Rochelle Grayson
A Digital Strategist Focused on Monetization & Social Experiences

Random Musings

(posted on 21 Jun 2008)

Last week, I was interviewed by the Vancouver Province for my thoughts on the Vancouver Tech scene. They wrote up a great article (and there’s even a nice picture of me :-) ).

However, beyond what’s mentioned in the article, I firmly believe Vancouver has the huge potential of becoming a major vortex for Digital Media and naturally, technology is an essential component of that! With its unique combination of technology, culture and entertainment (games, film & TV), Vancouver has the talent and expertise to bring all these industries under one magnificent umbrella and really position itself as the Digital Media center of the future!

There are lots of people contributing to this vision and all I can say is that it’s an exciting time to be part of this phenomenal Vancouver team!

I’m doing my part to make this happen and I truly look forward to seeing this vision realized!! Stay tuned…

I do love conferences, but they do exhaust me! This week, I attended another great conference put on by the Canadian Society for Training and Development (with the unfortunate acronym of “CSTD” :-) ). In a session earlier today about Learning in 3D environments, the concept of “Machinima” came up. Here’s a simple definition I found online:

Machinima (muh-sheen-eh-mah) is filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies.

What’s most interesting about Machinima is that it allows participants in 3D worlds to capture their activities, either as proof of bragging rights or to allow for post-mortems or reviews to occur after an event has been completed.

It suddenly hit me today that much of what we enjoy about digital social media is the ability to capture important social interactions or thoughts that previously were intangible and could only be recalled by our memories and only from our perspective!

How amazing is it that we can now go back and review that exact exchange, really see what others said or did! Talk about empowering tools for personal growth and professional development! Now that’s powerful!

This may seem quite obvious to many of you :-) ! But, for me, it provided a new perspective on these latest social media tools; I realize that the ones that bring me the greatest value are the ones that allow me to capture my “intangible experiences”. That’s the power of capturing!

(posted on 25 May 2008)

I’m exhausted! This past week, Vancouver hosted two of its largest digital media conferences, the Vancouver International Games Summit (VIGS) and the Vancouver International Digital Festival (VIDFEST), simultaneously!

I was very fortunate to connect with several bright, sharp and visionary people and am still digesting all the nuggets of wisdom that were doled out. It’s going to take a while before completely internalizing all that I heard.

I must admit that I am always most interested in the question of “What’s happening with ‘Business’?” All I can say is the only consistent answer I heard was: Change! Awesome!! :-)

Changing business models mean lots of new opportunities and challenges, and, of course, lots of uncertainty! I thrive in uncertainty!

As a teaser, here are a few of the “nuggets” that have me stewing:

  • Social Capital and its role in the Social Media Economy
  • The Importance of Micro-transactions in Social Media Monetization
  • The Importance of Social Experiences to ALL media businesses
  • Synergizing the Mob
  • New Leadership and Organizational Models
  • Agile Business Planning

Unfortunately, I don’t have any concrete answers right now; lots more thinking to be done! If you’re interested in batting around some of these ideas with me, do send me a note!

In the meantime, I’ll try to catch up on my email backlog and recharge my battery before my week begins…and, for all my US colleagues and friends, have a great Memorial Day weekend!

For most of us in social media, the challenges of an attention economy are well understood; we often hear “attention” is our currency and in very short supply. Trying to capture attention, promote viral conversations, engage an audience and ultimately, increase our networks and awareness are difficult goals to achieve. Many of us have heard that people in the online world suffer from “Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD), which results in people skimming web pages, snacking on information, only reading bullets, etc.

Given this trend, micro-communications seem like a great answer to this ever-shrinking attention economy. Things like Twitter, Facebook status updates, and micro-blogs like Tumblr should really help us to address this issue. (In fact, I’ve even heard rumblings that “Blogs” are dead, but that discussion is for another post ;-) .) While micro-communications are a great way to perhaps grab people’s attention, there still may be something missing.

This was highlighted for me as I was reading “twitpitches” on Friday. A twitpitch summarizes your elevator pitch into 140 characters, usually a link is also included, and you post it to Twitter and tag it with “#twitpitch”. (Naturally, I followed the stream of twitpitches on Twemes :-) .) I must admit that while I liked the concept of twitpitches, there was still something missing. Maybe it’s just that many people have not taken the time to communicate the essence of their pitch, or that 140 characters is too short. But, I definitely felt like I needed to hear more.

