TWITTER Social media platform: Karen Barley's story would not be what it is without the idea and philosophy behind the Twitter phenomenon. Twitter is the social network of choice for creative people. It also has a lovely dynamic where you can actually meet people and become good friends with strangers. But I also played on the notion that people of a certain generation feel more comfortable using computers and social networks to share their emotions than they do talking and interacting in a human environment. Twitter was where I could use Karen's loneliness and insecurities. It's a place that she had come to rely on for emotional support. I could use the dynamic of live instant responses and the feeling of having strangers reading and watching Karen's life, as a way to justify what she was doing. Twitter and the people reading her tweets had become her friend in a way she didn’t have in real life. I was using the Twitter Android on the HTC Desire z for keeping track of her @replies while I was away from home and the Twitter app linked to her fanpage.
TWEETDECK 3rd Party Twitter app: The most natural 3rd party Twitter app to use; as it did have at the time a wonderful scheduler feature which let you upload videos and photos, and then send the tweet at a certain time. You didn't even need to leave the computer on. I had to use this as I was actually at work while some of the story was happening. I was able to set a location to Karen's scheduled tweets, which made it seem like she was really at Croham Hurst with live tweets. I could also justify that some of her tweets were coming from Tweetdeck as the app was also on Android on her HTC Desire z phone. Linking all the twitter 3rd party apps provided a multi-account system, which allowed me to sign in as myself but post from Karen Barley’s twitter account. I could also promote her using the accounts to LinkedIn and Facebook with a click of a button, and having her Tweetdeck app on Facebook meant I was spoilt for choice on how to auto-tweet to her Facebook profile. In the end I set up her Facebook link with Smart Tweet below. Tweetdeck is still running although after being bought out by Twitter themselves, the functionality is now much more limited than when I did Hurst.
SMART TWEETS 3rd Party Twitter app (defunct): I searched everywhere for a simple app that would just post her tweets to her Facebook profile (and not the Hurst promotional fanpage). I tested many and not all of them were compatible with every way to tweet. I then tested Smart Tweets and found that as long as the account is public, it would pick up and auto-tweet from Tweetdeck, Tweetdeck for android, Twitter, Twitter for android and Conducttr. I can't find this at all on the internet, so its existence has disappeared, but I was thankful for the technology at the time.
YFROG Photo hosting website (defunct): I chose to use Yfrog because I found all Yfrog photos opened up in both Twitter and Tweetdeck desktop, and in 3rd party mobile phone apps. Where as a few other photo hosting programs showed a broken link. This 3rd party app engagement was important as it created a way to engage the audience by not having to navigate away to other pages just to see what was happening to Karen. At the time, it provided the best way to keep it easy for people to navigate the photos. Now that it no longer exists, I have to reload the photos in an archive somehow. Lesson here is to find something that looks like it's going to be around a long time. The nature of multimedia means it's hard to know!
FACEBOOK Social Media Platform: Although the story and characters were using Twitter to get out what was happening, as a marketing strategy it was important to utilise every social networking site that allowed a dynamic story to unfold. I set up her account as a person www.facebook.com/followkarenbarley and then set up a fanpage: www.facebook.com/KarenBarley.Hurst and made her an admin. I then set up Twitter to link to the fanpage so that all tweets would automatically post to Facebook. This way, all the people who didn't like using Twitter could also follow what was happening to her but unfortunately, would not be able to interact in the same way. Karen was using Twitter to do her interacting. Facebook was a great way to help market the story.
YOUTUBE Video hosting/Social Media: Another marketing tool where I could draw a bit more audience in by posting actual video footage. It would appear so random that anyone who stumbled upon it would hopefully click on the url I provided to follow her story properly. I could justify the YouTube uploads because HTC Desire z phone had a sync feature to upload to YouTube. I uploaded all her videos as unlisted initially, to prepare them for a "live" video tweet and then used Conductrr to push them out automatically from Youtube and unlist the videos. This meant the audience could see the videos public and see the date and time was the same as the live tweet, making the illusion that Karen was actually tweeting live.
CONDUCTRR Live Story development tool: This is a utility created to help Transmedia writers organize their online story and characters developed by transmedia guru Robert Pratten. With the help of Robert, I decided to test a small part of it to help push the videos through to YouTube. I uploaded the videos to YouTube and set up Conductrr to release them one by one from YouTube along with her tweet. The videos on YouTube stayed unlisted until Conductrr released them on a scheduled date; they then automatically became listed and fully viewable on YouTube and went into Karen’s YouTube Playlist. This feature of Conductrr allowed me more freedom to concentrate on replying and interacting, instead of uploading loads of media one by one to go out at a certain time. There were many more ways to use Conductrr for different styles of transmedia storytelling and I only tapped into a small part. They now concentrate on crisis simulation.
AUDIOBOO Audio clip host: There were only a small handful of websites and apps that dealt in sending audio files to Twitter. I went with Audioboo as it not only allowed you to record straight from a webcam mic but more importantly for me; it let you upload most audio files and converted them to Mp3’s. You then simply hit the tweet button and it posted the file to be clicked on and listened to online. Unfortunately I came across a slight plot-hole in that in the story, she was using an app to record the phone calls that she then tweeted as "live". In reality the phone call file could not be uploaded to Audioboo via her phone. It actually came from my computer, and then I uploaded to Audioboo. The audience were made to believe she recorded a phone call and somehow tweeted it live. Audioboo have now become Audioboom, a podcasting platform and thus the links to the mp3's have gone missing and are broken.
GOOGLE multi-internet company: Google's syncing system was perfectly adapted for phones such as the HTC Desire. Along with HTC Sense software on the phone, Google would sync my location and my contacts for Twitter and Facebook and also the various Google email addresses I set up, to make sure Karen could use the social network as herself. This made things so much easier for me to manage.
FOURSQUARE location data platform: I hadn't really got into Foursquare myself but knew it would be a creepy addition to the story. By setting up Karen's Twitter account to link with Foursquare, I could authenticate where she was as live. Thank goodness Croham Hurst was actually mapped on Foursquare! Once I knew this, I added the foursquare links manually and then again at the end, to show that she couldn't get out. There was a small plot hole in this in that FourSquare won't automatically post your location, so Karen would've had to have been posting it manually; but I had a justification... she went a bit funny in the head!