50 Shades of Media.

(Source: Google images)

 

’50 shades of media’ is just an exaggeration I’m using to showcase how the book trilogy ’50 Shades of Grey’ has considered the notion of Transmedia Narration but has made it become sort of a Transmedia Franchise.  “Transmedia storytelling practices may expand the potential market for a property by creating different points of entry for different audience segments” (Henry Jenkins, 2007). I definitely agree with Jenkins here on this one. Why not take advantage of our rapidly evolving digital and social nature and release a story through multiple mediums? Now don’t get confused between Multimedia and Transmedia. As Ted explained in our lecture, Multimedia is simply the same story being told through different mediums, whereas Transmedia is multiple parts of a story shown through different mediums.

Now this self-recognised notion of Transmedia Franchising in ’50 shades of grey’ definitely screams out to me. The marketers definitely recognised their need to expand their book in different ways to keep it engaging. Most probably due to its 40 million copies being sold in its quite short existence. They couldnt however just take the Multimedia approach and just write the book in Chinese, Bulgarian and Polish, as this is not really anything innovative and exciting. The engagement with consumers of the book (mostly middle-aged women) through portals such as their Facebook page created excitement which then caused a launch of a an official board game! (oh great..) “The dirty minds behind mummy porn phenomenon 50 Shades Of Grey have come up  with a board game based on the naughty novels.  It offers an exciting new play pattern for our  range of party games that allows  everyone to finally reveal their Inner  Goddess” (Garland, 2012). This brilliant yet saucy innovation was created in my opinion due to the great reception it had with female readers. The reader wanted to feel what it is like to be Anna (the main female character), so the dirty-minded makers of the game give the players a chance to ‘Reveal their Inner Goddess’ which will hopefully create a different reading experience once they move onto the sequels.

There is even speculation that they are going to release a perfume and lingerie line and a movie! Now before my female readers start running to the mall, understand that they have taken the concept of transmedia narration and applied it to a franchise sort of sense. The movie could possibly show a character’s perspective that wasnt shown in the book? This will definitely engage the fans further. At the end of the day, it is what brings them home (the makers) the bacon.

Jenkins sums it up quite nicely “A transmedia text does not simply disperse information: it provides a set of roles and goals which readers can assume as they enact aspects of the story through their everyday life.”

Reflect.

Man-Mirror

Before I was asked to write this reflection, I didn’t really look back and see what I’ve written for the past 6 week. But WOW! I’m actually very impressed with myself! The name of my blog ‘Where’s the Seasoning’ represents my ideology of what lacked when I wrote prior to this degree, I just thought it needed some extra OOMF. I have noticed that my earlier posts are a little more bland then my more recent ones, but that’s what I wanted to achieve,  I wanted to grow as a creative writer. I’ve not only recognised this but I’ve also been intrigued, shocked and enlightened by how much of a role the media plays in society. It influences, controls and assists many facets of society. I never really recognised the media that much in everyday life. For example, I never really realised that most advertisements use semiotics to psychologically sway the viewer to buy their product. I mean who would have known that a pair of breasts would make you want to buy a watch? NEVER would have guessed that..

Also, reading some of my fellow classmates blogs have definitely helped me further understand the media’s role. This blog post especially really emphasised the fact that representation definitely shapes meaning. I love her own personal expression and opinion on her examples which makes it quite personal in a sense which makes the reader want to dive deeper into the mind of the blogger. Even the constructive comments on my posts lately have really shown that I’m understanding the concepts well.

The one topic that I had a bit of trouble writing was ‘Who controls the media?’ I just did not really know WHO owns the media and couldn’t really relate to it. I thought many companies had ownership such as all the television stations, all the different sort of magazines etc, and was quite shocked to find out that only a very few major, very rich and powerful people (eg. Murdoch) in fact do own the media. After grasping that concept and then explaining to my audience of how detrimental it is to society to put so much control into the hands of very few companies instead of spreading the control can really hurt us. That’s why I used the popularly known historical event (holocaust) to link history to media control.

My favorite blog I wrote was ‘The tribe has spoken’ because not only I’m obsessed with this TV show but learning about the ‘Mediated public sphere’ really made the show make sense. You don’t realise you are watching societal issues unfold when you are watching it in such a mockable and trivialised context. I also learnt that we all constantly participate in the public sphere which can be as simple as discussing those issues on forums.

