Check the Competition: Digital Artefact Beta Reviews

“There is a danger of imagining the future in terms of the present and thereby of forming a closed circuit of representation.” – Tony Myers, The Postmodern Imaginary in William Gibson’s Neuromancer (2001).

Heading into the final stages of the BCM325 Digital Artefacts, we’ve been asked to review peer’s betas and reflect on the feedback loops from students and our audiences. My digital artefact maps out my future career path as a journalist and creative within the Australian music industry. By reviewing the following DA’s and gaining insight from other students, I hope to understand the changes I need to make to my project before the final submission.

Throughout the final weeks of BCM325, we’ve explored cyber culture, cyberspace and the implications of cyborgs and artificial intelligence. While I found it hard to relate these topics back to my DA, I’ve been interested in the ways in which art such as films, music and art have shaped the future. With this in mind, my future career plan and the work I produce both as a journalist and creative should look to push new boundaries and challenge perceptions of the future.

Digital Artefact 1: Future After Graduation – Hussein

For the first review, I commented on Hussein’s beta regarding his Future After Graduation:

Hey Hussein! We’re doing very similar Digital Artefacts and I really enjoyed reading through your approach. I focused more on my individual career in the next five years and the different aspects of my work. My first recommendation for your project is to consider the future of the particular industry you’re looking to work in. This helps readers gain a more personal insight into you and will align with the subject of tackling these issues through various scales of personal impact and overall impact. I also found Wendell Bell’s work super helpful for my DA but I want to recommend ‘Marketing in Cyberspace: What Factors Drive E-Commerce Adoption’ as I think it’ll line up with your project! It looks at marketing in the cyberspace which obviously ties in nicely to the subject materials but also is an interesting read on how the marketing industry might change over the years! Lastly, I think you could build your audience a lot bigger than just Twitter. While it’s a great starting point and it is as far as I’ve taken my project as well, I think Facebook would work really well for yours! Or even Reddit. Try think about your public utility deeper than just students at UOW. You’ve got future employers, other university students, people with interest in marketing etc. Looking forward to seeing your final product and good luck in the next couple of weeks!

Hussein’s DA is extremely similar to my own, as he predicts his medium range future in social media marketing/management after graduation. His DA is depicted through a series of blogs and his online presence on Twitter.

In his beta video, he showed the multiple feedback loops from comments and Twitter interaction and revealed some of the background research he had undertaken since his pitch. I recommended for him to consider what the future of his industry might look like and how or if this might impact his own future in the field. Hussein included reference to Wendell Bell’s work, which I also found to be useful in my own DA, I linked him to an article I found regarding the future changes in his industry. While he had made a clear effort to include outside sources, I thought that tying in subject materials with industry specific sources would enhance his DA significantly. Secondly, I suggested for him to use Facebook and Reddit to expand his reach as I think his blogs would appeal to a larger audience than just the UOW cohort that he is currently targeting.

Due to similar nature of both our projects, my comment to Hussein was beneficial to my own work. Like Hussein, I need to continue considering my public utility and create more feedback loops for myself before the end of the semester.

Digital Artefact 2: The Future of Retail – Steph

For the last review, I commented on Steph’s beta that investigates the Future of Retail:

Hey Steph! I think your project presents a really interesting discussion about the future of retail and your first blog tackles this topic well. Your second blog is quite short and I think if this was the type of content you were eager to continue doing, I’d recommend using Twitter (through threads etc.) or even Tik Tok/Instagram. This will help build your audience and better cater to the content you’re making. Building an audience was something I have been struggling with as well, especially because my Digital Artefact mainly benefits me (I’m doing a career plan for my DA). The easiest way to build your audience is to understand your project’s public utility – why should the average viewer care? Who would be most interested in this content? Who are you trying to target? Exploring this side of your project a little more in the future will make a huge difference in your overall DA. Another suggestion, I’d look to include more subject related materials and readings. I love how you incorporate your DA with the films we’ve been watching but I think you could take this even further and start investigating how your DA relates to futurism, cybernetics, AI… maybe even cyborgs! This one isn’t from the subject materials but this report might be useful. You could definitely have a read of this and explain it to your audience through a futurist lens. Good luck in the last couple of weeks!

Steph’s DA investigates the future of the retail industry and the long range impact of potential changes. Her project takes place on her WordPress website where she has posted two blogs so far.

Steph has conducted thorough research into her topic and connected insightful links to the films we’ve watched throughout the semester. Similar to the other DA’s I’ve reviewed, I recommended that Steph branches out to other social media platforms and gain a deeper understanding about her public utility. In doing so, she’ll be able to create constant feedback loops and heighten her engagement with her audience. I also suggested a report to her that might allow Steph to better link her DA to the subject materials and investigate the retail industry through a futurist lens.

Steph’s DA is one of the more well-researched projects I’ve seen and I was really impressed with the way she referenced her DA throughout the film screenings. This inspired me to reflect on my DA and how it could relate to the films we’ve watched, as well as consider my public utility to a further extent.

Digital Artefact 3: Bits & Masterpieces – Elise

For the second review, I commented on Elise’s beta and her project, Bits & Masterpieces:

Hey Elise! I think your Digital Artefact targets a really interesting niche and it’s great to see how adaptable you’ve been to feedback already. I think the biggest weakness of your project would be your audience, as you’ve been focusing on building your website. However, your DA has a huge public utility that you could be targeting more. Pinterest or Instagram would work so well with your project as you could show different art news or art you think will/won’t have a place in the future. As well as that, using these other social media will help boost your audience and you can direct them back to your website. One thing that I’ve noticed in the future of art is NFTs. Not sure if you’ve heard much about it, but it’s quickly becoming a huge source of income for artists (not to mention a bunch of other creative/sports industries. Here’s a little explainer to NFT’s. Lastly, I’d love to see how you tie this into more of the subject materials in regards to futurism and hyperrealities. This would tick a box for the subject outline but I also think it would be super interesting to see how these developments in art ties into the ideas of futurists. Goodluck with your project in the last couple of weeks!

