Happy 30th MIDI, in some ways you may be woefully out of date, but nothing’s ever matched your universal usability or simplicity, remarkable that any tech would still be widely used essentially in its original form after 3 decades.

Microsoft introduces cross-platform HelpBridge app for emergency/disaster communications & aid

HelpBridge, which launched today will allow you to make instant communication with emergency services & a list of your emergency contacts in the event of a disaster, one tap & you can send pre-made or custom message bursts across email, SMS, Facebook, & it will share your exact location. It also provides functionality for pitching in to relief efforts by facilitating donation of money, needed goods, or time to specific volunteer needs.


Aaron Koblin on applying & experiencing with interactive media technology in storytelling. From the 2012 Future of Storytelling Conference.

“I think it’s really actually what makes life worth living, is having rich stories & living our lives through them. I think actually our lives are really just a series of stories we’re telling ourselves”

Koblin talks about narrative projects he’s worked on where the experience mutates as a result of the viewer’s active participation. He speaks about having viewers richly experience a music video about nostalgia for where you come from by having the video tap into Google’s streetview imagery of the viewer’s hometown.

The biggest interest I take here is the potential for extending a documentary project’s reach by finding ways to make it all the easier for the viewer to relate to the issue being depicted. If you reach them where they stand, they’re much more likely to take action beyond just passively watching your film on Netflix, or blogging/tweeting about it at most.

Another way you could branch off of this is thinking about how to make data visualization for your factual content to be more dynamic, interactive, visually rich & personally compelling to the viewer/user. Infographics have been a fairly useful trend in the past few years, they present data starkly in a way that mass audiences will want to consume/learn & share. But they can be shallow or misleading, & they’re static. Transmedia technology can improve on the idea, & can be a great boon for filmmakers/producers.

This is a great jumping off point to start thinking about how you could design experiences for your documentary & factual projects, whether they be about informing people, connecting people, or even just disruptive means of marketing.