Ever since we introduced Hack Days at Yahoo! almost a year ago, and especially since our monumental Beck-alicious Open Hack Day just a few weeks ago, I'd been thinking about how to organize a Hack Day-like experience for people who aren't engineers and don't write code. I was inspired by the friendly balance of collaboration and competition, the playful departure from daily routine, the feeling of creative mischief afoot, the useful toys and shiny new things that were born overnight, and not least by the smiling faces of the Hack Day audience and participants.
Frankly, I was envious. I wanted to share some of that Hack Day high with people like me, who love sharing photos on Flickr, writing blog posts now and then, dabbling in video, and spending way too much time looking at other people's del.icio.us links.
So, when the Yahoo! Time Capsule electronic anthropology project launched, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to design an event that would let participants create content to contribute to the Time Capsule. During this day-long experience, strangers recruited by word of mouth (with help from our fabulous event-listing service Upcoming.org) could interact with folks from Yahoo! and invited guests from the community of digital media makers and mavens. Together, we'd explore social media and discover new ways to edit, share, and distribute our creations using services like Yahoo! Video, Jumpcut, Flickr, and Zonetag as well as a state-of-the-art multifunction printer contributed by our friends at Sharp Electronics.
The Time Capsule Camp experiment took place on Monday. It was a blast! Seventy-some vloggers, videographers, photographers, students, artists, tinkerers, teachers, Yahoos, and friends participated in a scavenger hunt facilitated by the Go Game. The game was played by teams armed with cameras and custom WAP-enabled mobile phones. The scavenger hunt missions and clues were built around some of the Time Capsule's universal human themes: love, anger, sorrow, beauty, past, and now. The results were brilliant, poignant, and surprisingly hilarious. Or maybe, you just had to be there. (See all the videos here or watch Jumpcut's Steve Weibel video recap below.)
A video crew from BAYCAT joined us to document the events of the day, including afternoon workshops at our Sunnyvale campus, an interlude of balloon aerial photography, and a closing celebration. The Go Game guys (in amazing orange jumpsuits) showcased the creative results of the scavenger hunt missions, and we all voted by cell phone for our favorites. We were all in stitches.
The nature of social media is that links beget links; Flickr photos beget comments; internet video is intrinsically viral; and del.icio.us brings it all together. Couch potatoes become active participants, participants become creators, and creators blow up balloons when there's not enough wind for a kite. Everyone's a storyteller.
The Time Capsule closed last night, but at Yahoo! the spirit of creative fun is open 24/7. If you'd like to participate in future exercises in self-expression or join us for digital salons and intriguing product previews, you're welcome to drop us a line. We'd love to meet you next time!
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