While CEO's dip their toes in this thing, Kiwi film maker Peter Jackson, who totally understands what it means to communicate, is already using his King Kong bog to make jokes, and play games with his fan base.
Using his weekly web log, Jackson presented digital mock-ups and demonstrated motion capture technology to be used in the sequel, inter cut with an interview with its star, Naomi Watts. Most alarming to "Kong" purists, however, were details about the second installment, "Son of Kong": Kong's spawn, a gigantic albino gorilla with machine guns mounted on his back, would battle genetically mutated Nazis during World War II.
"We go to Germany with the son of Kong," costar Jack Black explains in the segment, "and he helps us defeat Hitler." Within hours, news of the sequel's far-fetched plot dominated movie chat room discussions and had been repeated throughout cyberspace. "Son of Kong Finally Confirmed!" screamed a headline on Ain't It Cool News. "Peter Jackson Spills All!!!" What all but the most astute bedizens failed to consider was the video diary's date: April Fool's Day. While it is hardly surprising that cyberspace can be fertile soil for misinformation, Jackson's ruse underscores a newer phenomenon: the rapid evolution of web logs or blocs as movie marketing tools.
In the process he shows in spades how the net works, and reinforces my prediction that in future, the fans will be part of the creative process. At the UNESCO WSIS Conference in Russia last month I did a piece on the economics of the Knowledge Economy, here's the bit about the future of the creative business.
The New Publishing Tim O'Reilly's technical publishing business gives away all of its product online and still sells many hard copies. He is now moving to user-constructed publications (SafariU) where teachers can build an online syllabus, pull in chapters or parts of chapters from multiple books, add their own introductions to other people's work, upload their own chapters and publish the material as a single book, saving students hundreds of dollars in textbooks and constantly adding to the available resources for others to use. Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig is trialling an even more open model. He has placed his book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace” online and has asked for help in updating it from the expert community that has built up around his bog. This will be the effective model for the Knowledge Economy, authors and editors will become leaders and facilitators of publishing. A future Harry Potter will be “written” by JK Rowling, but the characters, the plot, the structure of the book will be negotiated openly as ideas are proposed, elaborated, transposed, shifted, rejected and resurrected into the desired shape before the “writer” draws it all together, imprinting the work with their own style and grace notes. The “contributors” will then become a powerful marketing tool, if only to publicise their own role in the production. Harry Potter already has the kind committed or “religious” following that signifies the development of a powerful community that supports the commercial aims of the business; it has also demonstrated the downside, with vicious personal and racial attacks on a young actress cast in the latest film but disapproved of by a significant section of the community .
Keep an eye on Peter, even if you aren't a film buff.