Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Science fiction megablog io9 has been fretting over the "drone" images, all the while laboring under the assumption that they must be the spawn of a viral marketing campaign (although it doesn't pretend to know for what):

This leaves us with the still-burning question: Whose viral marketing campaign is this? And what are they trying to sell us?

Here's my take: there is no fucking "viral marketing campaign." Like so many other recent CGI hoaxes (remember the Haiti footage?), this was done for the sheer fun of it.


Anonymous said...

Of course it could also be both: an alien viral marketing campaign.

Anonymous said...

While there is a good possibility this is a hoax (not a CGI model mind you but a physical one composited into a background plate), the reactions to the story continue to strike me as funny. Everyone sure seems to know what this "is" even when their assumptions are completely at odds with the available facts.

"This was done for the sheer fun of it" might be presuming too much, too early in the game.

No matter how you dice it, I think it's great the story is receiving so much attention. Eventually something has to break and it will likely be in the form of tracking down the core witnesses, validating or destroying their stories.


mr. intense (cool hunt luke) said...

I would agree that, at this point in the story, it would seem that this is not a simple, single-person hoax, done just for fun.

Remember how the story first broke, with the initial "Chad drone" photos, which I seem to recall were first sent to George Noory at the Coast to Coast show website.

Then the other photos started to appear, both from different people, and from differing locales.

Then, when the story seemed to be fading, the Isaac/CARET stuff came out, providing renewed interest. OMF, ATS, and other forum boards began to delve in detail into it, parsing the available data.

Then, Strieber and Linda Howe adopted the photos and stories that had and were developing. Howe was contacted by, and says she has names and numbers for some of these folks, who are apparently involved in this endeavor.

So, the current appearance of some coherent, large-scale, geographically disparate group of unknown parties being involved may only be from the perspective of being a view taken after the fact.

If there's anything "viral" about this story, it's been the nature of how, over time, starting most likely with one or two people, the story has developed, largely as a result of the curious appearance of the "UFO" involved, and the pseudo mysterioso way it was brought to public attention.

In an odd and intriguing manner, in a kind of positive/negative feedback loop, between those who seemingly got on the bandwagon to provide more and more materials for consideration, both pro and con (like saladfingers CGI/animation work), and the interactive or reactionary interest on the part of internet based ufo researchers and curiousity seekers, a kind of mini-movement or ongoing, burgeoning mythic tale has unfolded.

Speculations about some kind of unknown viral marketing campaign from some actual company or game or movie promotor is very likely incorrect--the viral marketing has been by and within the group, both creators and investigators and the merely fascinated, a kind of push/pull process, very similiar, in a way to what William Gibson described and wrote about in his fictional novel, "Pattern Recognition," where mysterious segments of video appear from unknown sources on the net, which is extraordinarily well done, but no-one seems to know what the purpose, source, or origins of what is called "The Footage" comes from. The people on the net who find, collate, and analyze this exotic video footage even have a hard time determining if the imagery, and characters shown doing seemingly meaningless or mundane things are entirely CGI or live actors combined with some kind of hyper-refined CGI tools.

These people, the seekers of the source, are known as "footageheads," as they search for the creator or purpose of what is called "The Footage," or the dozens of short, strange video vignettes distributed in some unknown manner to the public via the net.

Then, some rich advertising company owner, Bigend of Blue Ant, hires an urban "cool hunter," Cayce, who seems to have a talent for finding and tracking fashion and footwear trends, and how corporate logos impact within their memetic market, and what viscerally works best, and sells her obscure talents to multinational manufacturers and designers who want to capitalize on and exploit her innate hacker sense to find out the leading edge of these things so that they can be coopted by her clientele.

Since "The Footage" stirs up an increasing net-based interest and speculation as to how it is done, who did it, why, and for what purpose, Bigend hires Cayce to use her talents and street contacts to investigate for the ostensible reason that such graphic and video skills, and particularly the way "The Footage" has been anonymously inserted into the memetic multiverse of the net, how such creators and their uniques processes may be adapted and adopted to create more effective promotion and "mindspace" buzz, or generic interest, in products promoted by such new and unusual means.

In effect, I think the "drone" controversy is really quite similar. For example, Alienware, the high-end PC and laptop computer manufacturers keyed onto the drone "language," and then modified and embossed it into one or more of their laptop models, and even did a little viral marketing of their own, holding a contest to see who could decrypt the modified version of the "visual language" they ripped off from this strange affair, due to no one claiming copyrights to the anonymous drone imagery or the CARET materials, and used it in a manner which, recursively, and as part of the feedback loop I noted above. Weird, eh?

So, Denny, et al: could we be called "drone hunters," or something like that? "Chad catchers"? Drone dorks? Uhhh...

Help me out here, I'm sure we can come up with a better term... 8^)

Anonymous said...

I personally like "Drone Dork" Mr.Intense ;)

You bring up a great point and it does eerily mirror Gibson's "Pattern Recognition".

I am eagerly awaiting the results of the investigation and talks involving key witnesses. If LMH can be believed she's already confirmed the identity and occupation of two such witnesses. The more that kind of thing happens the more we find ourselves considering other possibilities.

If I had to pick I would personally choose the "Government Spy-drone" theory. The symbols of course are there to cloak the true nature of the craft (that being terrestrial, covert Big Brother surveillance).

Daniel Brenton said...

Mac --

I think your choice of the word "fretting" is exactly on target. Annalee hasn't spent the time with this kind of material that your audience has. She doesn't "understand" what a hoax is.

I think the science fiction world is one that is more caught up in compelling ideas and scenarios for their own sake, whereas the UFO/paranormal world is caught up in compelling ideas and scenarios that are ostensibly representations of a captured answer to a real mystery. Both audiences are "tripping" on the ideas, but the UFO/paranormal crowd are more like junkies looking for the next Big Answer To The Mystery after they come down off of the last one.

So Annalee doesn't understand the visceral value of a hoax (before it is recognized as a hoax) and the reason they are created.

The Odd Little Universe of Daniel Brenton

an "intense" cooool hunter said...

I agree to some extent with Daniel Brenton, noted above--Annalee is not inculcated with the history of the beginning and growth of this particular little hoax myth, as it were, and how it has developed some "legs" of it's own, especially, apparently, in part due to the Isaac / CARET fabricated docs---every paranormal website ought to have a forensic digital analyses capacity before they just go around grabbing "cool pix" without examining the photos and/or text background of such micro-controversies and putting them auto-mimetically online for the further spread of the incomplete and fabricated "data" thereof. But, it's so much a part of the ufo territory by now, and with the internet and photoshop, etc., this kind of misinterpretation and memetic viral data retransmission and spread is inevitable. Talk about art imitating life, and then life imitating or not vetting but accepting the meme for viral distribution--Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" process, or "game of telephone" in a loosely knit circle or network of sites that feature ufo and/or paranormal, scifi-like memeology, eh!?

Hey, welcome to the 21st century! (mostly just like the old century, to paraphrase the Who). 8^}