Memes are a fun– hopefully creative– mode of expression that require a level of adherence to specific criteria to induce an expected reaction in the viewer. In this case, I chose to use The Most Interesting Man in the World. This particular meme character is typically paired with a caption following the formula: “I don’t always do X, but when I do, I Y.” Everything else is pretty much up to the creator, but the best of these memes usually convey a confident, cool tone.
I chose to talk about Spoiling Survivor for the purpose of this class. As my course blog, the majority of my followers are my classmates, and most students that have taken this semester’s Media Criticism class should understand the reference and hopefully find it funny. ChillOne did indeed cause quite a stir among the Survivor fan community, but remained calm throughout. Imagining his composed demeanor as described in Jenkins’ text, I took it a step further and used the confident Dos Equis man to represent ChillOne.
Some things to consider when making memes are the boundaries you wish to stay within. When trying to cast a funny light on socially relevant topics, it can be easy to get carried away and tread on sensitive territory. Bill Cosby memes are examples of offensive messages, showing disregard for subjects that can hurt people. Remaining considerate of others will help create a meme that is enjoyable and funny among intended audiences.
It is true that in many cases, the pervasiveness of the Internet culture and its influence on millennials makes it hard for parents to keep up. Sometimes parents don’t “get” memes; digital immigrants have a difficult time speaking the language of digital natives. However, some parents– even grandparents– rock it. As with most things, there are two sides to how the digital revolution can be viewed by both secular and fundamentalist parents alike.
Today’s children are bombarded by attempts to capture their attention like never before. We’re no longer dealing with Lego commercials in between episodes of Batman cartoons; now, the commercials are the games. These are played at leisure, on their own computers (or smartphones) and their own time. This is important because the Google generation are developing into today’s youth, raised in a culture completely immersed with the technologies made available through media saturation. This has developed into a blend between a more individualistic mentality and more creative outlook. On the positive side, modern media pervasiveness have granted youth the freedom of expression which can be used for healthy development. On the negative, people tend to become engrossed with the illusion of self-sufficiency the Internet provides, which causes addiction, isolation from others, and other troubling effects of dependence that could result in health concerns.
All services are pitched for specific demographics, and age plays a factor when developing anything for this media saturated world. While some Web sites and apps are helpful to parents, the youthful zeal contains a higher energy that takes over the small sense of satisfaction middle aged to elderly adults get from using the Internet. This emphatic nature is noticeable in feedback, the most defining characteristic of new new media. Producers rely on consumer responses to tweak current services and put out better ones. Today’s youth are best at expressing their needs and opinions, and for that reason, modern convergence culture may appear to reflect their wishes more than others’.
Storytelling is inherent to human nature. Developing knowledge communities around the Web contribute to the expansion of highly complex worlds of stories in books, movies, television, even games. In order for transmedia storytelling to take place, original works must have a vast enough, intricate enough world for consumers as well as producers to work with. Therein lies the difference between transmedia storytelling and crossmedia marketing. The channels and content through which existing stories are expanded upon are free to be explored by the users, not just content marketers.
The public’s ability to explore plot holes, develop their version of character histories, and expand on the numerous “alleyways” of uncharted territory is definitely an art form. While consumer creativity is definitely to be admired, the market potential of transmedia storytelling can hardly be ignored. Fans buy things, and what better way to secure fan loyalty than to give them a complex enough, awesome enough world for them to play with?
Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy– both the books and now movies– practically invites nerdy, deviant millennials to try their hand at imagining the finer details of the world of Panem. This dystopian setting provides just enough information for fans to fill in the blanks with their own ideas. Here, the North American continent is separated into twelve (really thirteen, we come to find) districts, each with their own contributions to the Capitol. These provide hints as to where they might be located; for example, District 4’s fishing industry could perhaps come from parts of present-day Mexico, whereas District 7’s lumber contribution likely places it somewhere in the Northwestern U.S. Ultimately, these details are left up to the fans to imagine as they see fit.
The term additive comprehension is defined as “the degree that each new text adds to our understanding of the story as a whole.” In this way, every contribution can help build the world of The Hunger Games– the premise of this fictional world lends itself to this very concept. Tributes are forced to fight each other to the death, each with their own story and motivation to survive. Careers from Districts 1 & 2 kill for glory, most are selected at random, the brave volunteer in place of their loved ones. What are their backgrounds? What helped the winners survive? How did they deal with the guilt afterwards? These are all questions that can be explored and built upon by the fan community.
In researching this topic, I came across an article that discusses the future of broadcasting. This 1998 analysis compares broadcast technology with computer technology to illustrate the difficulties television has in keeping up. P.A. Laven introduces Moore’s Law, which is used to ascertain exponential growth for technologies. This calculation has allowed the computer industry to look at the current rate of technological advancement and foresee ten years with the same growth. This accounts for why prices for computer technology can still be lowered while adding extra features and higher performance rates to ensure continued success in sales.
