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Our Streets is a participatory multi-media, multi-platform project, which allows people to upload memories to a digital map. Our project aims to highlight the good times and the bad times that we experience in the city of Melbourne and beyond in a unique audiovisual manner.

An RMIT BCOMM production.

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  • HANNAH: OurStreets is a collaborative multi-media time capsule in the form of a digital map. Our aim here is to celebrate the good times (and the bad times!) that we experience in the fine city of Melbourne and beyond in a uniquely audiovisual and interactive manner. We then use our participants stories to create rich multi-narrative mash-ups which solidify connections between stories and place.
  • JULIAN: The theme of my tribe is built into the structure of our project as we encourage people who have strong narratives of Melbourne to come together to celebrate their stories. Whether the stories are fond memories or otherwise they all contribute to a historical and unique tapestry of Melbourne whereby experiences shared are similar in someways, different in most, but what they all have in common is their occurrence in the same dynamic city. What we have found through our contributions is that the memories contributed are neither irrelevant singular snapshots of a story on their own, nor are they overtly dissonant narratives, but more they connect memories of place to create tribes over space and time united by, quite often, the same Melbourne landmark.
  • HANNAH: We take from Jenkins a quote: ‘[covergeance] also occurs when people take media in their own hands. Entertainment content isn't the only thing that flows across multiple media platforms. Our lives, relationships, memories, fantasies, desires also flow across media channels.’
  • HANNAH: With our project we call out for participants and ask them to contribute to our media artefact production in a range of atypical avenues such as Facebook or Google maps. Doing this allows us to generate content for
  • HANNAH: our memory videos, while we shoot some of our own footage it is by and large owing to the contributor’s content. Hence participatory culture is also built into our framework, as we remix external contributions to make unique mash-up memory portraits.
  • HANNAH: Contributors also dictate the direction of the project as we used Facebook polls to decide which prompt contributors found more appealing for the next week. JULIAN: Facebook was an obvious platform that we used to promote our project and generate participation. We found Facebook to be a very multi-faceted social media tool that can be utilised in numerous ways but also had unique limitations. What we learnt from Facebook is that getting participants isn’t simple. It is about using your own networks on a personal level and further trangressing the movement into generating your own fan base so to speak. One of the limitations of Facebook is the new algorithm set as a default on most profiles that smart filters your news feed, blocking updates from pages or people that you have not recently interacted with. Thus with our project unless people made that initial interaction they missed a lot of our calls of submission. Also since everyone on Facebook usually have overactive newsfeeds anyway, it would be likely that our one update would have been lost in a incalculable amount of updates to follow.
  • JULIAN: Thus in some ways our Our Streets facebook page failed, as it was meant to be a hub of activity, however as it turned out, it really didn’t make much impression at all. In terms of making our project stand out we reached out to other pages that shared similar interests and promoted our page there as well as external Melbourne-based forums. In analysing this it, it all comes back to targeting audiences. Having a fan base of something that already exists is inherently easier as you already have an audience in tune with your ideas. Due to our project being memory-based we were not necessarily targeting an already tech-savvy audience which impacted on the unexpectedly high bar for contribution.
  • HANNAH: From the beginning we knew that ‘ease of contribution’ was going be a major hurdle we had to overcome. We therefore worked at making our project as easy as possible for our participants through making a how to video, step by step instructions, faq and the ability for people to simply respond via facebook textually and we’d upload the stories to our map ourselves. This has been the most successful avenue for participation, where people simply respond via facebook and we use the map as a form of data collection- a place where people can see their memories come alive. People were also responding better to events that we had created on facebook, where they simply had to leave a note on the event outlining their memory. We had to really lower the bar to get contribution effort down as low as possible in order to reduce apprehension/laziness on behalf of the prosumer.
  • JULIAN: From this project we have really learned that cultivating an active and respondant audience is not an easy task. It is not just a case of setting up the framework and waiting for people to contribute. It takes a lot of work to keep audiences engaged in an age where there are so many other options. At the same time we realise that certain social networking sites need to be mastered or customized before you can fully utilise them to the best of your abilities. Despite our issues and struggles I’d still say that our project was a success as we have a map that is thriving with memories that create clusters of activity that connect people and celebrate the unique stories of Melbourne.
  • Ourstreets

    1. 1. OurStreets is a collaborative multi-media time capsule in the form of a digital map. Our aim here is to celebrate the good times (and the bad times!) that we experience in the fine city of Melbourne and beyond in a uniquely audiovisual and interactive manner.
    2. 2. prompt: celebrity encounters in Melbourne. prompt: first memories of Melbourne
    3. 3. weebly website: http://www.ourstreetsmelbourne.com facebook blog
    4. 4. facebook, map upload, text, video, audio, images.
    5. 5. Using participatory contributions as a basis to create mash-up videos, which solidify the connections between memory and place.
    6. 6. from our personal pages to our streets page to events
    7. 7. Facebook: Map: 764 marker clicks 51 entries Our project faced issues in terms of creating active participation from passive viewing.