Spreadable Media

Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture

Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green

Spreadable Media and Rethinking Pedagogical Approaches

Monday, October 20, 2014   9:00

A range of thinkers working on changing pedagogical practices throughout all forms of education have been engaging with—and providing useful extensions to—many of the ideas in Spreadable Media. Learn about a few of these projects—and how they engage with the book—in the following places:

  • A group called “The 21st Century Collective” published a collection in 2013 called Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies: A Guide to New Theories, Methods, and Practices for Open Peer Teaching and Learning, available via the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). The co-authors of the second chapter (entitled “From Open Programming to Open Learning: The Cathedral, the Bazaar, and the Open Classroom”), Barry Peddycord III and Elizabeth A. Pitts, write that Spreadable Media “eloquently” describes the shift from one-way models of producing and distributing messages to a more collaborator model where audiences can “create, remix and share information.”
  • In Joanne Larson’s Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling, she draws on Spreadable Media to evoke the shift “into many-to-many participation structures in which the social relations between production and consumption are blurred, if not erased” and emphasizes that “children and youth are not ‘playing’ at something they will grow out of; these are the language, literacy, and knowledge production practices now.”
  • In her presentation at the Networked Learning Conference in Edinburgh, UK, in April 2014, entitled “Taming Social Media in Higher Education Classrooms,” Ryerson University School of Professional Communication’s Wendy Freeman uses Spreadable Media to help set the landscape for communication in today’s society before launching into the results of a study based on in-depth interviews with postsecondary educators and how they use social media as part of their pedagogical approach.
  • Stefano Bonometti of the Università degli Studi del Molise in Italy draws on Spreadable Media to help explain the current online environment of “sharing and participation” which is driving some experimentation with online multimedia learning. See his short paper, entitled “A Cross-Media Environment for Teacher Training,” published as part of the proceedings for the Interaction Design in Educational Environments (IDEE) workshop in June 2014 in Albacete, Spain.
  • In her 2013 dissertation for Pennsylvania State University’s College of Education, entitled Tensions of Teaching Media Literacy in Teacher Education, Nalova Elaine Ngomba-Westbrook references Spreadable Media as an example of a media literacy study that takes a “process focus,” looking at “the democratizing opportunities inherent” in the potential spreadability of media texts.

Spreadable Media in the Classroom

Monday, October 13, 2014   9:00

We are excited to see instructors using Spreadable Media in the classroom across a wide range of subjects, disciplinary approaches, and countries. Below are some of the latest appearances we’ve seen for Spreadable Media on university syllabi:

  • Drake University Law School’s Peter K. Yu lists Spreadable Media among his Reference Works for his Fall 2014 course, IP in the Internet Age.
  • Georgia State University Department of Communication’s Ted Friedman used Spreadable Media as one of the textbooks for his Fall 2013 senior seminar on “Convergence Culture.”
  • The University of Turin Department for the Study of Culture, Politics, and Society’s Cristopher Cepernich is using Spreadable Media as a core text for his upcoming course, Media Systems and ICT.
  • The University of Greenland’s Language, Literature, and Media’s course catalog lists Spreadable Media among the texts used/covered in its classes.
  • Charles Sturt University School of Information Studies course director Judy O’Connell includes Spreadable Media on her book list for students to review for her Concept & Practices in a Digital Age course.
  • Spreadable Media is one of the core texts for Renira Rampazzo Gambarato’s Transmedia Storytelling II course at the Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School.
  • Spreadable Media is also a required textbook for Liberty University’s communication course “The Transmedia Organization.”
  • Spreadable Media is listed as a key “New Media/Multi-Platform” resource for the Rights & Creative Industries module in Creative & Culture Industries at the University of the West of Scotland, coordinated by Jason Robertson.
  • Darryl Woodford has been using material surrounding the Spreadable Media project for his “New Media: Internet, Self and Beyond” course at the Queensland University of Technology.
  • Prof. Leonardo Flores in the English Department at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez campus uses Spreadable Media’s introduction and first chapter to help his Literature in Digital Media students think through how Hamlet has been remixed and spread. A write-up on the class is available here.
  • Gary Hink of University of Colorado-Boulder’s Program for Writing & Rhetoric used the white paper that was part of the Spreadable Media project for his Summer 2014 Technology & American Culture course.
  • Chloe Smolarski’s Digital Storytelling Spring 2014 course for York College Communication Technology launches with William Uricchio’s “The History of Spreadable Media,” which is one of the essays that are part of the enhanced Spreadable Media book available online.
  • Finally, in her use of Spreadable Media in her Marylhurt University literature course, entitled “Digital Humanities and New Media: An Introduction,” Prof. Kathi Inman Berens posted two videos with her reflections, here and here.

