If you watched the Super Bowl, you probably already saw the ad for Jurassic World, the next sure-to-be-a-blockbuster summer movie in a franchise that continues to ask the question, “if we rebuilt the park AGAIN…would it still be a disaster?” and adds the question, “if we created an even deadlier dinosaur than a T-Rex…would that create a safe theme park environment?” While I’m guessing the answer are “yes” and “no,” respectively, from the minute I hear the John Williams score, I’m on board.
But if you’re on the electrified paddock fence about contributing your movie ticket’s cost to creating a blockbuster, Jurassic World wants you: you might not be interested in another dino-disaster flick, but could they interest you in a relaxing trip to the Hilton Isla Nublar, to enjoy the family attractions of their theme park?
Of course, Isla Nublar isn’t a real place. But that hasn’t stopped Jurassic World from launching the story of the film – which isn’t out for another 4 months – through an impressively-detailed website that mimics the life and offerings of a real-life theme park. The site features restaurant menus at the park’s dining establishments, educational materials about the dinosaurs that visitors will encounter, and “live-cam” footage from the park. If you’re really looking for it can you find the link, in tiny print, that says “visit jurassicworldmovie.com.” And if you try to “book” one of their packages – which come in Standard, Family, Adrenaline, Romance and others, each built-out and better-programmed than some conferences I’ve been to – you will get re-routed to Fandango. Otherwise, you can go about your business fantasizing about your luxurious fake-cation.
Jurassic World is creating its narrative’s world through transmedia – creating content across multiple media, in support of a story that will exist or already does exist somewhere else (at least that’s my layperson’s explanation; see here for something “more official“).
Transmedia extends the story and enables more personalized access to the narrative than a one-directional film aimed at an audience in a darkened theater could, and expands the reach of that story using different tools in the storytelling toolkit. Whether it’s webisodes that tell you more about minor characters or deepen historical backstory for a TV show or a peek inside the diary or blog of a character who’s always depicted as scribbling in a notebook, transmedia is a reward for fans who want to know more and a tool to deepen their relationship to the show. It’s like backchannel chatter among those in the know. Sharing information can be a powerful thing that builds trust and investment, creating a proud cohort of evangelists who can represent your brand even when you’re on your lunch break.
It’s become trendy to talk about “storytelling” when it comes to branding. But the word “story” itself doesn’t mean what it classically used to. Now there’s the all-access story, the story-behind-the-story, the context for the story, the story-after-the-story.
The JurassicWorld.com website may still not convince you to see Jurassic World, the movie. But if it convinces you of one thing, let it persuade you to accept that people are learning to expect a narrative that is dynamic, expanding beyond its initially perceived limits. And the most successful brands and organizations will spend the time, creativity and money to build out the universe around the main story in a way that supports their core message, whether it’s donations or dinosaurs.
A longtime Chicagoan, Elaine Soloway (mother to Transparent’s writer/creator Jill and writer Faith) recently relocated to Los Angeles – without a car, but with plenty of support from community, the 76-year-old writer/blogger, PR and social media consultant is making it work her own way, which I dubbed “The Solo Way.” 🙂 Enjoy this profile in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
On my recent trip to Israel, I visited the Voice of Israel studios in Jerusalem to talk culture, trends, social media, comedy and what “young professionals” really means – among other topics – with comedian and Big Felafel host, Molly Livingstone. Check out this 25-minute conversation below (if you’re on Chrome – if you’re using a different browser you may need to visit the Voice of Israel site post, here)…
This week was simply mad – a personal essay in the JTA (commonly known as the AP of the Jewish world) about loss, focusing on a ring that was my mother’s; I attended my lovely and moving good-bye party at work; a new part-time job came together which enables me to shift into new styles of writing (more to come on that later); and over this weekend, was mentioned in an article in the New York Times about the Modern Loss site, to which I had contributed a piece titled “Deleting My Mother.” (As an extra bonus moment of glee, the Times referred to me as “founder of the blog My Urban Kvetch,” a mention I never would have imagined when I founded it ten years ago.)
Earlier in March, I read a piece about improv inspiring creativity at Jewish nonprofits, and decided to take it one step further with this piece, “Yes-And’ing Our Way to Organizational Progress.”
This past weekend was also the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is typically marked by celebration and comedic performances, including something called a “Purim shpiel” – generally this highlights the story of Purim in some way, but the spiritual community known as IKAR treats the “shpiel” time as an opportunity to lampoon the community itself. This is my second year on the writing team for the Shpiel, and one of my two contributions was a parody of pharmaceutical commercials, but treating IKAR itself as the drug. (The other one, a Yiddish-inflected parody of “Roar,” by Katy Perry, isn’t posted yet.) There’s a lot of inside comedy, but I think it still plays to others. Check it out!
Hoping to post here more frequently in the weeks ahead, but since it’s been a while since I did a media roundup, I’ve collected a group of media mentions over the last several months. The pieces are varied and interesting, ranging from reflections on personal conversations with other people to pieces explaining my work with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and with the ROI Community of Jewish Innovators.
