Participate to exist by Jean-Yves Lemoine

Jean-Yves Lemoine is a pioneer of the Transmedia domain, working on the convergence between technology, content and usage, and one of the contributors to the foundation of Orange Transmedia Lab.

The world is changing faster and faster! according to US futurist Ray Kurzweil, “We’re doubling the paradigm shift rate, the rate of progress, every decade. The whole 20th century was like 25 years of change at today’s rate of change.”

The consumer will no longer remain passive, he wants to be an active user. Descartes said: “I think, therefore I am.” Today’s internaut says: “I think, therefore I communicate, I twitter, I facebook, I myspace, I share.” He needs to be given the means, all the means, to invent, to create. Stories can no longer be imposed: they must be offered up to the greatest number so that everyone can change them and make them their own – and tell them to their friends.

Participation is spreading, and even though still confined to a minority of active internauts, media use is advancing. More and more internauts are generating context. They talk, chat, discuss a movie, a book, a web video. Creating this context creates value not only in terms of content per se, but for all internauts. So it should be encouraged and enkindled to the utmost by all who wish to tell stories to the widest possible audience.

Video will soon become what text is in our day: the key means of exchange between individuals. People will tell stories – and their own story – on video. Video is going to become conversation, as sociologist Dominique Cardon says of photography (“Photography As Conversation”).

Multiple media are consumed simultaneously, especially by 13–25-year-olds; there are plenty of “multitaskers” in the “digital natives” generation. And young people consume a wider range of media than adults. Peer-to-peer accelerated the consumption of images, encouraging us to share a movie or music we like. Even Hollywood is investing more and more in non-film media (mobile, web, comics, video games…).

Participation (more passive) and collaboration (more active) have become the two key modes in which users appropriate media services and uses. There is safety – and smarts – in numbers, as every passing day of experience on the web bears out. Collective intelligence is now at work on the Internet.

This participatory culture is transforming content into social content, enabling every one of us to make that culture and that content our own – and attain recognition in an increasingly communicative community


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