Recently in Nick Lockey Category
A whip cracks in the darkness of an ancient tomb. Flickering torchlight casts the shadow of our fedora-clad hero as he stoops in the gloom, his hand sweeping away ten thousand years of grime from a forgotten relic. As the dust falls away an ancient clue is gradually revealed and the secrets of a long-dead civilisation come slowly into focus.
Like practically every 20-something bloke I know, I've been swept up in Indiana Jones fever, eagerly anticipating last month's release of Indy 4 by reliving all of those backyard fantasies of fighting Nazis, dodging fiendish booby traps and snatching priceless relics from highly improbable places.
Whether watching an ageing Dr. Jones creak his way through two hours of sci-fi mumbo-jumbo was actually worth the 19 year wait is a matter for debate, but the recent tidal wave of Indy mania got me pondering our own place in the annals of recorded history.
And I came to the conclusion that we're a future anthropologist's dream come true.
Whilst browsing the web the other day I happened across a fairly innocuous-looking story that, at first glance, seemed nothing more than one of those "strange but true" tales that you mentally file away to impress your mates with down the pub after work.
However, something about it set a few alarm bells ringing for me and, on further inspection, this throwaway story turned out to be a nugget of pure viral marketing gold.
It also prised open a family-sized can of worms in my hardened TV researcher's brain and set them wriggling in the part of my cranium that exists to remind me that the web can also be a truth-hunters worst nightmare.
The story concerned Ralph Hardy, a 13 year old kid in Texas who had been arrested after he swiped his dad's credit card and embarked on an epic $30,000 spending spree. This misadventure wound up with him and his mates holed up in a hotel room with a pile of junk food, a brand new Xbox and two nubile $1000-a-night prostitutes procured from the local whorehouse. It also landed Ralph in the arms of the law when the hotel room was raided by the local Texan constabulary after being tipped off by a delivery guy who'd supplied the boys with snacks.
Apparently our young hero claimed he was funding this escapade through the winnings of a World of Warcraft video games contest and, when the high-class call girls questioned his age, he convinced them that he and his friends were in fact "people of restricted growth" who worked for a travelling circus. Even better he went as far to inform them that, if they refused his custom, they would be in direct violation of the state's disability discrimination laws. Only when the boys seemed more interested in playing Halo than getting to grips with their "hired help" did the penny finally drop.
In a strange twist of narrative the poor, misinformed sex workers were released without charge whilst young Ralph was slapped with a three year community order for fraud, presumably ruing the day he figured out his dad's pin number.
Unsurprisingly the story turned out to be complete hogwash. It was later revealed to be the result of a viral marketing experiment by Cornish social media marketer Lyndon Antcliff (aka Lyndoman) who unleashed the story on popular finance site Money.co.uk.
Lyndoman deliberately laced his Munchaussen-esque tale with every conceivable narrative trigger point needed to ensure its viral success.
Flying in the face of traditional notions of journalistic impartiality I'm going to do something a bit cheeky in this blog post and give a bit of a plug to a project that's been going on at Maverick Television, the company that kindly pays my wages in my day job as a new media developer.
Now before you chuck rotten fruit at me, I just want to point out that A) I wasn't personally involved in this one and B) I think it's pretty newsworthy, not only from a company achievement point of view, but because it really ticks all of the boxes that I usually bang on about in this blog in terms of exploring the crossover space between TV and the web.
It also represents something quite extraordinary: a controversial, sensationalist and eyebrow-raising piece of multiplatform entertainment that genuinely has the potential to save lives.
If you haven't twigged already, I'm talking about Maverick's Embarrassing Illnesses spin-off, Embarrassing Bodies which hit the airwaves of Channel 4 last week amid the usual furore surrounding it's graphic, no-holds barred depiction of unfortunate body issues.
This time round, hidden behind the usual headline- grabbing cavalcade of warty appendages, crusty crevices, weeping orifices and unsightly growths was another newsworthy addition to the format which, in its own quiet way, was a spearheading a minor online revolution behind all of the attention grabbing TV.
