POLL: Passive or Immersive Audience?

As I’ve no doubt made you all aware, I’m writing a book on comics and transmedia, to be published next year. As part of it, there’s a ton of research, and for this one, I need your help. The opening section is on transmedia storytelling, and I need to gauge what type of media consumer you consider yourselves. This is extremely unscientific, but I do need a bit of feedback to help with my research.

So, take a gander at these questions three, and respond in the comment field – thanks in advance!

1.) Do you consider yourself a Passive (watch the movie, watch a TV show, read a comic) or Immersive (consume all the parts of a project, actively seeking them out) media consumer?

2.) If you consider yourself Immersive, what is it about the project or intellectual property that makes you seek out each story piece and become an active member of the project community? This can be anything, from the story, to the characters to the creators.

3.) If you consider yourself Passive, what would make you lean towards Immersive? Anything? How many pieces of story do you consume?

14 thoughts on “POLL: Passive or Immersive Audience?

  1. 1. I’m both depending on the media. I have some shows I like, but forget about until a new episode pops up on my hulu queue. Yet , ask me about Harry Potter sometime… my quest for people to talk to about it literally lead to a sequence of events that changed my life. Which leads to…

    2. It’s hard to pinpoint. I know it’s a piece of media that after consuming it my first thought it, “I HAVE TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT THIS!” but why? I think it’s media that has mystery and calls for interpretation or prediction. Harry Potter, Lost, Dr. Who all have rabid fanbases that seem to form in order to say “What next?” and then obsessively collect and dissect clues. I think, for me at least, that’s key. Simply enjoying something may get me to proclaim my love once or twice, but mystery and points of discussion are what make me want more, more, more!

    3. For the things I’m passive about, nothing really that isn’t already explained in two. Some just never will. For example, I love Modern Family. It’s one of my favorite new comedies and if anyone brings it up I will laugh and laugh with them. But I have two episodes sitting in my queue I wasn’t aware of till this morning, and I’m certainly not on any Modern Family boards or websites. It’s funny and enjoyable, but not *engaging*. It’s a show you consume and then it’s over. There’s no “What does this mean?” or even “Will they or won’t they?” which is the sitcom or dramas answer way or including mystery or suspense. It just is.

  2. I believe that I am both. More so passive.
    Some things are just for surface enjoyment. But there are others that pique my curiosity or the concept or writing are so good that I will go out of my way to look at message boards or “fan” sites. In these instances I will read or watch anything that I come across or mentioned to me about the project
    As far as what would make me turn towards being immersive about all media, it won’t happen. Sometimes I just need a little surface entertainment.

  3. 1. Passive. I really, really want to be immersive, but I just never seem to manage it.
    2. N/A
    3. I think for me it’s about ease of finding things. I know that I don’t normally ‘seek out’ parts of a story. I don’t often seek out anything; my blogs are delivered by RSS, my TV is series-linked on Sky+ (kind of like British TiVo). For me, if I were to be deeply involved in a story it would have to be a) automatically delivered to me or b) unbelievably strong and engrossing. And I mean unbelievably. I’m terrible at even taking in all parts of my friends transmedia projects, let alone one I just come across via recommendation etc.

  4. Thank you Oli – do you find that it’s a time issue when you say “I really, really want to be immersive, but I just never seem to manage it?”

    1. Sorry for the delay, Tyler, but yes, for me the immersive experience is a time thing. If the content is great and easy to find, I’m far more likely to immerse myself. If I have to hunt for it, dig around etc, then I’m far less likely to take it all in. Does that make sense?

  5. I’m definitely passive, although that is more because of lack of time, as opposed to lack of desire. I can be a bit OCD, and thus try to avoid getting sucked down the various rabbit holes. Lost was the only one that snagged me badly the past few years, and thankfully there wasn’t that much extra material.

  6. 1. Definitely immersive if the property warrants it. Perhaps I date myself, but I remember reading and re-reading the Lloyd Alexander fantasy series as a child and just wishing there was more to it than the five – albeit wonderful – books. I suppose I created my own brand extensions by writing to the author, asking for name pronounciation guides, dressing as one of the characters every Halloween, and even scripting my own (no doubt dreadful, thank goodness lost) original script based on the storyworld and coercing my 5th grade ”pals” to perform it, under my direction, for our teachers!

    2. I think there are media consumers who are hardwired to seek that immersive hook and are more than willing to drown in it, and those who generally want nothing more than some noise and graphics as background diversion while they decompress over dinner in front of the telly. That said, those few exceptional storyworlds – obvious top of minds include LOTR, Star Wars, Harry Potter – might even crack that ”lazy” media consumer. In my opinion, in those cases it is character that makes the difference. A character who the consumer can ALMOST imagine their best selves being. Just that much more aspirational than relatable, distinctive either in terms of their innate character, or the way in which they negotiate the fraught circumstances into which they are thrown.

    3. Not applicable! Good luck with the book, I look forward to reading it!

  7. Im passive, but I wish I was more immersive. It’s only because of lack of time. When I do seek out a project, it’s because something about it jazzes me. I had to have heard about it somewhere to make me want to take the time out of my schedule to find out more about it. Sad, I know… but it’s honest.

  8. Karen – first up, so sorry it took me so long to approve the comment! Grr. WordPress. That’s an amazing story about your 5th grade class! And I totally agree with you – character is what makes all the difference in the world. I frequently proselytize the importance of character – these are the people you welcome into your lives! Thank you again!

    The Illustrious Jeanne – time has been the number one issue I’ve run into when asking this question. Very fascinating, but completely understandable. Thank you!

  9. Passive, but it’s a time constraint thing. Once in a while I will visit a site for a TV show I really like to learn a little about the planning and sets, but it’s a value added, use once in a while, not a necessary feature for me.

  10. Dorian – thanks so much for the comment. Another time issue, which seems to be the overwhelming thread. Thanks again!

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