What I’m reading: The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose

Digital & Online


The Art of Immersion is a book about how the internet is changing storytelling.

It’s written by Frank Rose, digital anthropologist and Wired contributing editor.

I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve had the book for ages but never even opened it. That may have had something to do with the swirly cover which does my head in every time I look at it!

Frank Rose started reporting on the tech world in the eighties after getting his start covering the punk scene at CBGB for The Village Voice, chronicling the emergence of Patti Smith, the Ramones and Talking Heads. So he’s a pretty cool dude.

He does something quite clever in The Art of Immersion: he makes the uninteresting interesting. Specifically, he writes about gaming which is usually a topic that bores me to tears.

Frank has managed to use a little of the same magic – albeit in a totally different way – as the filmmakers behind Indie Game: The Movie. He’s made it interesting and understandable for people who aren’t gamers.

More than that, though, The Art of Immersion looks at our participatory culture, changes in Hollywood and how we got here. He writes about the evolution of the hyperlink and how printing and television changed everything way back when.

He writes about Charles Dickens and the ways Dickens responded to his audience and made changes to his stories according to feedback from his readers.

Which is precisely what’s happening in (some parts of) the world of storytelling and the interwebs today.


  1. EricaGlasier says

    Have you got to the evolution of the hyperlink part yet? I just taught a section on social TV & it got into ACR (audio content recognition), where your smartphone or tablet listens to the tv & syncs content on your device with the timecode/content in the show. Bit of an “audio QR code” & the obvious way (to me) the hyperlink has evolved to infiltrate film & tv.

    Sounds like a great book!

  2. Yes! I loved reading about the hyperlink and how it’s influenced so many other things.

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