Sometimes the longer you spend in a creative job, the harder it becomes to actually keep on innovating. Over time, you find that your ideas are just becoming rehashed versions of things that have been done before or that you've become so entrenched in your day-to-day routines that you just can't remember how to think outside the box any more.
What's more, because everyone in your industry is most likely reading the same magazines as you, browsing the same Sunday papers, watching the same TV shows, and exploring the same websites, chances are that even when something does spark off an original idea, a dozen other people have just seen the same thing and are now beavering away on projects pretty damn near identical to yours.
So what the hell do you do about it? Jack it all in and work in a factory? Cryogenically freeze yourself until a time when your hackneyed ideas suddenly seem ironically retro? Bury your head in the sand and try to ignore the whimpered cries of your inner muse as it slowly shrivels up and dies?
No. Just get yourself lost.
Firstly, I want to point out that a proper digest of this year's SXWX interative festival is in the pipeline and secondly I want to apologise for this rather epic blog post.
The thing is I really want to convey what struck me as one of the biggest revelations at this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas: Technology accelerates gossip so fast it's out of date before you even get to blog it.
My epiphany came during the now infamous Mark Zuckerberg keynote event where the Facebook CEO became the subject of probably one of the worst-received interviews in recent history at the hands of Newsweek journalist Sarah Lacy.
Many of you who follow tech news on the web would have seen the video clips of the disasterous keynote on Youtube and many of you may be wondering what all of the fuss was about. We'll nothing I have seen online conveys the sheer hostility of the crowd that day and this was something I really wanted to convey in my blog.
Unfortunately I was hamstrung by two factors. Firstly, I was caught up in a wave of mob hysteria that amplified this barely remarkable event into something approaching a war-crimes trial. Secondly, my decision to delay writing my post until the next morning meant that the legion of Twitterers, live bloggers and industry gossip-mongers present at the interview had practically burnt the hype out before Lacy had even left the stage.
So much so that I decided it wasn't worth publishing the post after all.
In hindsight, however I thought it would be pretty interesting to revisit it now the storm has blown over just as an example of the wacky zeitgeist that swept the blogosphere over one 24 hour period in March 2008.
Well, that's day one of the South by Southwest interactive festival under my belt and what a day it was. I sat in on some great sessions, met one of my digital heroes , interviewed an absolute new media legend (video to follow) and partied with a load of robots in a field at the Make Magazine party.
In fact I did so much stuff that I can't even begin to blog it all, but two sessions in particular struck a chord with the thing's I've been working on recently in broadcast new media.
A casual visitor to Chez Lockey tonight would be forgiven for thinking that I was in the middle of clearing up after a major break-in.
In fact I'm in the midst of an epic packing session in preparation for Friday morning when I'm due to hop in a taxi at sparrow's fart a.m. bound for BHX where a big shiny plane is scheduled to whisk me off to sunny Austin, Texas.
No, I'm not about to give up my new-found love of blogging to join the rodeo, I am in fact off to the South by Southwest interactive festival (or SXSWi for those of you with a vowel aversion), the biggest, geekiest tech-fest on the planet.
And in the true spirit of interactivity, you get to have a say in what I see and do at the conference as well as following the action via an ambitious experiment in collective reporting.
A few months ago, I attended a briefing for a broadcaster's new commissioning round. Representing a particularly progressive department in a notoriously forward-thinking channel, the commissioners were adamant that they were going to hammer the multiplatform message home and decided to invite an equal number of traditional TV indies and new media production companies to come along and explore how they could combine their efforts.
I think they were hoping to usher in a shining new era where telly luvvies and the new geek army would fall hopelessly in love with each other and skip off merrily into a brave new world of hybrid media together.
What they got instead was more akin to the Sharks and the Jets from West Side Story.
Hi, I'm Nick and for the past 12 months I've been occupying the strange twilight zone that exists between traditional TV and the worldwide web.
Having begun my career in television development, churning out daft ideas for TV shows on a daily basis, a year ago I landed a job in the New Media department of a TV Production company and suddenly found myself catapulted headlong into the middle of a digital revolution. Broadcast television and the web are colliding and intertwining like never before and, as a New Media producer, I guess it's my job to try and weld the two bits together as seamlessly as possible.
The thing is that's easier said than done.