The Jewish Journal did a cover story about my work and that of my larger team working on young adult programs and engagement at the Jewish Federation. My program, the NextGen Engagement Initiative – a program of the Federation sponsored by a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles – got several paragraphs of attention (on page 2 of the online article) for our work in bringing together smaller Jewish organizations in LA for collaboration on the young adult engagement front.
Speaking of young adult engagement, in this series of two posts (so far) – “Getting Engaged, Part 1,” and “Getting Engaged, Part 2: Courting Engagement” I break down what engagement is and isn’t, and suggest principles to keep in mind when planning Jewish (or really, any) programs meant to engage people (especially young adults). These pieces caught the attention of eJewishPhilanthropy, and have led to ongoing discussion about the definition of engagement and how to craft relationships, especially on The Next Jew blog, where author Dan Mendelsohn Aviv ponders the engagement question through an education lens and “wishes there were an App for that.”
I am lucky to have a wide network of friends and colleagues, many of whom are also actively engaging in this conversation on Jewish life, identity and engagement, so occasionally some of our conversations spark writing for me and for others. I am extremely flattered to have been mentioned in these pieces written by Lia Mandelbaum in the Jewish Journal – “Language of the Birds,” which focuses on identity work, and “How I Define ‘Mensch’: Seven People on Unique and Holy Paths,” in which Lia lists and introduces to her readers a few people who have made an impact on her. (I’m on the list, but read it for the other people.:)) An eJewishPhilanthropy post acknowledged my early role in shaping PresenTense, and Drew Kaplan credited me for some observations on assessing the qualitative impact of Birthright Israel and other Jewish identity programs.
And I was interviewed on Israel’s English-language IBA News about the ROI Community and the global scene for Jewish innovation.
What are your thoughts on Jewish engagement and innovation? As always, your comments are welcome.
I’m honored to have been named one of the Top Ten Jewish Influencers by the National Jewish Outreach Program.
Finalists were selected by an expert panel of judges and evaluated based on creative and strategic use of social media to positively impact the Jewish community. The achievement was also covered in the Huffington Post.
I’m honored to share company with the other members of the top ten, all of whom are prominent in the Jewish social media world, and to be recognized for the value I try to bring into the world through social media.
Thanks to everyone at NJOP and Jewish Tweets who had a hand in this decision – here’s to us all – top ten and beyond – using our online and offline influence to bring value, comfort, intellectual stimulation, laughter, joy and unity to people everywhere. May it always be our privilege.
I just now returned from the TribeFest conference, a gathering of youngish Jews in Vegas. There are lots of ideas running round the old noggin, but while they race, I wanted to share this article in the NY Jewish Week’s Jewish Techs blog, which focuses on my social media updates as a method in staying updated on conferences, even if you can’t be there yourself in person.
Truly, it was an honor to be the center of this piece, and to have my efforts to share with people outside the room acknowledged – and to be among those amazing people in entertainment whose names are simply a single name. Basically, this is something that some of us are achieving by sticking to a brand on Twitter, and becoming known by a handle, which is often just a first name. In my case, it’s EstherK. But I guess in the Jewish world, most people know me as Esther.
The hashtag from this conference, which earned me this apparent Twitter equivalent to being named prom queen, is #tribefest. Check out the tweets from the past few days there and via the @tribefest account, handled by JFNA (@jfederations).
At this point, social media isn’t new. Some people have asked why I would even write something like this, which is so intuitive to people who live their lives in the www’s of the internet. And that itself is the answer: although the use of social media tools is growing in the world at large, not everyone lives their lives via Facebook, blogs or Twitter. And it’s not that everyone should always be on social media. But I do believe that social media can help, especially at traditionally underfunded Jewish organizations – a few hours of training, and the social media can be managed in house, for free.
Jewish nonprofits are beginning to acknowledge the need, but still seem skittish. And that’s why I took to my keyboard – as someone with extensive experience in the Jewish non-profit world, I take pride in and give honor to the fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without social media.
“Manifesto: Social Media and Jewish Organizations” has been retweeted several times by Jewish organizations and educators, shared with fellowship members and technology staffs. I’ve got meetings set up in New York to talk with potential clients about social media outreach. And I’ve been asked to lead a few groups at the upcoming Darim Online Northern New Jersey Social Media Boot Camp. Plus, the post is beginning to be cross-linked in other locations and cited as inspiration for kicking social media conversation into high gear (see the Boulder Jewish News).
It’s really gratifying to see a conversation accelerate, perhaps because it’s about time, and perhaps because of something you wrote. Thanks to all who shared it, retweeted it, emailed it, circulated it, or otherwise supported its sentiments. Go Team Social Media!
What’s kept me so busy in April and May that there’s been no time to update this site? In addition to churning out the pieces for Idol Chatter and elsewhere, I’ve been working with the team to launch the ROI Summit this summer in Tel Aviv, and am leaving California for New York, New Jersey and Israel imminently to prepare. (You can follow all the Jewish innovator action at ROICommunity.org and on Twitter at @ROICommunity.) I’ve also been increasing my experience as a social media consultant, working with a few clients in arts and Jewish leadership to improve their online presence, including activity on Twitter.
As for the articles:
You also may have missed this article about a new ridesharing site that’s trying to save the earth and help out people who need a ride: “Going My Way?” (MNN.com)