What if, to be able to share your content, your audience would be required to alter it?

(I’m diving deep into content-thinking this week… bear with me…)

Well, this is exactly what Tea Uglow wanted when he wrote A Universe Explodes.

Along with a publisher and a digital agency, Uglow, a Google employee, developed a digital book that is really special in the way it can be shared and “passed around”.

Only a definite number of people have access to the original copy. If they want to share the 20-page book, they first have to remove two words and add a new one on every page. This gets the person you share it with a unique and personalized copy.

Now if that new person wants to share it, they have to do the same. You can imagine that after a while, the book will be unreadable.

Just like those VHS tapes we kept copying over and over to our friends! (well kinda) 🙂

The concept behind all this is all about ownership. Who owns the content we produce and share, or at least how is the concept of ownership perceived by your audience? When you distribute content online, it is basically available to everyone, but what if you could control its propagation? What if your content evolved, or degraded over time?

“Making a mark on the book and then passing it on is one way to keep track of who it’s belonged to at any given time.”

Now there are many ways to look at this from a brand or a content agency standpoint. It can be seen as an interesting concept to inspire yourself from, but it can also push you into a thought process about how members of your audience react and feel when your piece of content gets shared to them.

I’ll let you think about all this… after reading the Wired article about the project, of course! 🙂