Research Drawing on Spreadable Media

We are excited to see scholars finding concepts from Spreadable Media that is proving useful for their work. Here’s a sampling of recent publications and research in progress that builds, in some ways, from ideas from the book:
  • The latest American Behavioral Scientist journal includes a piece from Craig Hayden, Don Waisanen, and Yelena Osipova entitled “Facilitating the Conversation: The 2012 U.S. Presidential Election and Public Diplomacy through Social Media.” In analyzing Facebook comments sections on U.S. embassy Facebook pages for Bangladesh, Egypt, and Pakistan in response to posts about President Obama winning re-election, the authors introduce the concept of “spreadable epideictic,” drawing on concepts from Spreadable Media, to characterize the motivation, potential, and performative nature of the rhetoric used by commenters.
  • In the journal Brazilian Journalism Research, from the Brazilian Association of Journalism Researchers, Gabriela da Silva Zago from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and Marco Toledo Bastos from the University of São Paulo recently published their research “Visibility of News Items on Twitter and Facebook: Comparative Analysis of the Most Replicated News in Europe and the Americas.” Building on ideas from Spreadable Media and other recent publications indicating the increasingly important role citizens play in the circulation of news via social network sites, the authors use content analysis of the sharing of articles from 40 top news outlets in Brazil, Germany, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom in October 2012 to examine differences in what news is shared both between the two social network sites and in each culture.
  • The University of Alcalá’s Pilar Lacasa and María Ruth García-Pernía, along with Complutense University’s Patricia Núñez, draw on Spreadable Media to help describe the current communications environment for their new piece looking at classroom use of commercial video games and Machinima in the Journal of Education and Training Studies, entitled “Adolescents’ Media Experiences in the Classroom: SimCity as a Cultural Model.”
  • In the latest issue of Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, The University of London’s Alison Gazzard has published “The Platform and the Player: Exploring the (Hi)stories of Elite.” The piece, which examines the place of early British video games in the larger narrative of video game history through the game Elite, contextualizes our current relationship to video game history through the role of online search and both industry and fan notions of nostalgia through drawing on Spreadable Media (as well as a reference to Bob Rehak’s piece on retrogaming for the book).
  • Texas A&M University communication research team Wendi Bellar, Heidi A. Campbell, Kyong James Cho, Andrea Terry, Ruth Tsuria, Aya Yadlin-Segal, and Jordan Ziemer published their research report “Reading Religion in Internet Memes” in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture. The piece draws on the concept of “spreadable media” and co-author Henry Jenkins’ prior work on participatory culture to ground their examination of a wide range of internet memes dealing with religion, including Judaism, Christianity and Mormonism, and the Muslim faith.
  • Arcadia University anthropology professor Jonathan T. Church has recently published his work on “Constructing a Neoliberal Archive: Spreadable Media, Video Games, and a Culture of History” in the collection Context Matters! Exploring and Reframing Games and Play in Context, as part of his participation in the Future and Reality of Gaming conference in Vienna in September. Church also presented this work at the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference in Chicago in November.
  • Antero Garcia provides his initial considerations of what pedagogical lessons can be learned from the circulation and engagement strategies of Kanye West in his 2013  “Beautiful Dark Twisted Pedagogy: Kanye West and the Lessons of Participatory Culture” for Radical Teacher, a “socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal on the theory and practice of teaching.” In the piece, Garcia draws on Spreadable Media’s considerations of transmedia storytelling, as well as Henry Jenkins’ work on “new media literacies,” to consider what educators can learn from Kanye West’s approach to his fans, as well as how popular culture can be incorporated in classroom engagement.
  • Co-author Sam Ford contributed a Fall 2013 piece to the Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier (Vol. 1, Issue 3) on “Paratexts and Pedagogy“, entitled “Wrestling with Where the ‘Text’ Is.” The piece draws on the distinction between “drillable texts” and “accretive texts” made in Ch. 3 of Spreadable Media and building from the contributions of Jason Mittell.
  • At the Association of Internet Researchers conference in October 2013, Paul Booth of DePaul University presented his work on “Digital Cosplay as Consumptive Fan Labor,” looking at digital cosplay activities as a site of both fan engagement and potential commercial activity. While a publication based on this work is not yet available, Paul draws on concepts from Spreadable Media in his abstract from the conference site.
  • University of Bergamo EuroAmerican Literatures doctoral candidate Ugo Panzani draws on Spreadable Media in “Exopoiesis and Literariness in the Works of William Gibson, Mark Z. Danielewski, Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph,” which was presented at the Electronic Literature Organization’s Chercher le Texte: Locating the Text in Electronic Literature international digital literature conference in Paris in September 2013. Panzani examines the ways in which novels and both their authors and readers operate in a reading environment in which online search becomes a fluid supplement to the reading activity and in which readers—and authors–may organize collective interpretive activities in and around a text.
  • Also at the ELO’s “Chercher le Texte” conference in Paris was a roundtable discussion entitled “Aura in the Age of Computational Production.” Participant and web artist J.R. Carpenter provides a timeline she developed in preparation for the conference, which evokes Spreadable Media’s central concept of “spreadability” to question what “aura” means for a “digital work” vis-a-vis Walter Benjamin’s concepts from “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”
  • University of Otago’s Mark McGuire presented his research on “Twitter, Instagram and Micro-Narratives: The Benefits of Sharing the Creative Process Online at Auckland University of Technology’s 3rd Mobile Creativity and Innovation Symposium in November. His research draws on various concepts from Spreadable Media to look at how people are finding new models for creating and distributing media texts in the contemporary media environment. He has included both his slides from the conference and a rough draft of the text.
  • University of Washington-Bothell Assistant Professor Lauren Berliner drew on Spreadable Media for her 2013 doctoral dissertation from the Univeristy of California-San Diego, entitled Making It Better: LGBT Youth and New Pedagogies of Media ProductionHer dissertation in part looks at the It Gets Better video campaign aimed at gay teens and finds that, in an effort to make videos part of that campaign, videos were often sanitized to be overly positive and steered away from many of the issues of deep concern to gay teens, to keep the focus on a consistent anti-bullying message.
  • Communication consultant and cultural analyst Gabriela Pedranti presented “Friends, Partners & Co: A Sustainable Model for the Media?” in December at the Transmedia Literacy Seminar in Barcelona. Her case study of Spanish and Argentenian publishers Orsai draws on Spreadable Media’s reflections on new circulation models for independent producers. Also, here is a Prezi of Gabriela’s work.