All in all, I have learnt that due to limited media ownership you cannot believe everything the media tells you plus the media can greatly effect peoples ideologies. I strongly beleive this is why in this day and age there is so much emphasis on the importance of materialism. I have seen myself grow as a writer/blogger over the past 6 weeks and definitely now have more depth of knowledge about how the media plays so many different roles in society.

Many Hands Make Light Work.

Quoted John Heywood. This idiom to his understanding means ‘If everyone helps with a large task, it will get done easily and quickly.’ This is quite obvious in everyday life such as construction of buildings, the making of a film and a team of chefs working in a restaurant. It can also relate to the world of media in relation to ‘Citizen Journalism’ and ‘Collective Intelligence‘.

The Journalism profession can thank the internet for killing it off. This is due to the newly formed *drum roll please* ‘Citizen Journalism’! You’re all probably thinking OOOHHH is it some kind of journalist who acts like an everyday citizen, then BAM he strikes! Well yes, you are on the right path. We can all be citizen journalists, in fact you probably are already citizen journalists! But how Nick, you ask? Well, when was the last time you tweeted about a natural disaster, or filmed a school punch up on your mobile phone then uploaded it to Facebook? You were in fact being a citizen journalist. Now, can you recall an incident where multiple accounts of citizen journalism have helped the actual journalists get to the bottom of things.

This video spread like wildfire when a photographer at the 2013 Sydney Mardi Gra’s caught on camera a policeman seemingly being unnecessarily brutal to this young man. This made huge news coverage and questions were being thrown around such as :- did the policeman cross the line? Was this a homophobic attack on a poor helpless boy? A few days later more mobile phone videos from other patrons start to emerge on Youtube. This time it shows the young man kicking the officers multiple times and resisting arrest quite a lot, therefore the force from the police may have in fact been necessary. This doesn’t just represent citizen journalism but also collective intelligence which is shows in Pierre Levy’s quote “no one knows everything, everyone knows something”.

So thank you Internet for giving us a voice to the world of media, but I cannot help but feel sorry for the journalism profession (as I do one day wish to work in journalism) because the days of Gatekeeping and authority are slowly diminishing. Axel Bruns quotes in the reading this week “Collaborative knowledge management is now emerging as a key challenge to the traditional guardian authorities of knowledge”.

Maybe if the public take advantage of citizen journalism and start posting absolute rubbish online (not as if they don’t already do, Warning: nudity) the real quality-controlled and gatekeeped world of Journalism will make a resurgence!

The Tribe has Spoken.

survivor-logo

18 castaways, 39 days, one sole Survivor! This is just one of the well known catchphrase spoken from the charismatic mouth of the one and only Jeff Probst season after season. He is the host of the hit reality show Survivor and must be doing an exquisite job if the show has been running and still is since the year 2000 and is in its 26th season. This has to be one of my favourite shows not only just from the challenges, drama and conflicting personalities that all add to the entertainment factor, but also brings up social issues to the notion of the ‘Public Sphere’. This concept might seem a little confusing but is the complete opposite as we are constantly being exposed to issues within it. Mr Jurgen Habermas is the man behind the concept and defines it as “the space in which citizens debate about common concerns”. It is also an open forum where anyone can put forth their voice. The media now plays a role in the concept of public sphere which is otherwise known as the ‘Mediated public sphere’. This is where survivor currently lay’s as well as most reality TV shows. Even though these reality shows are a form of the mediated public sphere, it is in a much more trivialised and is much more mockable *cough* A Current Affair *cough*.

So what has survivor been doing that has prolonged its existence for 26 seasons? It entertaining because it causes a stir with key social issue that are very much prevalent in today’s society. It implies to the audience through a game show type setting, issue’s such as the formation of relationships, lying, deceit, body image and strict contrasts in beliefs, personalities, sexualities, races, age etc.

