So after discussing HBO Imagine today in class I wanted to and fully plan to explore it more in depth than I did. That said I would like to share my thoughts on what I did think.
I thought it was an interesting new form of media and a bold and probably ahead-of-its time brand building technique by HBO. With the exception of crappy choose-your-own adventure books, which do not even compare to HBO imagine, I have never seen anything like it. The idea of the viewer having such control of what they take in information, what order they take in that information, and even how they take in the information is totally new to me and really cool to see. I thought the visuals were very cool and overall production quality was also very respectable considering the online and free-of-charge nature of the content. That said I did see some problems.
From the very start I did feel a little unsure of myself on how to actually run/watch/play (what should we call it?) the media. Of course, I rushed in without reading the introduction or instructions and so I didn’t know about the web button at the top of the screen until I had been on for 20 minutes or so. This meant that I was taking in content by blindly clicking on pictures in the background of the graphic, I had no idea as two how I was supposed to follow the narrative. This was not the best means of doing it. I think my other major problem was my ADD in terms of taking stuff in. I would be into videos and then bored by things like newspaper clippings. I would also be eager to see what else was on the Imagine and had trouble watching entire videos before wanting to click and see what else there was.
I think that the reason HBO did not find as much success in Imagine as they thought they were going to was because most viewers are not necessary literate in this type of media. I wouldn’t be surprised if more attempts like this pop up in the future, but I think in this instance (as there is always the case of new media/innovation) that this early attempt was a little bit ahead of its time.