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Inciting Incidents & The Hyperreal, Part 9

Okay, let’s say you’ve built up a somewhat convincing or at least interesting web of inter-connecting hyperreal web artifacts using a combination of SEO & other transmedia storytelling tricks & outright social media hacks on Reddit, Medium, and wherever else.

They’re out there, they’re great, just waiting to be found… and waiting… and nobody is finding them. The web is never “activated” and no one ever tumbles down the intricate system of rabbit holes dug out for them by the hyperreal excavator.

What’s missing? What’s stopping this particular Event Ladder from rising up out of Preality substrate & “going viral” into this timeline?

I think of these missing catalyzing elements as “inciting incidents.”

There are many ways to cause an inciting incident to occur, and I’m an expert in none of them. I only know what I’ve done, or what I’ve inferred from what I’ve come across via the work of other hyperreal artists working in networked narratives & transmedia storytelling.

An inciting incident could be as simple as a tweet that takes off (archived), and that leads users to a trailhead, from which they can “do their own research.”

Or it could very well be a press release that the hyperrealist storyteller sends off to various editorial departments or journalists at “legacy” or next-gen online media.

It might also be a blog post that “goes viral” and which then gets reported on by higher-up levels of media.

Whatever it is, there needs to be a “thing” that activates the hyperreal web, and causes end users to spontaneously make & share their discoveries with one another.

By way of Henry Jenkins:

Transmedia storytelling expands what can be known about a particular fictional world while dispersing that information, insuring that no one consumer knows everything and insure that they must talk about the series with others

To be continued, as I gather my thoughts on this subject further.




Entity: Code Chanters

1 Comment

  1. Tim B.

    Also worth adding here that, when things do go viral, it’s important to have some kind of platform or funnel that will channel the interest of end users all towards a specific point.

    It could be an entry point/trailhead, or it could be as obvious as a shopping cart with a product which promises to either deepen or explain the mystery (or preferably both).

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