An interaction too far?

Friday, September 13th, 2013 by Simon Morton

This week Disney has been trialling its ‘interactive cinema experience’.

For those of you not up to speed, the idea is that film goers take their iPad or PC into the cinema (or the front room) and using the Disney Second Screen app they can enhance their cinematic experience.

The app can best be described as live time DVD extras, each movie has an interactive reel full of behind the scenes info, games and trivia, which runs concurrently with the film.

Apparently we’re all going to love trying to concentrate on two things at once.

Without opening the whole ‘multi-tasking’ debate I’m a little sceptical that anyone (especially children who are the initial target audience) can successfully achieve this.  And on a side note it would also be sad to see the last ‘mobile free’ bastion disappear, ‘sorry I was in the cinema’ is practically the only viable excuse left for being incommunicado in a modern, tech hungry, world.

We all know that a lot of the tech advances that start as entertainment filter through to business users and maybe this is one that will actually work better for business than it does for kids.

Recently John McCain was caught playing poker on his smart phone in a senate committee meeting. Despite the fact that I personally feel that anyone prodding at their phone during casual conversation (never mind a meeting) should need an anaesthetic for its removal, it’s actually fairly widely accepted that this goes on. Many people simply cannot bear to be disconnected from the wonders of modern communication for more than a few minutes; we’re all very busy people (cue the Friday funny below).

But are we missing a trick here? If you’re presenting and your audience is going to be emailing, texting and tweeting anyway then maybe the best way to keep them engaged is to hijack the very device they’re surreptitiously using.

We’ll need to hang on a while and see how the second screen revolution progresses before we start devising dual level presentations, and when we do there’ll be a lot of hard work involved in getting in right. Twice the interaction could easily mean twice as boring or half as engaging.

In the meantime we need to keep those phones and tablets where they belong by making sure that every presentation we give connects with its audience and holds their attention. By achieving this we could restore a tech free oasis in a world that badly needs it ‘sorry I missed your call/email/text/tweet, I was in a presentation’….



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