As told by ATXEquation student Sydney Comeaux
Up to this point, we have broken down the first two components in the Austin Equation—experience and community. While these elements are both imperative, the equation remains irrelevant without discussing the final outcome. At last, it’s time for us to begin investigating the unique characteristics of the third component—scene. The general idea of the term scene has been tossed around during lecture often, but it’s now time to start delving deeper with a more critical approach. In class we learned about three different perspectives that offer unique approaches for analyzing what’s in a scene and how scenes are made. The first perspective is purely Austin Equation-based. The second perspective focuses on scale free Networks. And, the third perspective is concerned with platforms.
The first perspective focuses on everything that comprises and makes up a scene. It is purely Austin Equation-based. According to this model, a scene is an aggregation of experiences and communities surrounding a particular area. The things you see within the scene are the communities and experiences that we’ve already discussed. Mapping is useful tool for illustrating the networks within a scene—not just what it is, but how everyone and everything within it is connected. While there are many scenes that are somewhat limited within their own networks, there are also some scenes that crossover. For instance, charity, fundraising, and non-profit organizations exist in every scene from education to music to media alike. For every scene there are several defining factors. In all scenes, there are a vast amount of experiences that aid in bringing and holding the scene together. Also, scenes are noted for bringing people from the outside in. In a sense, scenes are put on display. They bring all of the communities under one roof and can cross-pollinate with other scenes. Scene-level organizations, as opposed to communities, evangelize for the scene. In this way, they operate at a different, higher level. The steward-level responsibility is much broader as well. At the scene-level, you have to think beyond yourself; instead you must focus on how to integrate others.
The second perspective explains Scale-free Networks. These types of networks exist in every aspect of life including communities, scenes, nature, and so on. Scale free networks include many small nodes that are held together by a few hubs. Small world explains the short paths between any two nodes. Evolution occurs when hubs emerge through growth and preferential attachment. Competition exists as nodes with high fitness become hubs. Robustness denotes resilience against random errors. There’s something about certain nodes where connectivity is something they do. This is precisely how you get a scene. There are important nodes that hold the network together. Nodes also connect other nodes to one another. In class we compared this to DNA, which has the same network structure. From a stewardship perspective, you have to be strong, hyperactive nodes to have a robust scene. Connectivity must be nurtured because that is what creates a sense of connection, cohesion and so on.
The third perspective takes platforms into consideration. Platforms include architects or sponsors, providers, enhancers, and end users. For example, consider the iPhone as a platform. The sponsor or architect is Apple. The platform providers are Apple, ATT, Verizon, and others. The enhancers are the minds behind the varying applications, and the end users are the consumers that benefit from getting to use gorgeous devices that have integrated experiences. As a platform architect, you have to think through a lot of different complexities. There are a lot of different characters within a scene, so how do you help the scene move forward while still making sure that everyone gets what they need? Very few organizations are able to maintain a high level for a long time for this reason.
So, how does one make a scene? First, there must be quality experiences at the scene level such as Southby, ACL, and Fashion Week. There must be vibrant, unique communities that all serve a different purpose—think MRE model. Finally, there must be scene-level awareness and cross-community collaboration including events, members and promotions. When a person feels like part of a scene they should feel like they are not just a part of a small, independent group; rather they should feel like they are part of something much larger.