Sometimes I just sit at my computer, visiting my friends’ project sites and giggling like a maniac. I am so pleased to call many brilliant folks my friends, but I am especially delighted by the work of my female colleagues who are striving for excellence in male-dominated fields and doing big things. Here’s the first in a series of spotlights on some folks who are making me particularly proud to be a woman right now:
www.rdigitalife.com – What does it mean to be human in today’s wired world? Join host Ramona Pringle as she speaks with leading experts & creative thinkers to hear what they have to say about the evolving relationship between humanity and technology. RDigitalife is a new transmedia interview project, creating a collaborative “blueprint” for living with technology (coming February 2012).
Check out the teaser trailer:
Interesting, right? OK, so Ramona is an interactive media producer, digital reporter, host and actor. Many know her as Heidi in the Ricola commerials but I actually had no idea until someone else pointed that out. RIIIICOLAAAA. Sorry, Ramona. I had to do that.
So besides having a cult following for playing Heidi, Ramona is a storyteller who is “always looking for new ways to tell stories, to engage audiences in meaningful ways, and to make people feel. I’m also fascinated by the digital world, and the ethics and possibilities involved in living in the digital age.” She’s currently new media faculty at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she is developing RDigitalife.
I met my homie Ramona at a BlogHer conference I was a panelist at in 2009. At the time, she was the Interactive Media Producer for PBS FRONTLINE’s Digital Nation and developed their participatory interactive media including “Your Stories,” a portal for user-generated content, featuring stories from real people across North America. She contacted me before the event because she wanted to interview me at BlogHer as part of the series.
Here’s the result, but the best outcome was that we became friends and stayed in touch over the years.
I liked that she listened to my critique of “Digital Nation” and how, despite it being a great jump-off point for discussion, it lacked adequate representation of people of color and seemed made primary for middle to upper-middle class white people. I appreciated that she made an effort to make her component of the project as diverse as possible.
Ramona is – what I like to call — “cool people.” She gets how important the many facets of the digital divide are and how better access to technology and training can be a conduit for change in so many ways, particularly for folks of color who have been historically oppressed through laws, glass ceilings and exclusive resources reserved for the elite. Technology *helps* to breaks down barriers created by class issues and racism and empowers people to explore their own identity on their own terms.
THOUGHTS ON RDigitalife
RDigitalife seems like a great opportunity for Ramona to take what she learning on “Digital Nation” and continue that conversation. “Digital Nation” touched on how “always on” culture is changing the way people relate to each other and how it’s impacting all facets of society around the world. What Ramona is doing with RDigitalife — from what I gather so far — is taking that very broad summation and diving into the complex nuances of the evolving relationship between humanity and technology.
I can’t really comment further until I see more content after the launch in February, but here are some of my initial observations and suggestions:
TRANSMEDIA COMPONENTS - What are they? What will they consist of? So far all I can find is the website, which (for now) solely features the teaser trailer. Most transmedia projects (prior to launching) have a social media presence to cultivate conversation and community before the release. In fact, that conversation prior to the release is often incorporated into the narrative. I know Ramona has been using her own account on Facebook to share and collect information, but I can’t find a RDigitalife Facebook page.
I assume the additional RDigitalife social elements (Tumblr, Google+, etc.) will launch next month but it would have been helpful to have at least the Facebook and Twitter page live and active in January to promote the release in February.
When it comes to creating, promoting and managing your transmedia project on all the usual social platforms, it can be tricky to promote something that is still in progress. That’s why I’ve found it’s helpful to launch your social accounts a few months prior to your release to use them as conversation watchers and share-ers. This is low-bandwidth work and can be helpful later on when sharing your content, as you’ll already have accrued some followers and will (ideally) be aware of the leaders in relevant spaces who you can connect with.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for all the transmedia components and how they will work together within the RDigitalife narrative. For those reading this who are new to transmedia, here’s a great primer.
TRANSMEDIA COMMUNITY - I hope Ramona connects (as part of her overall outreach and promotion) with Storycode, a new non-profit community hub for independent cross-platform storytellers and an incubator for their projects. Storycode originated from the active and exciting Transmedia NYC Meetup group, co-founded by my other awesome homie Aina Abiodun.
I hope to somehow work out going to brunch, lunch or dinner with Ramona and Aina later this Spring because I think it would be fun and super productive. I’ll connect them both after this post …
YOUTH & DIVERSITY - This is self-explanatory but I hope that Ramona continues with her commitment to sharing a diverse range of stories and utilizes her network (like me!) to find people of color to include in her RDigitalife content and to facilitate access to more relevant groups for education and outreach.
I’m excited about following RDigitalife and feel blessed to have someone as inspirational as Ramona as a friend. Please subscribe to Ramona on Facebook so you can follow along with me.