“Rapid improvements in the performance of computer hardware are matched by the marketing of new software that relies on or, often, anticipates the arrival of improved hardware. This means that users of older computers cannot run the latest software without upgrading their hardware. This inflationary spiral results in rapid obsolescence of hardware and software, which naturally benefits both the hardware and the software industries.”
Gaming industries follow this very same strategy, relying on users’
loyalty to the brands and their willingness to pay more to participate in live play alongside their virtual teams. Everyone knows the price of games change significantly the more time they spend on the shelves. When I asked my brother why he would pay the full $60 for something he knows might be worth half that much in as little as a year. His response: “No one else will be playing this in one year.”
Laven says that television is different. People don’t buy tv sets as often as they do smart phones– they’re expected to last. The television industry also has to worry about compatibility on a much larger scale than the computer industry does. With these struggles, broadcast technology has significant obstacles in attempting to keep a competitive edge over t.v.’s. However, the television set’s demise with the advent of the computer is no more imminent than its replacement of the radio. Rather, television will adapt, as it has already begun to do. Subscription streaming will take over, eliminating the need for cable television as we know it. Content will develop according to consumers’ demands. It may very well be that the most popular content will develop alongside gathered strength of knowledge communities.
This will inevitably change the relationship between television content and advertisements as way we know it. With the ability to pause, fast-forward, and record, the commercial will have to adapt or die. YouTube has found a medium ground, playing the first few seconds of an advertisement, then allowing the user to “Skip Ad.” Perhaps streamed services will integrate something similar in the attempt to keep monthly subscriptions reasonably priced. The ethics of marketing schemes will be challenged by the public, forcing raised production value. I think most would agree that a distinction between marketing manipulation and production should exist, but where it should be is more difficult to determine. Now that instantaneous feedback from receiver to sender is possible, the tailoring of media to appeal to consumers is easier than ever, blurring the lines. Ultimately, this line will dissipate and users will subscribe to what they wish, with advertisements tailored to their general interests.
Knowledge communities are vital for the existence of one of the three concepts that make up Convergence Culture– participatory culture encompasses the realm of user activity. Participation in knowledge communities involve the gathering together of users to discuss subjects of interest and share information with each other. The example Jenkins uses discusses the most hardcore Survivor fans we refer to as spoilers. These consumers sometimes team up, other times act alone, to uncover various details surrounding this immensely popular reality television show.
As we know, reality television shows are shot far in advance, way before being aired to the public. The people on Survivor Sucks speculate, analyze, and eventually uncover information about the most recent season’s location, contestants, major events, and winner– the fun lies in discovering what happens before the show reveals it to the viewers. Knowledge communities rely on the sharing of information like this to build upon collectively over time.
Knowledge communities consist of groups of people centered around specific subjects, going above and beyond ordinary levels of engagement as from a regular consumer of media content. These groups gather strength through the contribution of content, which is quite easily accomplished since the advent of the Internet. These exchanges with one another form virtual connections between people that are just as strong as (some users claim even stronger than) real life relationships. One example is a story about the engagement between two World of Warcraft players who, prior to their living together (involving a move from Hawaii to Connecticut on the girl’s part), had never met in real life. The WoW universe is the largest of MMOG’s (massively multiplayer online games) at over 8 million users as of 2007. Among various threads about realms, strategies, and classes are stories like these that show how connections people build through online communities can carry through to real life.
After months of searching, I’ve finally found the ultimate writers community for Jacksonvillains! Left on Mallory provides information for tons of lit-related stuff going on around town and I couldn’t be more excited to share more about them. From interviews with local writers to information about weekly reading nights, this website is a gold mine for lit lovers.
Left on Mallory’s most recent post encourages writers to challenge themselves with developing one of two prompts: writing a story that begins on the St. John’s Water Taxi or writing about one whole night in Hemming Plaza. As the post mentions, these are meant to serve as a fun activity to help boost creativity and … thoughts away from the tasks and troubles of daily life. Writing Nights for the Fall were held every Thursday evening at Brew Five Points. This is a night where writers can show up with their own works in progress and utilize the environment and support of other writers to complete projects.
If you need more direction, Left on Mallory also hosts workshops. Providing a space for discussion and feedback for the aspiring writer, sessions are centered around themes that can help people develop ideas in a community setting. The next workshop is scheduled for February for a 6-week focus on short-fiction writing.
For those who wish to try their hand at readings, Abridged gives local writers the chance to share their works aloud. Proceeds from Left on Mallory’s Bridge Eight publication funds this event and welcomes Jacksonville’s fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction writers.
Jacksonville’s creative community is free to subscribe to receive Left on Mallory’s updates, writing tips, and words of encouragement.
Conveniently scheduled around Art Walk, the Silver Cow hosts a monthly reading event every 2nd Wednesday of the month. Running from 9:00 – midnight, bards of all kinds are welcome to recite poetry, written works, or songwriting at Bards & Brews. Hosted by one of Bridge Eight’s writers, Keri Foster shares her inspiration behind hosting this Riverside event in an interview with Left on Mallory. This community event is meant to inspire confidence in creative, talented writers and contribute to Jax’s unique and growing cultural scene.