Interesting Student Projects in Response to Spreadable Media

Monday, October 6, 2014   9:00

Some uses of Spreadable Media in the classroom has generated interesting work from students in response. Below, we highlight three of those projects:

  • Diane Daly’s University of Arizona course on Collaborating in Online Communities has created a Spreadable Media study guide/companion.
  • To demonstrate their mastery of the concepts in Melanie Kohnen’s Spring 2014 “Intro to Digital Media” class at NYU, students Alinah Zamir, Ella Ribas, and Da Suel Kim presented their understanding and thinking via the creation of a website for their “hybrid-marketing agency,” DigitaliaSpreadable Media was one of the texts for their class, and they draw on the book in various places for the material they present on the site.

Students in Prof. Shayla Thiel Stern’s New Media & Culture Class in Spring 2014 did a frame-by-frame remake of the “Makmende” video used as a case study in Spreadable Media and, in particular, in Ethan Zuckerman’s essay for the project.

Co-Authors Spreading the Word

Monday, September 29, 2014   9:00

Over the past several months, the Spreadable Media team has remained active in further developing, challenging, and…spreading…their work surrounding the book. Check out some of their recent speaking appearances here:

  • Co-author Sam Ford joined Spreadable Media project contributors Xiaochang LiAbigail De KosnikTed Hovet, and Sharon Marie Ross in March 2014 for a workshop discussion entitled “Rethinking Networked Culture, Media Audiences, and Media Content through Spreadable Media,” at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. The discussion was largely a follow-up to the recent Cinema Journal roundtable about the Spreadable Media book.
  • Co-author Sam Ford spoke about Spreadable Media’s concepts and structure as a project itself as part of The Essay in Public  a one-day symposium on “how to better bring longform and dense content to general audiences,” at Brown University in April 2014.
  • In his Spring 2014 MIT Communications Forum, co-author Henry Jenkins spoke on a range of issues, including Spreadable Media’s exploration of the tension between the market logic of the media industries and the non-market logic governing the actions of active audiences.
  • The 2014 Innovation Cities Tour, from Innovation Excellence, cites Spreadable Media as an inspiration. Also, co-author Sam Ford spoke as part of the tour’s Boston event at the IBM Innovation Center.
  • In his May 2014 talk as part of the University of California-Davis’ Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series, co-author Henry Jenkins spoke on “Democracy and Diversity in the Era of Spreadable Media.”
  • Ford participated in the Southern Kentucky Book Festival this April in Bowling Green, KY, where he spoke as part of a panel of Western Kentucky University-related authors about their various book projects.

Interviews with Spreadable Media Co-Authors

Monday, September 22, 2014   9:00

Spreadable Media’s co-authors have been talking about themes from the book in a range of venues these past few months. Read those interviews here:

  • Arturo Arriagada interviewed co-author Sam Ford for Chilean newspaper La Tercera, which ran on May 3 (in Spanish). The interview also ran at Observatorio de Medios FUCATEL.
  • Co-author Henry Jenkins was interviewed by Julia Fernandez on the Library of Congress’ The Signal: Digital Preservation site in July 2014. Jenkins explains the book’s reaction against “viral media” and unpacks what is meant by the phrase, “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead”: If we don’t know about the media, if we don’t know where to find it, if it’s locked down where we can’t easily get to it, it becomes irrelevant to the conversations in which we are participating. Spreading increases the value of content.”
  • In July 2014, Bob Morris interviewed co-author Sam Ford about his background, his career, his philosophy, and—in particular—in depth about Spreadable Media.
  • Also, Nino Rapin interviewed Ford for Opoloo’s Squirrel Park “great conversationist” interview series where he discussed, among other things, the writing process for Spreadable Media.

Further Publishing from Spreadable Media Authors

Monday, September 15, 2014   9:00

Spreadable Media’s co-authors continue to do work drawing on ideas from the book. See these recent publications:

