ etc lends itself to making such a social network a very useful psychoanalysis tool.

She also detailed a great conversation we had afterwards with Josh (@technicalfault) about a killer mobile app for mydreamscape

In a conversation with Ian and Social Media Cafe co-organiser Josh (@technicalfault) after his talk, we discussed what I think is the killer application for such a project: a mobile phone app that combines access with the social network with a dream diary linked to the phone’s alarm clock.

As soon as you wake up, you are prompted to record your dream into a ‘What did you dream today?’ interface rather like Twitter’s early ‘What are you doing?’ question.

Different media types could be introduced later on so people would eventually make voice or video recordings of their dreams. That would rock.

I love the idea of asking the question, “what did you dream today?” or even “what did you dream last night?” Its a very catchy punchline and sums up the project nicely. The Flickr of dreams say one thing but “what did you dream today?” says something very different.

The point keeps coming up, why not make a facebook application? And finally I had a reply

People have suggested Ian should implement the idea as a Facebook app. He’s not particularly keen on this, preferring the Flickr model as “Flickr never exposes private stuff.”

Facebook’s EULA makes mydreamscape unworkable or at least cuts right into the users privicy which would make trusting the system almost impossible. Flickr have a good model as they never expose users private data and never will. Hence “the flickr of dreams” tag line.

I’ve presented at barcampmanchester3 and now at Social Media cafe manchester and each time I’ve had a positive response, but raised many more questions. Some of those question have been useful but none have been no this is a terriable idea. In actually fact I’ve picked up a few people who really want to get involved along the way. Each person has offered some advice and some more passion into the general idea. I think my next step is to do a map for the idea (a masssive A0 sheet of endless paper with information about the idea and details which I currently have in tomboynotes). I can then publish the map and make it even easier for people to develop the idea themsleves. Its also handy to have everything on one sheet, so I can put everything in context. This presentation isn’t really explaining the idea very well and does a bit of deservice to the underlying idea. I really hope to change for something better soon. But for now it explains the concept enough…