The day takes an in-depth look at the impact of social media on the fashion world. Taking it from the perspective of designers, journalists, and high street brands. Asking: ‘How is data shaping the business?’, ‘How are new social networks such as Pinterest, and Fancy influencing the industry?’ Continue reading → Who said Social Media Can’t be Glamorous
Tuesday (3 May, 2011) saw the launch of the Kingston School of Writing, at the RSA in London. I was kindly invited, via former New Statesman colleague (now professor of journalism at Kingston University) Brian Cathcart, to join a short panel discussion on the future of writing and what students ought to be taught. I was asked to consider the digital aspects of this question. Due to time the discussion focused quite heavily on creative writing, so I thought it might be useful to post here the notes I made before the event:
A few things that interest me in this area from a digital perspective across all types of writing and storytelling. They can probably be split into what is still important, what is now possible/new and what students should be aware of. A few examples:
What’s still important
Narrative and the ability to construct stories well – both linear and non-linear. As stories such as the Wikileaks US Afghanistan / Iraq papers show, data alone does not a story make
Understanding narrative arcs and meta narratives and the role they still play – as the wedding showed clearly at the weekend
Headline writing, and summarising concisely and accurately – Twitter and search engines make this an absolutely vital skill
Sources and verification – in a world where anyone can quickly check information, showing and having clear (verified where possible) sources is going to become more and more important to maintain trust.
The ability to connect media, create cross media experiences and take the reader on a journey, if they wish to follow – from the Archers on Twitter onwards
The numbers of possible outlets and possibilities
That the reader is now a participant and contributor to the story – even for printed books, where fan fiction keeps rising
What do students need to be aware of or have
The ability and willingness to experiment and not worry if they fail
User experiences and how to construct stories across media
If journalists – data
Business, networking and marketing skills
The breadth of possible work beyond the traditional jobs – writing for games, copywriting, PR, possibilities with mobile devices
The day started with an opening keynote (see video below) from Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain, who reminded us that this was the third time he’d held such a role but also outlined the current digital landscape in the UK and how it affects society and the economy.
Each proceeding session was then a workshop, with the aim of all the participants contributing to the final report after hearing the research papers given by the academics.
The Interconnected Society session started with Professor John Farrington presenting his research outlining the potential to be gained through having interconnected society. As well as looking at the benefits that such a society could bring he also examined the existing multiple digital divides (technical, geographical, social, economic, cultural, not-connection, connection but disconnection from other social spheres) and issues in rural areas.
This presentation was formally responded to by Julian David of IBM and Graham Walker of the government’s Digital Inclusion task force. Paul Henderson recorded the whole session’s activity, which can be viewed and read here.
We then split into found groups to discuss the presentations and to try to make some recommendations for the final RSA report.
What follows are two of the group’s responses and an interview that David Wilcox made with Professor John Farrington and I.