  • In his 2014 piece for The Journal of Fandom Studies, “Fan Studies: Grappling with an ‘Undisciplined’ Discipline,” co-author Sam Ford draws on Spreadable Media’s description of “accretion texts,” the increased interest from marketers and the media industries on fans, and the book’s argument that the audience’s increased ability “to share, discuss, debate, and critique texts” today “constitutes the greatest shift in the media ecology in a digital age.” Ford also references the ways in which the 2007 “Gender and Fan Studies” series impacted the Spreadable Media project.
  • In his 2014 piece for Cultural Studies, “Rethinking ‘Rethinking Convergence/Culture’,” co-author Henry Jenkins writes extensively about what informed and shaped the Spreadable Media project in the aftermath of his previous book, Convergence Culture.
  • NYU Press’ new book Making Media Work: Cultures of Management in the Entertainment Industries, edited by Derek Johnson, Derek Kompare, and Avi Santo, includes an essay from co-author Sam Ford, entitled “Listening and Empathizing: Advocating for New Management Logics in Marketing and Corporate Communications.” (See an earlier version posted for the MIT Media in Transition 8 conference.) In the essay, Ford draws on Spreadable Media to talk about infrastructural tensions within organizations around who “owns” the customer relationship.
  • The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism ran an excerpt from Spreadable Media in their Winter 2013 Agenda magazine.
  • In late 2013, Spanish-language journal Panorama Social ran Ford’s “Diferencias entre Oír y Escuchar al Público en la Comunicación Corporativa,” which draws on Spreadable Media’s distinction between “hearing” and “listening” to further explore the concept in corporate communication/public relations/marketing.
  • Harvard Business Review recently re-ran Ford’s 2013 piece, “In Marketing, People Are Not Numbers”—drawing on concepts from Spreadable Mediain Russian.

Spreading the Word about Spreadable Media

Monday, September 8, 2014   9:00

Recently seen online in response to Spreadable Media:

  • In explaining why co-author Sam Ford was a fellow “PR News Social Media MVP” icon award winner, APCO Worldwide Executive Director Evan Kraus writes, “Download Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture from Amazon and you’ll know why.”
  • From the Victoria and Albert Museum Digital Team’s Away Day recap (by Lizzy Bullock) comes a mention of Spreadable Media as recommended reading.
  • University of Southern California Annenberg Program on Online Communities student Lauren Wheeler-Woodburn summarizes her main takeaways from Spreadable Media on her APOC blog.
  • In Amazon reviews, Jonathan Groves writes that the book is an “excellent compilation of case studies and thinking” that combines “approaches from economics, marketing, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and mass communication to help us understand why messages spread.” Pedro Demo from Brazil writes, “Well documented in empirical cases and media releases, this book reveals great research talent, critical balance, very good theorizing insight, and future vision.” And Marc Raymond, while questioning whether the contemporary examples in the book can remain relevant over time, writes that it is “an excellent book for teaching media studies to students.”
  • New Goodreads reviews are in for the book. Jacqueline Vickery writes, “I suspect this book will change the ways media scholars talk about and conceptualize a lot of media phenomenon and practices…and thus it is an important contemporary read.” Eliana calls it “a must read for media studies.” Rimantas writes that the book is important to “everyone interested in the future of media (and to everyone who wants to justify themselves a bit for using torrents.” Peggy Otto says, “Anyone teaching composition should read this book.” And Jenny Thompson writes that, despite the challenges with reading an academic book authored by three people, “Spreadable Media was quite good…All three (authors) are clearly experts in media studies, and the work was meticulously researched.”

Reaction to Spridbar Media

Monday, September 1, 2014   9:00

Since Spreadable Media‘s recent Swedish release, we’ve been excited to see various authors from different realms pick up concepts from the book and project. We highlight a few of those reactions below:

  • Cultural journalist and author Jan Gradvall recently wrote about the Swedish-language release of Spridbar Media in his column for Dagens Industri, connecting the book’s themes with the April 2014 debut of Mad Men’s new season. Roughly translated, Gradvall calls the book “very interesting” and highlights the book’s historical message about our desire to share media. “We have for decades cut out and posted articles to each other. The articles that my father sent me…is a kind of analog retweet.”
  • Peter Alsbjers, in his  blog focused on the future of public libraries, has written about his excitement about Spreadable Media on multiple occasions, from news of the book’s Swedish publication to his first glances at the book  Says Alsbjers, “It sounds like the authors believe the readers of this blog!”
  • Also, another Swedish blogger writing about the library space, Nils Grönlund  recently reflects on his reading of the first part of Spreadable Media, reacting in particular to the book’s consideration of economic logic versus the concept of the “gift economy” and the importance of transparency and disclosure in online communication.
  • PR and corporate communication professional Frederick Pallin calls Spreadable Media “a great book.” In his May 2014 post, he reacts to the book’s introductory case study of Susan Boyle in some detail.
  • Blogger Michael Drakenberg references Spreadable Media to provide a core understanding of what “social media” and “participatory culture” are/mean.

