I haven't finished either yet, but I recommend both. :)
I'm nearly through Convergence Culture, and can't recommend it highly enough if you're interested in media/storytelling/technology/marketing etc.
Through exploring a few examples (Survior fans, Heroes, political blogs, Harry Potter fans, American Idol, the parts of Matrix most people didn't know about etc), Henry Jenkins explores just how much the very idea of what constitutes entertainment and storytelling, and, marketing and branding has changed.
My impatience meant I thought the book could use some editing :), but still its a must-read. I'll avoid trying to summarize the main points, but there are two tangential things that I took from the book that I'll talk about:
- On storytelling: This forced me to change my thinking on this. Back when I tried to write short stories, one of the arguments that I had with others was about writer's intent. I believed that if the writer didn't strongly intend for you to explore/think about something you shouldn't. It wasn't valuable or efficient to have side-stories or distractions. One of the things that I got out of this book, is how people can tell stories weaving in more and more complexity for people that choose to find it. Basically, find ways to give more and more to your most ardent fans.
- On feeding your most ardent fans: From the above, it was a reminder of just how important it is to provide ways to engage with those who are willing to invest more time in whatever experience you're providing. This applies not just to storytelling: it applies to any experience that you're responsible for. Find ways to delight your power users, while making sure the average user isn't confused and/or insulted.
The other book that I just started about 30 mins ago and about half way through.
Its funny. It rhymes.
I like funny. I like rhymes. :)
Sample rhyme about Obama early on:
"But the pros said it was a long shot bet,
To think the nomination's what he'd get,
When faced with Clinton's powerful machine,
They said, he might collapse, like Howard Dean,
Experience was what he seemed to lack.
And to be frank, they pointed out, he's black."