Elise’s DA was altered since her pitch and now, she’s chosen to explore the future of art trends, forms and accessibility in the next 20 years. Elise has created a new website and has posted two blogs so far.

Bits & Masterpieces is an incredibly interesting niche for Elise to be investigating but I feel as though her content production is one of her DA’s biggest weakness. Though it’s definitely hypocritical of me to say it, I think Elise’s project regarding art is held back by not engaging on image-focused social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. By posting new artworks that she likes or art-related news, Elise would be able to create a larger following that she could then direct back to her blog. In regards to her blog, I suggested she explore NFT’s as it is a relevant trend in a bunch of different industries and would help her relate back to the subject materials.

I think Elise’s DA has huge potential and its one of my favourite project’s I’ve seen, however, by peer reviewing her work, I found obvious areas where I thought she could improve. Commenting on her beta has provided me with new ideas for my next DA blog and given me confidence that although our project’s are niche, there is still a large audience interested as long as we’re able to correctly market towards them.

Conclusion

The three projects I reviewed were all similar to my own with the way they are blog focused and industry specific. Reading my peer’s blogs and checking out their DA’s has allowed me to recognise the importance of a project’s public utility and consistent feedback loops. The main criticism about my comments is that I should’ve engaged more with the subject materials instead of just recommending them to check out particular articles. I think I did this more successfully than the previous blog but I should’ve expanded upon these ideas further. Heading into the final weeks of BCM325, I’ll be able to put to practice both the advice I’ve given Hussein, Steph and Elise, and the suggestions from other peers.

Frank Tremain.

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Check the Competition: Digital Artefact Pitch Reviews

“The past is not a guide to the future.” – Wendell Bell, Foundations of Future Studies (1997).

By studying BCM325, I have learnt that having a notion of what the future holds is entirely different to understanding future thinking. My digital artefact (DA) aims to take inspiration from the careers of music journalists of the past, however, Bell’s way of thinking has motivated me to think and plan ambitiously, both when crafting my DA and providing my peers with feedback.

Throughout the weeks of this subject, we have been identifying the future ideologies, technologies and trends explored in science fiction films. Despite seeing rogue AI’s, flying cars and space expeditions, I feel as though my DA is far more grounded in its sensibility. As Alfred North Whitehead said, “almost all new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced.” With that said, I’m looking forward to adding a sense of absurdity to my DA and helping other students expand upon their own project.

Digital Artefact 1: Virtual Reality Rise – Leo

For my first DA review, I looked at Leo’s Virtual Reality Rise video pitch. Leo plans to explore the rise of VR technology and its implications in the next 20 years.

In my comment, I referred him to two different sources including an article that might prove useful in one of his future video essays and then a reading from Wendell Bell titled ‘Making people responsible’. I recommended the second source as I thought his pitch lacked reference to the subject readings and lectures. This was something I struggled with as well and by commenting on his pitch, I was able to apply the readings in a way different to my DA, allowing me to better understand Bell’s work.

Another thing I pointed out in my comment was Leo’s methodology. His was clearly defined and it was obvious that he had approached his pitch with prior background reading. While I feel like I am knowledgeable in my own DA topic, Leo demonstrated how to express this more effectively to an audience.

Digital Artefact 3: The Future of Social Media Marketing – Rachel

In my second review, I commented on Rachel’s pitch and her investigation into ‘The Future of Social Media Marketing’.

Rachel’s pitch is an extremely well researched and thought-out start to her DA. Out of all my comments, this was the project I was interested in the most, as a clothing label owner and someone who is also passionately interested in social media marketing.

In my comment, I commended Rachel on her in-depth background research and clearly outlined methodology. As her project already has an existing audience, I suggested that she could play around with certain aesthetics and aspects to her DA, to create an immediate feedback loop for herself. This was something I did in previous subjects and it made it super easy to recognise what was working and what wasn’t.

As she already had plenty of academic sources, I sent her a couple of local brands that I enjoyed to give Rachel a few more ideas on different marketing techniques. One thing I forgot to include in my comment was a suggestion that she should include a multimedia element to her DA, as this was one of the key points of feedback that I received. Commenting on Rachel’s pitch inspired me for my own DA, especially when I focus on the clothing brand component of my future career plan.

Digital Artefact 2: VR Fitness Games – Yidi

The final DA review was for Yidi’s VR Fitness Games. Yidi’s DA is similar to Leo’s in the way that it explores VR, however, this particular pitch takes a more niche approach and plans to examine the use of VR for fitness.

In my comment on Yidi’s blog, I gave her some pointers on ways to get her DA to a 300-level project, as my DA was criticised for was its lack of multimedia elements. Yidi intended to carry out her project through three blog posts, similar to my own. However, I gave suggestions on how she could include multimedia aspects, such as a workout time-lapse or an instructional video on how she sets up her equipment. As part of this audience, I would be much more inclined to read a blog that included something like that and this has helped me understand how essential including a video or audio element in my project would be.

I sent her an article regarding VR and fitness that could be beneficial to her and I felt as though it gave an interesting amount of context that I didn’t quite understand from her pitch. Lastly, of course, I suggested that she include more subject related materials as this was something I’m still kicking myself for not doing more of.

Reading my peer’s blogs and checking out their DA’s has allowed me to better understand the importance of including subject materials and different ways to approach my own work. I’m looking forward to checking out all these DA’s and more as they develop into their beta.

Frank Tremain.