Making the List

Monday, August 25, 2014   9:00

We’ve been excited to see Spreadable Media on a range of lists over the past several months. Check out the resources below for a range of interesting books and projects in a range of fields:

  • Docsity lists Spreadable Media among its “7 Must-Read Books about Education.”
  • In June, Francisco Javier Pérez-Latre at C4E Books (in Spain) named Spreadable Media one of his “4 Books for Summer 2014.” Last year, Pérez-Latre wrote that Spreadable Media is a “valuable book” whose point they summarize as (translated): “Put people back at the center of the communication…” a message they say should not be forgotten in an era of Big Data, SEO, and search engines.
  • Drawing on Tiziano Bonini’s review of Spreadable MediaMichael Bauwens of the P2P Foundation named it his “Book of the Day” on July 24, 2014.
  • On her TransmediaKids.com site, children’s content creator Cynthia Jabar includesSpreadable Media among her recommended books and blogs on “transmedia storytelling.”
  • Flagler College’s Proctor Library features Spreadable Media as part of its “Communication & Mass Media” Research Guides.
  • Marco Derksen of Upstream in the Netherlands includes Spreadable Media on his “What Books Do You Take on Vacation?” for Marketingfacts.
  • Bryan Hudson of Vision Communications includes Spreadable Media in his recommended readings for “New Media for Ministry: Tools, Technologies, & Techniques You Can Use Today.”
  • Marc Shelkin and Júlia Caldas of The Social Shop in the UK has included the book on their Must-Read Social Media Books list.
  • Alysa Hornick’s Whedenology: An Academic Whedon Studies Bibliography lists Henry Jenkins’ online essay on Joss Whedon for Spreadable Media among its resources. See the full bibliography here.

International Reviews of Spreadable Media

Monday, August 18, 2014   9:00

As Spreadable Media is picked up across international borders and/or is translated into new languages, we’re particularly excited to see various international reactions to ideas from the book. Below, we highlight recent reviews the book has received from academics and journalists outside the U.S.:

  • Kirsten Mogensen reviews Spreadable Media for the Society of Media Researchers in Denmark’s MedieKultur, calling the book “a treasure chest full of ideas for scholars, practitioners, and university teachers” that “demonstrates the valuable insight that can be gained when professionals and academics co-create.”
  • Ksenia Prasolova, associate professor at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University’s Institute of Humanities, writes a very thorough review of Spreadable Media for Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian, and Central European New Media, Vol. 10. Prasolova calls the book a “comprehensive, well-informed and amply-referenced study of today’s spreadable media environment, its logics and practices” that “give(s) the floor to others, and let(s) a myriad other voices be heard.”
  • Manuel Garin reviewed Spreadable Media for the 37th issue of the Spanish-language film studies journal Secuencias in 2013. Roughly translated, he writes that Spreadable Media‘s “multiple, contrasting points of view in a true grayscale makes the book a great tool for bringing the world of the college to business and vice versa.”
  • In his April 2014 review of Spreadable Media’s new Swedish-language release for the newspaper GPMattias Hagberg contrasts the book’s message that “we now have the chance to create a truly democratic society” with Robert Samuels’ work on automodernity, which Hagberg sums up paints us as “technology subjects.” Hagberg concludes that both accounts of our culture can be right simultaneously—that there’s enormous potential but also potential dangers lurking in new forms of sharing and in the technologies that shape it. He sums up that new technologies have the potential to both promote and undermine “conversation, transparency and democracy.” Hagberg also reflects on the degree to which his very article has the potential for spreadability. (Since we’re sharing it here, we suppose it did…)
  • While decrying that the book’s tone is “part-illumination and part-inspiration in that energetic, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial ‘Silicon Valley’ way” and framing the authors as “evangelical preachers” (a declaration we’d guess wasn’t intended as full compliment), Damien Spry’s 2014 review of Spreadable Media for Media International Australia  says the book “offers a rich account of concepts and case studies that scholars and professional communicators should appreciate” on key themes of entertainment media “and the fans that blur the boundaries between producer and audience.” Spry credits the book’s core ideas on spreadability and also points toward the U.S.-centric nature of its consideration of transnational media flows and a range of other questions about the spread of power and surveillance—and cultural and socio-political contingencies and structures on spreadability—that remain to be explored in depth.
  • Kay Glans’ March 2014 review of Spreadable Media in the Swedish journal Respons examines the Swedish-language debut of the book vis-a-vis Hartmut Rosa’s Acceleration, Modernity and Identity. Gloss reacts strongly against Spreadable Media, questioning a world where audiences are encouraged to constantly be reacting without thinking, where amateurs are put on equal footing with professionals, where people are “willing to accept inequality because they’ve got a sense of empowerment,” and where the quality of content is not taken into consideration, Writes Gloss (roughly translated), “Anyone who reads and slowly melts well-informed journalism without feeling the need to immediately comment…is broadcast culture without grassroots participation…The participatory culture they praise is usually about soap operas, television series with supernatural elements, wrestling…Rather a problem for democracy that people spend way too much time on peripheral nonsense rather than to inform themselves about and engage in key issues.”
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