Simon Pulman: Is Transmedia Storytelling an Answer for an Age of Short Attention Spans?

"Our attention span is shot. We've all got Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD or OCD or one of these disorders with three letters because we don't have the time or patience to pronounce the entire disorder. That should be a disorder right there, TBD - Too Busy Disorder." — Ellen DeGeneres

Simon Pulman isn't the first person to observe that "the average half-life of everything has been reduced." But, in a September 13, 2011 blogpost (entitled "The Interest Graph, Digital Distribution & Transmedia Storytelling"), Simon Pulman performs the truly remarkable feat of connecting the shortened attention span of today's audiences to the inherent power of transmedia storytelling to draw out (i.e., lengthen) the experience of story:

"Transmedia storytelling techniques are invaluable... They can increase the longevity of that initial “big bang” period – your tentpole movie release, network premiere, novel release, or indie film festival debut. They can certainly increase how long mass interest around a release lasts, as fans dig deeper, revisit the original content for a deeper understanding, and pull their friends into the discussion. And, perhaps most significantly, they can prevent interest from petering out to nothing by keeping audiences engaged and aware of the brand as long as is preferable."

Simon Pulman was inspired to write his piece about the power of transmedia storytelling by a Sept. 12th, 2011 blogpost on the Barbarian Blog entitled "Understanding Social Behavior: The Interest Graph." The Barbarian Blog blogpost (written by Noah King) is the source of the chart and the inspiration for many of the ideas that appear here and in Simon's blogpost. But the insights into the unique power of transmedia storytelling - and the role that cross platform storytelling can play in this new age of distraction - are Simon Pulman's unique contribution to the conversation.

Storytellers of all stripes (from people selling brands to microbudget filmmakers trying to attract and hold an online audience's interest) should pay attention to what Simon Pulman has to say about spreading your story across platforms:

"[T]he focus with indie creators is not necessarily to attempt to maintain focus on a singular “brand” or story, but rather to use digital distribution and transmedia storytelling to maintain the audience’s interest in you, and your career. Few instant stars are made at film festivals today (especially directors and producers), and it’s in your best interest to build your creative brand with a steady flow of quality work."

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