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Like founding Rome, social media needs to be tackled in more than one way

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Romulus and Remus nursed by the roman capitoline wolf

You may know the story of Romulus & Remus, brought up by a she-wolf on the hills above the River Tiber, they were the founders of Rome, though only one would give the city their name.

One day, looking down at the Tiber the brother's decided to found a great city. They agreed to build a wall encircling a piece of promising land and to do so separately, starting opposite each other, at a distance and meeting in the middle. Romulus builds his wall low and makes quick progress laying out a great arc that heads towards his brother Remus. Remus builds as high as a man, his wall is tall, but progress away from the River is slow. Eventually the two Walls meet. Remus cannot contain his mirth at his brother's low wall and mockingly starts to jump over it back and forth. Unable to contain his anger Romulus picks up a shovel and knocks his brother across the head as he makes another leap.

Social media is like founding Rome; you can steadily drip, drip content and news like Romulus or you can build high and make an impact like Remus.

Both approaches have their merits, on the one hand having and maintaining a presence while on the other doing something 'big'. If only one person is faced with the task of 'building Rome' what should they do?

Already I see the need for two people and two roles, the first, the 'low wall' is the website that is a consistent presence, not simply static web pages, but blog-like where visitors contribute content and share what is there. The 'high wall' are the events, or highlights, from commissioned videos or iTunes, to live forums and Webinars.

Neither should be seen as exclusive to the Internet, like the wall that surrounds Rome, web presence should be seen as part of the real world integrated with open days and events, mail outs by post or email, PR and traditional advertising too.

P.S. I was told this story as a boy, probably age 10 or 11, probably my first Latin lesson with Mr Byers. The story stuck, an example of the power of narrative, the Latin did not, though I had to study the subject for another four or five years. Translating 'oderint' as 'they smelt' was my highlight.

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Design Museum

When TV bends towards interactivity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 9 Feb 2011, 15:30

For a year, 2000/2001, I worked between companies and across platforms promoting a kind of experience on TV/Computer Screens that has yet to be realised.

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I was presenting cross-platform projects (Web and TV) with Anthony Geffen at NABs (Las Vegas) and Mip-com (Cannes).

All credit to Anthony, every pitch he made was followed by my pitch to 'make it digital.' I followed him into pitching sessions in London too ... he had a documentary to finance, could I sell the interactive element behind him.

The wrong time to have big ideas. The bubble burst.

A decade on it intrigues me that the linear experience of the TV documentary is becoming increasingly 'chunked,' more a digital experience than it cares to imagine.

Watching Rome unwrapped you'll miss something if you blink. Go for the ride. I enjoy the irrevant truth of it.

Bloke pontificating to camera amongst ruins and traffic? Not here, not often.

I blogged my way through the experience of 2000/2001.

I may see what has happened to all those people I met; they will have moved on, but I have their name, former company and email address on a piece of card (how quaint). At Learning Technologies my name badge bar code was zapped; anyone asking for a card was living in the last century.

Some Linking In to do here.

They'll find it odd or intrigueded that I can recall, almost verbatim, that conversation we had.

Anyone had a good idea recently?

On the other side of the fence are the clips that managers in Learning and Development Departments can batch together on ready-made platforms, as Video Arts are doing.

You see everyone can be creative, and it's cheaper than bying in the ... the creative.

Someone, somewhere, will have had the right combination of experiences and insights to make all of this work in a new and revolutionary way.

Rome re-lived in a virtual world?

Rome experienced with your finger on the 'zapper' through time, jumping back and through events as you would online?

Or simply watching a linear experience out of the left eye, while the right eye plays a video game on the same screen as my 12 year old does?

The mind boggles

And somewhere out of all of this we extract worth.

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