Media Genome

This is my third attempt at writing my blog today. For some reason I keep getting an error message if I type it on my laptop. Instead, just for today, I will use my iPhone.

I am including a link to another TED talk. I really enjoy TED talks to the extent that I get very fired up and motivated to do things. Anyhow, I found this talk by Professor Heidi Boisvert to be particularly interesting. While I was researching storytelling techniques for my development project, I happened to come across it. It is relevant to storytelling, the impact stories have on our subconscious and the control of our subconscious. I will leave the talk here for you to tune into. In the following paragraph, I have provided a summary of her research.

I am sure if this professor saw my shortened version of her life research squashed into 3 sentences, she would cringe. I am certainly not doing it justice. However, to summarize her research, Professor Boisvert is combining biometrics with artificial intelligence (A.I.) in order to tailor content for individuals. In plain terms, what this means for me and you is that A.I. combined with our individual biometrics will enable content creators to tailor what each of us reads and absorbs based on how we feel, think and react. In other words, Professor Boisvert is mapping a media genome. If she is successful at this, our media DNA can be established.

The implications of this are both exciting and scary.

On an exciting level, being able to change a persons attitude and behaviour by altering the live content they are reading could lead to enormous social change. Think what could be achieved for homelessness and child welfare! In fact, this could end wars. The pen and sword debate will simply cease.

In contrast, our minds could be negatively influenced if our media DNA was to get into the wrong hands. The ability of advertisers and marketers to target us with tailored content based on our individual subconscious reactions is an enormous power. The power of the media on the masses is already known, yet the power over an individual seems to be where the future is going. Will our minds be similar to machines, programmable by those who wish to completely control it? It does not seem to be far from becoming a reality.

If it comes to fruition, Professor Boisverts’ research will have a major impact on the fields of instructional design and technical communication. Indeed, it is an exciting time to be involved in content creation. However, this development raises the need to have that important debate on global ethical standards and whether they can and should be developed. Maybe now is a good time to consider global ethics. One thing Covid-19 has proved is that we are all completely interdependent.

To revert back to the beginning, what led me to this TED talk was my development project. My brain is getting very muddled and I am over worrying about everything. I can even tell you the source of my problems. It is having to story tell. Storytelling is not a strategy I am used to and I am apprehensive of it. When I deliver content for my own classes, it is impersonal (to maintain professional distance). Storytelling is completely outside of my comfort zone but I have to give it a go. After all, I undertook this MA to come out of my comfort zone.

To prepare, I have frantically skimmed through lots of storytelling tips. What I have learned so far includes:

  1. Develop one main character
  2. Be honest and ensure I tell my story
  3. Have a dilemma or crisis to lure the audience in. I think I will do well on this point!
  4. Give the audience choices so that they are steering the outcomes.
  5. Do not explain the moral of the story. If the audience need explanations and clarifications, I have killed it.
  6. Have the end result in sight. Know what message I want to get across.
  7. Be clear on the call to action.
  8. Before designing the look of the resource, write the script.

My plan for the next four weeks is to write the script. I will need to have my learning outcomes in my hand as I go. Will see how I do.


TED Talks (2019), available at

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