Building upon the past… Final Project narrows

Tick tock, man. Can’t afford to drag my feet too much longer on all of this. Yesterday the bill arrived for the fall semester and today the call went out to find out why my financial aid wasn’t on it… seems they want me to fill out forms for it besides the FAFSA… who knew? They went out today, too. All of this has given me the wakeup call that I need. Time to finalize my subject, select my choice of advisors, beg/bribe/coerce my advisor, and then submit the prospectus for approval.

In looking at the forms for the Capstone/Thesis, there were FAQ that included the idea of repurposing a project that has already been submitted for a grade. Not a bad idea, and already where I was generally circling back to. The easy thing is, there are only so many subjects I’ve done substantial research or work with that would possibly interest me in revisiting.

  • Electronic Civil Disobedience and CyberTerrorism: This becomes very topically relevant when you look at the growing Cold War everyone is pretending isn’t going to happen between China and the Western World. Add in the fact that China has already been ‘caught’ (never the official government, of course) making cyber attacks on various Western targets.
  • The Rise of Amateurism/Death of Professionalism: Still relevant, the internet and the digital revolution is encouraging simultaneously the resurgence of folk art while causing stress within the existing market models of professional communicators. I can focus specifically on the Advertising Industry for this one.
  • The Open Source movement: Broad subject, I’d need to apply it specifically to something relevant in digital communications. Honestly? Not going this route.
  • Flash Development and Programming: I still have my not-quite-completed project from Information Animation. The coding was sound, but at the end I encountered a logistical problem and ran out of time in the coding to make my project work. Environmental programming. Virtual ant farms, so to speak, with self-sustaining animated Flash environments. Iteration 1 is almost (ALMOST!) working, so I could pick that back up, solve the final logical problem, and then get going on the subsequent iterations and development of true environmental factors. This is honestly intriguing… but I’m more likely to make it a personal side project. Actually, I’m -really- looking forward to playing around in Flash more after graduation. So maybe this is a good thing. Though I don’t know that I would want to set the bar too high. I’m not very good at coding, but I have the potential to learn.
  • Integrated Marketing: This isn’t a new concept, and it’s been bandied around the ad world for a while. I had heard of it before I got to QU, though it was always mentioned as a buzz word to help get more of the client’s money by trying to grab more than the ‘typical’ share of projects by promoting the agency as ‘full service’ and then hyping the need for ‘integrated marketing’. The argument being that if you go to the same ad/marketing agency, then we can ‘integrate’ everything. But the truth is, the reason behind Integrated Marketing as a business approach is due to the fact that the consumer is utilizing the web to interact with brands outside of the intended brand messaging. It’s the recipient who is in control of Integration, not the mass media. I think there’s real potential to create a Narrative project which provides a literature review on the subject of Integrated Marketing. I could add some interviews with key players and voices, try and find successful examples of Integrated Marketing case studies.
  • Revisiting Copyright Historically: This would be an Interactive Narrative which took a look at the current Copyright crisis, and then looked at historical periods where copyrights were challenged by new media and see how that all worked itself out. It definitely ties into the concepts of patronage of the arts, too. As well as the Tragedy of the Commons. So… probably far too broad.
  • Barriers to Wikinomics in the Current Advertising Agency model: Okay, so I haven’t done any homework on this, but I have read the book Wikinomics and studied the concepts behind it, and I have some strong personal insights on the ins and outs of the Advertising model of operations. Well, it’s a thought.

Okay, so what I need is a good month to just research all of the above options. The problem is that nothing really jumps off of the page, but there’s interest in all of them. Whatever topic I pick I will come to resent and hate in the extreme well before I finish, so I need to find something that really grabs me. Otherwise I’ll hit the hate period far too early in the process and not have the personal investment to want to move forward with it. I wish I were a better student in that way, but I know myself.

Narrowing Down to the Short List

Get rid of Open Source and Copyright, right off the bat. I haven’t done enough research on the Copyright thing in my past studies to position me well to choose a sub-topic narrow enough to focus on. And the Open Source, while fun, isn’t all that fun. Wikinomics and Advertising is an interesting angle, but I think I can work it into the Integrated Marketing more easily than I can break it out on its own. Electronic Civil Disobedience, while a fun project and side topic, does still feel like a side topic.

So that leaves me with the following short list to choose from:

  • Flash Development/Environmental Flash coding
  • Integrated Marketing (with a possible lean toward Integrated Communications)
  • The Rise of Amateurism/Death of Professionalism
  • Oh, and one more I forgot to list above: The Virtual Advertising Agency (there’s a new pattern of communications pseudo-companies forming based off of the networking model, not the incorporated or hierarchy model).

Actually… I think that it’s going to be the Virtual Communications Agency Model. I’ve got connections with a few folks who are operating on this model already… I can use them as case studies. It will end up being an Interactive Narrative more than a Thesis, so we’ll be going the Capstone route. I can draw from theoretical concepts of the new media, personal history in the advertising world, primary sources in the form of interviews and case study downloads, as well as pulling in top-level bits of Integrated Marketing, wikinomics, networking models, and the role of the new entrepreneur navigating between the Amateur and the Corporate Professional realm.

Well. It seems I’ve got a preliminary topic. Now it’s time to try and wrangle up an advisor. (cue evil laughter)

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