Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Time Machine - a next step in online videos

The 2/4/2009 Wall Street Journal carried an item headlined "Video Sites Entice Users to Stay and Play." Several web-video sites have added new features that allow for and encourage interaction. The one example given was "The Time Machine" by a comedy production company, ChadMatt&Rob. The Time Machine is just like a storybook that at certain dramatic moments asks the reader to select one of several possible directions and the reader has to turn to a certain page to learn how the story progresses. In this case, video viewers get to click and choose what the characters will do next. When they click, they are linked to a new video where the characters continue on (or die).

It can be great fun, but the real goal of "stay and play" technology is to keep viewers online as long as possible for the benefit of advertisers, according to the Wall Street Journal. From a storytelling perspective, it could be a great way for students to learn how to tell stories. From a training perspective, it could be a good way to visually reinforce consequences of actions -- such as safety or ethics training.

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