Week Three – 24hr ‘Net Diary’

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This week we were set the task of logging all of our actions in relation to engaging with ‘the network.’ Every time I sent an email, watched a tv episode, searched on google maps I took note, making me very aware and ashamed of my Netflix binge day. In fact, it got to the point where I had to force myself out of the house to socialise with friends to ‘balance out’ my exposure to technology.

When visualising in a chart form and comparing my findings to my classmates, it was clear I texted and used social media a lot less than the average young adult. This could have been a result of my poor multi-tasking skills (when watching Netflix, it usually has my undivided attention) but I still believe that I use Facebook and Snapchat a lot less than my peers on most days.

If I was to consider the pros and cons of this form of data collection, the sample size of data gathered was too small and therefore less reliable as everyone recorded a different day of the week (aligned with different activities such as work or uni). If a whole week was recorded, this could have assured a more accurate representation of the class’s engagement with the network.

Source:

‘How to Research’ (2010) Blaxter, L. et. al. Maidenhead, England : Open University Press 4th Edition. EBook.

Week Two – Transmedia Storytelling

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Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story – Henry Jenkins (2007)

This week started off with a discussion on Participatory Culture and Transmedia Storytelling after watching Henry Jenkin’s Ted Talk. I was intrigued by the way he compared the three phases of technological development and agree on the importance of media flowing in and out of virtual web worlds (TEDx Talks, 2010).

Whilst he did focus strongly on the world of super heroes and politicians in his talk, I found his key concepts were still applicable across a broad range of fictional entertainment experiences.

  • Spreadability vs. drillability
  • Continuity vs. multiplicity
  • Immersion vs. extractability
  • Seriality
  • Performance
  • Subjectivity
  • World Building
    (Jenkins, 2007)

When thinking about how I have been involved or impacted by a transmedia storytelling campaign that uses these concepts, the first thing that came to mind was the Hunger Games.

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As a fan from the book release, not only have I watched producers transform the series from page to screen, but build a very convincing virtual world around it.

A Facebook organisation was made for the ‘revolution’ of the people against their oppressive government, with posts promoting their point of view as if the Hunger Games were real. In the screenshot below, you can even see Facebook users comment on the effectiveness and believability of the ‘illusion.’ In relation to Jenkin’s key concepts, ‘spreadability’ is evident here with the page attracting over 600 thousand ‘likes/followers’ contributing to the conversation and sharing with their friends (Jenkins, 2007).

https://www.facebook.com/OnePanem?fref=ts

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In 2012, a ‘luxury clothing line’ called Capitol Couture was released as another viral marketing campaign for the Hunger Games films. The line featured 16 outrageous pieces from high-end fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen, Trish Summerville and Dior inspired by the fashion trends of Panem’s rich and privileged (Asher-Perrin et al., 2013). Accompanied by news feeds and blogs (http://74th.capitolcouture.pn and http://capitolcouture.pn) this campaign truly took transmedia world building to a whole new level in the film industry and will be relaunching the line soon, in anticipation of the last Hunger Games film release.

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In 2013, in partnership with Internet Explorer, the producers launched a website for fans of the series called ‘The Hunger Games Explorer’:

The social and interactive elements of this platform definitely fell within Jenkin’s realm of ‘drillability’ as it gave fans the opportunity to delve deep into the world of the Hunger Games with each other.

And finally the websites:

http://www.revolution.pn

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http://www.thecapitol.pn/intl/uk

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As seen in the screenshots above, the engaging transmedia campaigns just never end. A narrative is told as the capitol webpage loads… the screen flickers.. glitches and then suddenly the face of the revolution – Katniss Everdeen floods the page as the governments servers appear to be ‘hacked.’ It is quite a performance, particularly coming from a ‘fake’ government webpage overthrown by a ‘fake’ revolution.

Reflecting back upon the multitude of platforms in which the Hunger Games has used to build a world around the film series, I believe they have set a high standard for future viral transmedia campaigns. As an interactive design student with great interest around web user interface design, the Hunger Games campaigns continue to inspire me. As a fan of the series, I look forward to seeing what they come up with next!

Sources:

Asher-Perrin, E., Rocket, S. the, Sweepstakes, DeCandido, K. and Horseman, H. (2013) Is the Capitol Couture Clothing Line Sending the Wrong Message to Hunger Games Fans? Available at: http://www.tor.com/2013/09/18/is-the-capitol-couture-clothing-line-sending-the-wrong-message-to-hunger-games-fans/ (Accessed: 25 October 2015).

