Could ‘Social Fiction’ Be The Next Big Thing?
We all know that one of the best ways to build an online presence is to tell a compelling story. Steve Lowtwait, a former Nickelodeon Animation storyboard illustrator, has taken this idea and run with it, teaming up with Facebook employee Michael Smith to create fictional characters whose lives play out via Facebook and Twitter.
A fictitious family
Their story focuses on fictitious Colorado outdoorsman Hawk Funn and his family, all of whom have their own Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds. The story unfolds through tweets, status updates and cartoons – and readers can interact with the characters by commenting on the action. “When someone interacts and comments,” says Lowtwait, “the characters will comment back.”
And while this helps viewers feel immersed in the story, Lowtwait maintains that Hawk Funn’s life will not be subject to every fan’s whim: “In some sense, drama is when the characters do things you don’t want them to do, or you see them doing things that hurt other characters or themselves.”
A Kickstarter campaign is currently underway as part of Lowtwait and Smith’s plans to scale Hawk Finn: “That’s going to involve somebody who’s part community manager, part writer and being mindful of what you can say in the story while you’re talking to the audience without giving anything away, but also being able to be the characters.”
Lowtwait remains confident that social fiction has the potential to be big business. “Social fiction kind of spans the entire Internet. It’s got to have the websites and other social accounts that support the story, blending fiction and reality to create a whole world. And I think there’s the possibility for an industry to grow up around storytelling like that.”
The next marketing tool
And he believes that social fiction could evolve into an effective, immersive marketing tool. Hypothetically, a brand could launch a narrative where their products were simply a part of the characters’ lives, like the on-going stories of the BT flatmates or the OXO family in the world of television advertising.
So, what do you think? Is interactive fiction something you’d like to see more of on social media? And would you consider it a potential avenue for building your brand?