Posted by: ath1 | October 21, 2007

On Harry Potter

With the increasingly advanced technology, media corporations are able to build and extend media content across different mediums. At the same time, grassroots communities further stretch this practice of transmedia storytelling as they expand, modify, and create their own media experiences and put them together in the context of collective intelligence to create their imaginative fan-world. Jenkins establishes this participatory model through the example of Heather Lawver’s Daily Prophet, an Internet newspaper for Hogwarts School, which shows the power of participatory culture mingling with collective intelligence to produce fan journalism throughout the world.

In Jenkins’s discussion, Harry Potter elevates participatory culture to a higher degree, where fans manage to win over the media studios in their fight for the right of media usage beyond the studio’s control. The fans want to take and use elements of Harry Potter world more than what the studios willing to give. Ultimately, this circumstance leads to the argument over the extent of copyright law—the primary source for the publishers’ and the studio’s anxiety of fans overactive participation.

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Posted by: ath1 | October 8, 2007

In Between Media Corporations and Consumers

Jenkins is right to assert that our world today is rapidly turning into a collaborative digital media environment where commercial and creative projects are developed from both the producers and the consumers. He proposes that in this environment of rapid convergence culture, media corporations are apt to realize the increasing power of the consumers and consequently, they attempt to push this process of convergence into their control rather than letting it grow hysterically in the consumers’ hands. Nevertheless, these media companies find it difficult to manage a democratic world of participation. As a result, Jenkins points out that the studios can only assert solid control on consumers in the environment of interactivity (such as game), but they can’t do similar things in the culture of participation (in the real world).

Jenkins uses The Sims as a successful model to establish a firm relationship between the media corporations and the consumers. He argues that The Sims demonstrates how media companies should act if they want to maintain an intimate association with their fan-based communities: “smart companies of the future would empower rather than constrain consumer participation, and those who did not build stronger relations with consumers would be unable to compete”.

While much of what Jenkins suggests is accurate, there is a profound implication that he may have granted too much power to the participatory culture.

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Posted by: ath1 | October 3, 2007

Advertising Logic – Visual Rhetoric

“Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric. And wherever there is ‘meaning’, there is persuasion”. Kenneth Burke

While spoken and writing expressions remain deeply relevant to culture, advertising themes and techniques are no longer bounded within those domains but popularize themselves in more compelling ways, in which one of them is visual persuasion. In his book, Charles A. Hill refers this form of advertising as “visual rhetoric”.

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Posted by: ath1 | October 1, 2007

Transmedia – The Future of Media Industry?

The idea of telling the same story across different media platforms has been around for decades, though in my opinion, it is commonly known as adaptation—the process of transferring content from literature to visual presentation (movies/ television series/games) or vice versa. However, after reading Jenkins’s analysis of transmedia storytelling, I realize the media producers have taken a much further step in adapting content to a much larger scale.

Adaptation tends to rewrite the same content for different media platforms; however, those contents are independent from one another as they are presented differently in different media outlets. On the other hand, transmedia refers to an artificial world where its stories are spread across many media channels, and the audiences can only realize its significance when they recognize the connection among those contents.

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Posted by: ath1 | September 26, 2007

Product Placement

Product placement is becoming increasingly important for media corporations and the advertising industry. As the viewers become easier to turn their attention away from commercial break during watching television series, advertisers have to depend on product placement to reach to their audiences.

While Jenkins draws examples primarily from product placements and sponsorship on television, he pretty much ignores other circumstances that product placement also takes place, such as in movies or videogames (not that they are matter in his argument anyway). In different contexts, advertisers have to alter and adapt their strategies since they aim to attract different types of customers. In further posting, I will discuss more about the similarities and differences between the strategies of product placement on the two popular media: films and videogames. However, in general, I believe that whereas film product placement focus more on the products’ appearance, the advertising products in videogames is created to have specific functions. Although different in the practice, they altogether aim to win their audiences’ favor in this game of persuasion.

And here is a great example of popular criticism against the advertising industries, specifically in this circumstance is product placement. The makers of this video clip attack intensely the practice of product placements and hence, discuss its potential issues and compelling methods of persuasion to the public. It also includes a section that discusses the movie Joise and the Pussycats, one of Dr. Harriss’s favorite movies that illustrate an inordinate degree of product placement and display the ubiquity of advertisement:

The notion of advertising criticism is reinforced by Jenkins’ proposal of audience backlash against the companies. In other words, academic scholars and researchers are no longer the only ones who recognize and are aware of the impact of advertising but rather, this perspective has been shifted to the customers as well.

As a whole, this video clip aims to persuade the public to become more aware of the manipulation from the advertising industry today through the practice of product placement. I think this video clip is an excellent material for everyone to discuss and understand better the concept and application of product placement.

According to Wikipedia, “the purpose of an advertisement is to persuade consumers to buy a particular product or service offered by a brand”.