TEDx Talks. (2010). TEDxNYED – Henry Jenkins – 03/06/10. [Online Video]. 13 April. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFCLKa0XRlw. [Accessed: 13 October 2015].

The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. 2007. Transmedia Storytelling 101. [ONLINE] Available at: http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html. [Accessed 18 October 15].

Week One – NetLanguage

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Thinking about and discussing the definition of ‘network’ and ‘society’ in our day and age definitely triggered some interesting opinions and topics within our class. In my opinion, a ‘network’ can be considered a group of beings that are all interconnected in one way or another. In the society I live in and the generation I was born into, the word ‘network’ is often associated with ‘social networking’  (ie: facebook, instagram, twitter) which brings us to this week’s topic – netlanguage.

While watching Sherry Turkle’s TED talk on our relationship with technology, I noted the year it was recorded, 2012. Even though technology is rapidly evolving, three years have passed since her talk, and I am surprised to discover that her opinion is still relevant. We are sadly, still drawn to controlling an idealised and heavily edited virtual reality of ourselves (TED Talks, 2012).

In many ways, I agree with the way Turkle views the grasp of technology – I completely agree that human relationships are messy and that we are now afraid of being alone as this is seen as a ‘problem’ as I can unfortunately relate to this completely (TED Talks, 2012). There have been many moments in which I have being performing a simple task like waiting in a queue or travelling on the tube alone when I have felt this need and pressure to be doing something, so automatically I grab my phone. The funny thing is, I don’t even have reception on the tube so I literally end up scrolling through lists of apps, wishing they worked so I could do something with this ’empty’ time. If I was to measure it, I am positive that I could count at least 20 moments, daily, where I have reached for my phone for no reason. I feel ashamed to admit that it is something I rely on almost every day.

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So with our constant exposure and interaction with handheld devices and the internet, it was inevitable that our generation would start a new form of communication, commonly known as ‘NetLanguage.’ It’s fascinating to explore how social media (particularly Facebook) has been a catalyst for redefining words such as ‘friend,’ ‘poke,’ ‘like,’ ‘wall’ and ‘follow.’ There are now so many online platforms to communicate with one another now that natural rules seemed to have formed themselves around these methods. To prove this, I put together an average question to ask my two flatmates and then sent it to them via:

  • Text message
  • A What’s App Group
  • Email
  • Facebook Wall Post

I expected them to be confused at first (especially seeing as I was in at home in my bedroom at the time), but respond in ways appropriate to the communication method. I predicted that the email would be the most effective as I laid out the message in a rather formal way, appropriate to email format.

Screenshots of the examples can be seen below:

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The main consensus from this experiment was that my flatmates definitely prefer me to make the effort to come out of my room to ask a simple question rather than update them publicly (via a Facebook wall post) or through our what’s app group. I didn’t get any response to the text message I sent to them, mainly due to the fact we don’t use texting as our primary form of communication (more often what’s app and Facebook) and it is more expensive that just using wi-fi. When Jess responded to my email, I noticed that she adopted the appropriate format for an email response: using clear spacing, grammar and punctuation with a formal ‘sign-off’ of ‘warm regards’ before stating her name. Using this same approach on Facebook or what’s app however prompted a very confused response from my flatmate Miren – proving how particular format and structure is when communicating through different methods on the internet. I could imagine it being quite difficult for someone who is only familiar with writing emails to transition into the world of Facebook, instant messaging and texting when they are accustomed to much more formal approach to writing.

Sources:
TED Talks. (2012). Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?. [Online Video]. 03 April. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7Xr3AsBEK4. [Accessed: 14 October 2015].

Welcome

Networking

My name is Jenna – I am a final year Interactive Design student on exchange at the University of the Arts London from Australia. As an aspiring digital designer, I was immediately intrigued at the study of how the rapid evolution of technology has and will continue to impact our lives politically, socially, culturally and economically. As I am entering into this field of work in the very near future, I felt that it would be important to explore the topic of ‘Networked Societies’ to hopefully form a better understanding and a more educated opinion on modern technology and the firm grasp of social media.

Beginning with NetLanguage, listed below are the themes from tutorials and sessions that I will be reflecting on in the coming weeks:

  • NetLanguage
  • Participatory Culture & Transmedia Storytelling
  • Masks & the Performance of Self
  • Counterculture
  • Utopia – No Place
  • The City as a Network
  • The digital Network: ‘Power/Knowledge’
  • Cultural Appropriation: ‘Embrace the Remix’

A lot of these terms I have never heard of – so I look forward to discovering new things about this topic during my short exchange here in London!


Jenna