We increasingly share our secrets with our smartphones. This intimacy may be built around the experience of enjoyment, the core of entertainment. In fact, entertainment is central to our being in the world, together as communities. After broadcast media, the Internet carried promises of discovery and new experience. It allowed to participate, co-create, become a creator in one’s own right. But we have also seen a race to capture ever more of our attention. Every successive technology of entertainment can be analysed along the lines of interaction and community, personalisation and curation, and the border between a consumer and a creator. As new technologies emerge, it is more important than ever for us to actively shape our entertainment, and by extension our lives.
From the youngest age, Alexander Barclay has loved stories. Be it watching animated television shows, building meandering adventures with legos or acting in school plays, he found serious meaning in these diverse forms of play. Growing up to study economics, he discovered entertainment was discarded as sheer play, and not a major topic of academic research. Yet, we spend large shares of our time consuming or acting in entertainment. Our hopes and fears about the future are shaped by the stories we tell and are told. And technology, ever more present in our lives, is transforming the way we go about in the world, from finding a job to a restaurant, a house or a partner. Fascinated by technology and its impact on society, Alexander studied more specifically media and cultural industries. In his doctoral thesis, Alexander explored entertainment in public service media in the context of an attention ecology. He is a civil servant in Geneva and a lecturer in France and Switzerland.