Spreadable Media

Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture

HENRY JENKINS
SAM FORD
JOSHUA GREEN
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfk6w
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  • Book Info
    Spreadable Media
    Book Description:

    Spreadable Media maps fundamental changes taking place in our contemporary media environment, a space where corporations no longer tightly control media distribution and many of us are directly involved in the circulation of content. It contrasts stickiness - aggregating attention in centralized places - with spreadability - dispersing content widely through both formal and informal networks,some approved, many unauthorized. Stickiness has been the measure of success in the broadcast era (and has been carried over to the online world), but spreadability describes the ways content travels through social media.Following up on the hugely influential Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, this book challenges some of the prevailing metaphors and frameworks used to describe contemporary media, from biological metaphors like memes and viral to the concept of Web 2.0 and the popular notion of influencers. Spreadable Media examines the nature of audience engagement,the environment of participation, the way appraisal creates value,and the transnational flows at the heart of these phenomena. It delineates the elements that make content more spreadable and highlights emerging media business models built for a world of participatory circulation. The book also explores the internal tensions companies face as they adapt to the new communication reality and argues for the need to shift from hearing to listening in corporate culture.Drawing on examples from film, music, games, comics, television,transmedia storytelling, advertising, and public relations industries,among others - from both the U.S. and around the world - the authors illustrate the contours of our current media environment.They highlight the vexing questions content creators must tackle and the responsibilities we all face as citizens in a world where many of us regularly circulate media content. Written for any and all of us who actively create and share media content, Spreadable Media provides a clear understanding of how people are spreading ideas and the implications these activities have for business, politics, and everyday life.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4351-5
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. HOW TO READ THIS BOOK
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION: WHY MEDIA SPREADS
    (pp. 1-46)

    This book is about the multiple ways that content circulates today, from top down to bottom up, from grassroots to commercial. As we explore circulation, we see the way value and meaning are created in the multiple economies that constitute the emerging media landscape. Our message is simple and direct: if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.

    We don’t mean the kinds of circulation that have historically concerned publishers—that is, how many readers pick up this morning’s edition of theNew York Timesor theWall Street Journal. Any publication can cite its “circulation,” especially since the rates paid for...

  6. 1 WHERE WEB 2.0 WENT WRONG
    (pp. 47-84)

    In December 2009, Capitol Records filed a suit against online video-sharing site Vimeo, claiming the site “induces and encourages its users” to engage in copyright infringement (Lawler 2009). Capitol argued that Vimeo failed to take sufficient action to monitor infringing material that was uploaded to its servers. They also claimed that Vimeo staff actively participated in the production and promotion of videos infringing Capitol’s copyrights. In particular, the complaint targeted the site’s regular promotion of the “lip dub”—a form of high-concept music video featuring intricate lip-syncing and choreography. Lip dubs are regularly highlighted on the site’s front page, and...

  7. 2 REAPPRAISING THE RESIDUAL
    (pp. 85-112)

    Chapter 1 suggested that each party involved in exchanging material may have a different conception of its value and/or worth. We use the term “appraisal” to describe the process by which people determine which forms of value and worth get ascribed to an object as it moves through different transactions. Appraisal is often used to talk about the monetary value of a commodity in a commercial transaction. However, the same term is also used in processes of curation, which create value not through buying and selling commodities but through critiquing, organizing, and displaying/exhibiting artifacts. An appraisal performed in an archive...

  8. 3 THE VALUE OF MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
    (pp. 113-152)

    In January 2010, the SyFy Channel site Blastr posted an article with the provocative headline “HeroesIs a Hit—as the Most Pirated TV Show, That Is” (Huddleston 2010). As the article reported, TorrentFreak.com tracked how often the average episode of particular series had been downloaded illegally in 2009. Many cult shows—HeroesandDexteramong them—attracted as many or more illegal downloads as television viewers, at least as counted by Nielsen. If all these viewers were counted equally, some canceled or soon-to-be-canceled series would become television-network hits.Heroes, for example, had 6,580,000 illegal downloads for a single episode,...

  9. 4 WHAT CONSTITUTES MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION?
    (pp. 153-194)

    While chapter 3 explored how the concept of “engagement” is helping redefine audience measurement, chapter 4 is focused on how the shifting relations between media producers and their audiences are transforming the concept of meaningful participation. Consider two quotes that represent a larger discourse proclaiming the end of media “consumption” as it’s historically been described:

    Every time a new consumer joins this media landscape, a new producer joins as well because the same equipment—phones, computers—lets you consume and produce. It is as if when you bought a book, they threw in the printing press for free. (Shirky 2005)...

  10. 5 DESIGNING FOR SPREADABILITY
    (pp. 195-228)

    The May 2010 issue ofFast Companyprofiled the creative agency Mekanism (Borden 2010), the group responsible for such successful online promotions as the double-entendre-laden Axe body wash campaign “Clean Your Balls.” Claiming the company can guarantee “viral success,” Mekanism proclaims that the language of sharing gifts with its brand communities is too soft for a client-services-driven world (quoted in Borden 2010). In other words, it can make more deals if it claims to be able to infect the world with content. But the agency sometimes falls victim to its own language, admitting that clients say, “You’re the viral guys,...

  11. 6 COURTING SUPPORTERS FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA
    (pp. 229-258)

    Animator Nina Paley and science fiction writer Cory Doctorow are two of a growing number of independent artists rethinking and reinventing the process through which their texts enter circulation. Both offer their art to fans as “gifts,” hoping the community will support their efforts. While they differ on the best models (Paley and Doctorow 2010), both artists are strong backers of the concept of a “creative commons,” and both want to escape what they see as constricting copyright regimes. Here, for example, is part of Paley’s open letter to the fans who visit her website:

    I hereby giveSita Sings...

  12. 7 THINKING TRANSNATIONALLY
    (pp. 259-290)

    A central argument running through this book is that spreadability has expanded people’s capacities to both appraise and circulate media texts and thus to shape their media environment. None of this supposes an end to the role of commercial mass media as perhaps the most powerful force in our collective cultural lives. In many cases, producers and brand makers have decided to utilize more participatory means of communication and informal means of circulation, but their ultimate aim is still the propagation of mass-media content. In other cases, circulated mass-media texts have been grabbed and quoted by people who insert these...

  13. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 291-306)

    Writing forLocus, a trade publication for science fiction writers, Cory Doctorow challenges established assumptions surrounding the need for maintaining tight control over intellectual property. He suggests such norms are “hard-wired” into us as mammals:

    Mammals invest a lot of energy in keeping track of the disposition of each we spawn. It’s only natural, of course: we invest so much energy and so many resources in our offspring that it would be a shocking waste if they were to wander away and fall off the balcony or flush themselves down the garbage disposal. [. . .] It follows naturally that...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 307-312)
  15. REFERENCES
    (pp. 313-332)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 333-350)
  17. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
    (pp. 351-352)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 353-353)