Notes from Baratunde Thurston Keynote at Webvisions 2012

Correspondent from the Future: Future & Digital Storytelling
Baratunde Thurston
The Onion
Webvisions 2012, wvpdx
  • @jjpolitics 
    • jack and jill politics
    • “the watermelon has long symbolized intelligence discourse”
  • tv host discovery channel “future of”
  • director of digital at @theonion
  • live hate-tweeting: all twilight movies
  • Author of How To Be Black
    • if you don’t buy this book, you’re a racist
  • Use brainstorm for headline about steve jobs death
  • For live-tweeting events, have prep documents with many dozens of tweets prepared.
  • for oscars: search onion archive and retweet.
  • using analytics to see what got retweeted, and then used that information to decide what to published on the website.
  • Be a Platform
    • Did planned parenthood satire story about “abortionplex”
    • Didn’t ask anyone to do anything, but...
    • Someone created Yelp destination for it
    • Received 282 reviews, quite detailed.
    • Supports and extended the world/story.
  • Invite people to participate
    • “If you sight a 500 foot tall Bin Laden, send pictures.”
  • Evolve Story Across Platforms
    • Created entire campaign around mayorship on foursquare
    • Video
    • In person campaign
    • In these divisive times, we need something to bring people together. That’s whiskey. Hence, “Whiskey Fridays”.
  • #HowBlackAreYou
    • Started as a dialogue on twitter
    • Turned into an idea for a book
    • Interviewed people on video (using iPhone 4s)
    • Invited people to respond on their website and tell their own story
    • The book had dozens of questions around identity.
    • “When did you learn you were black?” ... “a white ghost?”
    • Did a live-writing idea:
      • while writing certain chapters:
      • shared screen using
      • shared links on google+ and twitter
      • posted rules on the left:
        • chat amongst yourself, not with me
        • don’t request control, etc.
      • “How self obsessed does one have to be to set something like this up?”
      • “I have an urge to tweet about this”
      • “Based on what I read here, I am going to buy this book.”
      • “it is interesting to see his writing flow”
  • Stories Are Worlds
    • we ask people to suspend disbelief and join us in that world
    • the platforms are just different access points into that world
  • check out
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