Don’t Throw Away Your “Transmedia” Business Cards

Trying to come up with alternate names for transmedia is like the trashy reality TV of transmedia. We know we shouldn’t do it but it sucks us in anyway. Last week I was reading a lot of great tweets and blog posts from Power to the Pixel. But I knew one tweet could cause another round of “What should we call transmedia?”

Reminder: The word for transmedia is transmedia. Yes, you could make an academic argument that transmedia doesn’t linguistically represent the full range of cross-platform, audience-empowering, event-based storytelling. But the counterpoint to that is: no one cares. Everyone just wants to call it something and practically everyone has decided to call it transmedia.

The Internet is the least sexy way to describe what The Internet does. The World Wide Web is more friendly (unless you have arachnophobia) and www is actually built into addresses. Hypertext sure sounds frenzied in a fun way. But the word for the Internet is the Internet because that’s what most people call it.


Any term that has a hyphen in it (cross-platform, cross-media, multi-platform, multi-media) will never catch on. It requires hitting shift and finding a key in that top row, or hitting a symbol button on a tablet. Eliminate any alternative that has a hyphen.

Certain transmedia people love getting whipped into a frenzy over the labels. Let’s stop. Please. Audiences just want want to know this isn’t a boring single platform story and there’s some magic that takes place jumping between screens or media or places. Forget the label and focus on being a better magician.

Eventually something will come along to replace it, the same way “Google” replaced “web search.” But until something comes along and organically replaces it, let’s all go dig our business cards from the trash, dust off the coffee grounds, and keep calling it transmedia.

The End

Mike Vogel

Mike Vogel is the creator of Phrenic, a transmedia thriller you watch, read, and play. He's directed two independent feature films and written a crime-comedy novel, all of which you can find on his personal blog

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