Then it hit me, most of the posts were missing the "Art of Storytelling". In social media, we are constantly saying that to get the most out of these tools, you must participate! This idea is very much along the same lines; you need to participate because you need to create that never-ending story – the story of your life, the story of your thoughts, the story of your moments of genius, etc. – Your Story, however you define it! And, that cannot be summarized into 140 characters such that most people find it compelling and engaging. If you are lucky and/or very skilled, some might, but most of the time, we need to read and hear more.

So, what does this all mean? Yes, we live in an attention-starved economy, and micro-communications are great in capturing attention, as well as allowing us to dole out our stories in snack-sized pieces. However, do not forget that the most engaging and influential personalities are the ones who can build compelling stories (in many cases, bit-by-bit) and those who can take readers/users/listeners on an interesting journey!

Don’t just give me a short description, give me something that intrigues me, piques my interest! I don’t have a lot of time or attention; so, do make it worth my while!

I just returned home from a brilliant week at the Banff New Media Institute, where I met 20 of the top Canadian women in media. I was asked to be a “peer advisor” for the Canadian Women in Communication/Corus Digital Media Career Accelerator Program. All I can say is “Wow“! This past week has been truly invigorating and enlightening!

My role was to offer insights (aka presentations) on common social media tools, business models (yeah, right ;-) ), and the nature of instant feedback! What was really interesting was how intimidated many of these senior women, primarily from the broadcasting world, were about these new “digital” options and distribution channels. However, after a week of learning, there were many great take-aways that highlighted the incredible success and need for such programs. A few of the key take-aways included:

  • developing a real appreciation for social media tools and the value they can bring to a company or brand
  • realizing that the digital world is very similar to the real world (and the traditional media world), with differences occurring primarily in what we “called” things, i.e. jargon and acronyms.
  • (At the end of the week, we had a huge whiteboard covered with glossary terms and important websites and applications!)
  • understanding that it’s all about the audience; the platform or medium is merely a conduit to conversing with them
  • recognizing that games are often about the relationships created within them
  • learning about the “attention economy”, the “device revolution”, and what “locative media” is
  • reviewing some amazing case studies, such as ZeD TV, Regenesis, Fallen, CurrenTV, and many more
  • recognizing the tremendous work associated with creating a successful blog and blog presence
  • evaluating the pros and cons of HD programming and production
  • realizing that storytelling needs to be taken to a new level
  • establishing our own personal brands, even within large organizations
  • appreciating that we all face similar challenges!

I’m sure there are many I’ve missed and over the next couple of days, I will sift through my notes and perhaps write other posts. However, I did want to sincerely thank the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) (the organizer), CWC & Corus (the sponsors), and the phenomenal participants and my co-peer advisors for a spectacular week of dialog, conversations, insight and laughter! It was magnificent to expand my social network and to have connected with so many accomplished and inspiring women!

One cool take-away for me was the fact that I can now officially call myself an “Artist”… at least that’s what it says on my Banff Centre ID card ;-) ! The Banff Centre and this program definitely inspired creativity in me this week!

I just returned from my 4-year old nephew’s birthday party…exhausted! It was a great party and I made quite a few new friends with the 3-5 year old crowd (don’t know what that says about me ;-) !

In any case, on the way home, I started to wonder what his Social Graph might look like based on his party playmates :-) . What would a Social Network Analysis look like for a 4-year old? Who were the influencers, mavens, trendsetters, cool hunters, etc.? Which application would be most important to his network – the Train, Car or Balloon App? Perhaps, the Dora App (that one seemed to appeal to both boys and girls). Is 4 too young to think about such things? The simple answer is yes! I’ve clearly been focusing on Social Media too much lately!

I sincerely hope that I am not the only one with such outrageous thoughts! If you’ve had similar experiences, I’d love to hear them!

(posted on 1 Jan 2008)

Hi and thanks for coming by to check out my web site! You got here, so clearly you know my name already – Rochelle Grayson ;-) And, here’s what I look like (well, at least at six weeks old ;-) …yes, even online, it’s nice to put a face to a name, right?!

Who am I? Well, for starters check out my About page…but, beyond what’s there, I’m a curious and dynamic lover of all things technology, entertainment, and business. Interesting mix, huh? What really turns my crank are tools and experiences that let people play (innocently) with one another in the here and now. Still not sure what I mean? Think about the crazy collision course of mobile, web, social communities and entertainment and I’m at the heart of that impact and it feels really good!

I’m also a huge fan of bold (some might say loud) colors…just like this website ;-)

Want to start a conversation or do you have something really interesting to share? Drop me line! I look forward to hearing what you have to say…believe me, I certainly can’t keep up with everything that’s going on!

I’m looking forward to 2008 and all of the amazing experiences that will pop up in the “social media” space! (I hear that’s what they’re calling it now! ;-)

Happy New Year!

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