“What happens when the media people consume actually does what it was made to do?” That’s the question Matthew Watts was wrestling with as he and others in the Indigitous tribe were designing a new smartphone app.
People consume more media today than ever before on their phones, tablets, notebooks, desktops, and televisions, yet for the most part it is passive. We consume and move on without ever giving it much thought. The media may have made a brief impact, but then that moment is gone and we move on to the next thing in our crowded lives.
But media wasn’t made to be this way. Why do we go to the movie theater in groups? Watching a movie in a dark theater is a solitary experience. We certainly don’t go with friends to talk to each other during the movie. Or at least you better not or I’m going to throw popcorn at you. I go with friends because the first thing I do as soon as the credits roll is turn to my friend and ask, “What did you think?” We had just experienced something together, but we didn’t necessarily experience it in the same way. I want to discuss it. How did it impact you? What parts of this film resonated with you and why?
This is perhaps best realized in the AMC TV show Talking Dead. While the new episode of The Walking Dead airs, host Chris Hardwick and a panel of guests sit on their soundstage watching it. As soon as The Walking Dead ends, Talking Dead goes on the air, and it is an hour-long show of a group of people literally talking about the TV show they (and you) just got done watching. I used to joke that the target audience for Talking Dead is people with no friends.
But maybe AMC was onto something. They realized that people don’t necessarily just want to consume media and move on. They want to discuss it, but while message boards and conversations around the water cooler have always done that, what makes Talking Dead different is that the discussion happens at the moment of impact. The show has just ended and everything that impacted the viewers is still fresh on their mind, still having influence.
But what happens when you’re not physically there with a person? Can you still have those conversations at the moment of impact? That’s where Voke comes in.
Voke offers a choice of compelling short films designed to help start spiritual conversations. After you send one of those films to a friend over your mobile phone, you will receive a series of notifications. Through these real-time notifications, you will know when your friend starts watching the film, when/if they pause, and when they finish watching.
No more wondering if your friend got the link you sent. No more wondering if they bothered to view the content. More importantly, no more wondering when they viewed the content. Those notifications allow you to be there for your friend – via your phone – at the moment of impact. Sharing content digitally doesn’t have to be passive and disengaged. With Voke, you can share an impactful film like Falling Plates and, just as the film ends, ask your friend, “What did you think?”
Voke is currently available for Android devices (an iOS version is coming soon). Download from the Google Play Store.