This is the 13th season: Survivor Cook Islands. Even though this is just the intro to the show, do you see the issues brought to the public sphere? The four tribes are divided by their race, into Latinos, Asians, African American and Caucasian. This might imply current divides in American culture due to race. Even as I was scrolling down the comments I came across one ignorant viewer that stated “It’s ironic that the top 5 best characters this season are Adam, Jonathan, Flicka, Parvati and Candice” who are all from the caucasian tribe. This season caused up roar and reinforced race issues within American culture to this day, plus did I mention its portrayed through a game show with fake torches and sexy bikini bodies? Surely that can’t be true, but that’s what a ‘mediated’ public sphere is.

Furthermore, this tribal council when I watched it snuggled up on my couch wearing my survivor buff (just kidding) I thought it was the most hilarious/entertaining/fiery tribal council I’ve ever seen.


But now after learning the notion of the ‘mediated public sphere’, so many issues have come rushing to me out of nowhere. There is obviously strong contrasting personalities on this tribe. The loudmouth southern white man, the chilled out surfer dude, the stereotypical black woman conveniently called ‘Na onka’, the disabled woman and the ‘supposed’ gay guy. These are just the ingrediants for a total explosion. The producers want to make it challenging for the castaways to form healthy relationships. The castaways lying and cheating makes it even harder for this to happen. The loudmouth southern man (Shannon) is also an obvious homophobe by out of nowhere questioning and attacking Sash’s sexuality and using where he lives against him stating “there are a lot of gay people in New York”. Aside from the controversial personalities, look at the cast. How many of them are ugly? Virtually none. Who doesn’t like watching hot women and men frolicking around in tattered rags? Does this still indicate pretentiousness towards image? As you can tell, I’TS ABSOLUTELY BONKERS!

These are just many underlying social issues that are addressed in a seemingly trivial television show. But who cares, I just want to know who wins the million!!

21st century- When couch potatoes strike back!

Couch-Potatoes

What do you see? You’re probably thinking the stresses of uni have finally turned myself cuckoo. You are actually fifty percent correct, but what I see is infact a fantastic representation of what we actually were as an audience in the past. We were silent and static to what we were consuming. You might even think I would say we were unempowered, but personally I don’t think so. We might have been empowered by what we consumed but simply didn’t have the access to express our opinions to the masses. Could we participate in the messages put out to the masses? No. We were simply helpless couch potatoes. In this day and age with newly emerged media platforms such as Facebook, Soundcloud and Smartphones, ‘The people formally known as the audience” (Jay Rosen) have to now understand the opportunities plus power of not only being a consumer but a prosumer.

Being a Gen-y boy, the concept of expressing my views and opinions via certain platforms such as Facebook seems very normal to me. However, generations before us have never really treaded in this territory. Clay Shirky, obviously from an older generation quotes “the audience can talk back and that’s a little freaky”. Now this makes me feel so young. He comes from a time when the media was monologic (couch potato era). If Jane Doe down the street was outraged with a News article published, Jane Doe simply cannot whip out her Iphone 5 and Vlog her disgust on YouTube, hopefully prompting a public conversation about the issue. Jane Doe could possibly write a letter of outrage to the newspaper which could well…do nothing much at all. Even if the letter was publicized it would have to go through a Gatekeeper which is the total fun police. My dear Jane was just another helpless couch potato. People to this day are still being halted by the traditional media methods such as gatekeeping but due to convergent platforms can now produce themselves (Amanda Hocking self published her booked through Amazon after being rejected by publishers.)

Participation in media has become wild as well as encouraged. It’s a major positive in some respects such as the ability to edit on Wikipedia and retweet edited posts on Twitter, but what really stood out to me most was the encouragement to give feedback. “Sharing, commenting and liking” are now regular features to most online news articles, videos etc. The very well known Vlogger Natalie Tran specifically asks for comments and then even includes them in her videos which therefore initiates conversation! They want your voices to be heard! But because participation is so easy, literally anyone can create a message to reach a global audience, even if it is flawed!  “It was easier to spread frightening rumors than accurate figures, since there were none available” (Janey Gordon, The Mobile Phone and the Public Sphere). I agree entirely as people start to panic if they do not have the information they desire. They could start to Tweet, Facebook and blog rumors and gossip which could cause major problems such as censorship, banning and even including political.

Even though that our place as the audience has positives and negatives we are getting our voices heard. All former couch potatoes get your tweets flowing!