In our world today, the role of advertising has become so intertwined with our daily activities that its presence has developed into an inseparable part of our lives. Anywhere in the world, advertising exists, whether in a developing nation or a third-world country. In America, the context and influence of advertising has become so crucial that it has grew to be the foremost playground for advertising agency as well as media analysts to study its impact in the consumer’s life. There is barely a space in American culture not already carrying commercial messages: on the street that fills with posters of movies and products, on the T-shirt that says “I Love NY”, on television, on the radio’s commercial breaks, in movies in form of product placements, etc. Advertising is everywhere. Thus, it is clear that the advertising industry is, or perhaps already, colonizing the media.

In this posting, I will discuss how advertise really change our ways of perceiving our reality and in consequence, almost completely blurs the line between the consumers’ needs and wants.

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Posted by: ath1 | September 18, 2007

Spoiling and Participatory Culture

Overall, Jenkins’s perspective on collective intelligence is a thoughtful concept—as many people put their minds together, the number of options for the answer increases, and so as the chance to get the right one. However, much of what Jenkins proposes only takes place through the Internet. Consequently, I wonder whether collective intelligence can manifest itself in our physical world as much as it does in the cyberspace.

On the Internet, although the participants have diverse backgrounds and may not share similar approach to the spoiling game, they can come and work together because the medium they use to share their perspectives is the Internet, a place where space, time, as well as cultural identity do not exist. And without cultural background and social identity, the participants of the collective intelligent group can disregard their way of interacting to other spoilers. On the other hand, if collective intelligence is in practice in the actual world, it would undoubtedly face the cultural and social factors that form distinctive lines between individuals. Consequently, the outcome of collective intelligence would not be as fine, or at least different from, as on the Internet.

Jenkins also points out that the act of spoiling Survivor is a “giant cat and mouse game that is played between the producers and the audience” (Jenkins 25). In my point of view, this model can be both good and bad.

Optimistically, this is a healthy practice because it benefits the audiences as the media consumers as a whole: as the show producers compete against the spoilers in the spoiling game, they have to figure out ways to escape the predictable elements, hence it increases the show’s quality with surprising and clever twists. In addition, the spoiling community offers an enormous amount of creative information which the show’s creators can examine and study; thus, it can make the show more closely reflect to what the media consumers demand.

On the other side, what Jenkins says and presumes is true: spoiling can become very dangerous because the spoilers often have the advantage to win over the producers. In Jenkins’s terms, it would logically be this way since the spoiler community is made of thousands of people across the globe while the show’s production team only is only a handful of people; consequently, the collective intelligence of the spoiler can achieve more results than the show’s production team. Of course, this is only theoretically but it appears to be true nonetheless: as the show goes on, many people become disinterested in the spoiling game because they state the storyline become too predictable, therefore most of the fun is taken away.

In any case, as a whole, Jenkins does a very good job of drawing attention to the idea of participatory culture, where media consumers challenge their ways of engaging with the media content to the media creators.

Posted by: ath1 | September 18, 2007

Spoiling – The Internet!

I always consider the Internet as perhaps the most democratic device out there. However, Jenkins, in this chapter, points out that the ability of collective intelligence “holds a deeply totalitarian dimension” because “any spoiler can dump information out there without regard to anyone else’s preferences” (55). Furthermore, the elite groups of the Survivor Spoiler (BrainTrust) can hold information about the show and decide what to post up for others to read. This practice somewhat reflects our actual world—considering the United States government: while it emphasizes on the concept of democracy and individual rights, it undeniably possesses a strong sense of hegemony in its political application. Similar to the BrainTrust, the government holds important information which is restricted from the citizens. (Yep, Doc Harriss covered this in class and now it’s no longer my original thought… 😦 ).

Posted by: ath1 | September 10, 2007

Techno-biography

For most of what I can remember about my childhood, computer game was arguably the central part of it—not the most important one of course, but one which I spent my time on most. In many aspects, it sounds pathetic but for all that I remember, computer game was such an interesting thing that I was addictive to it. I still remember my middle school’s days: sitting in class and waiting for the bell to ring every afternoon; when it finally did, I used to run as fast as I could from my class room to computer camp to play Half-life, or Age of Empire. The camp was always full of gamers. I spent almost every afternoon there for half a year until my study started to fall out. I stopped playing game and decided to switch my attention back to study. And that when I realized how manipulative computer games could be.

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Posted by: ath1 | September 1, 2007

Hi everyone! My name is Anh Tuan and this is my blog page for Technology and Communication class taught by Doc Harriss.

Throughout this semester, I will post up my reviews and comments about topics that are related, and perhaps unrelated, too, to the technological aspects of communication. Of course, they will be in the defense of my point of view, which is quite specifically presented by the tag line above: “the more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate” (Joseph Priestley).

Through these blogging lines, I hope to share my perspectives with you and hope you guys can share yours with me as well. In fact, ironically, if this way of communication would work out well, then perhaps my perspective has already been misdirected. Anyway, I most welcome people who criticize my posts… 🙂

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