I am continually reminded of the old pictures of television announcers talking into microphones, as if they were doing radio with pictures. In that spirit consider The State of Play, a conference that will be held at New York University and which will look at what may be the next evolution of media — virtual worlds of interaction.

Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Snow Crash coined the concept of a metaverse in which people engaged in commerce, made love, fought and/or merely hung out in virtual realms. Perhaps you are already aware of, or participate in, the massively multiplayer online games ( MMOGs) that bring that sci-fi vision into sharp focus for some millions of people today. I became reacquainted with MMOGs while writing an article on how some social scientists are using these online environments as social laboratories.

I am not a player. I wouldn’t know where to find the time. But I can imagine these environments will become more real and therefore compelling and will stretch the meaning of media. The conference blog will be a good place to check in for details if you’re interested but aren’t in New York Oct. 6-8.

We have a situation here. Pop culture commentator Xeni Jardin complimented a new CNN show in a recent piece in Wired News : “Launched in August and modeled after the White House Situation Room — where presidents confer with advisers on fast-moving matters of utmost importance — CNN’s Situation Room has become something of an R&D lab for news-gathering technology.” The show uses multiple TV screens, RSS feeds, Internet chat interviews and whatever other devices CNN’s creative people can concoct. “The show owes much of its future-forward feel to CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman,” writes Jardin, who served as CEO of the New York based 90s interactive entertainment firm Pseudo Entertainment. Jardin acknowledges in passing that there are complaints about information overload, but her piece is a paen to Bohrman who wants more, more, more. We sure have come a long way since the guy in front of the microphone.

No vampires? This item from MediaPost has been sitting in my blog file: “A new study shows that Web users who view display ads during the workday and early evening are more likely to make a purchase, fill out registrations, or otherwise convert than consumers who see ads between midnight and dawn.” A press release about the study by Atlas Solutions contains other insights (beyond the fact that it’s good to have a conscious audience). To get more marketing tips and research visit the Atlas Institute page, where you can sign up for a free newsletter among other things.

Census Update: I neglected to mention yesterday that I have emailed the Census folks to check that I have correctly analyzed a certain complicated table. As soon as I get some response I will resume my analysis of the Economic Census data. But the guy I wrote to is traveling so I expect a delay.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media