If it doesn’t spread its dead. That the mantra of Henry Jenkins and others who preside over very expensive new media programs that articulate the new media landscape and posit a new paradigm of thinking in a broadband age which increasingly means an engagement with consumers, giving up some control that was intrinsic to the older fixed model, yet not having their message turned against them. Hewlett-Packard just reported earnings and PC sales nosed to the advantage of tablets and mobile devices, smart phones; there is a big segment interacting almost non-stop their entire waking day in the quest for sugar highs.
The Where the Hell is Matt series is an example that when a phenomenon does begin to spread, it spawns parodies, imitators and assumes a life of its own unforeseen at its inception. Matt was an anti-aesthetic, the opposite of dancing with the stars, the one dance and one dance only song and dance man which he performed to the worst of his abilties. Bad dancer. Good idea. Spontaneous combustion. Revenge of the great unwashed, where lo-fi DIY delivers a TKO to blue chip yuppie agencies. … And for Stride an advertising program that does resemble the absurdist, slightly Dada Rainier beer commercials in the Pacific Northwest, except with the insertion of the “reality” television context.
From Henry Jenkins:
We believe that the confusion wrapped surrounding the concepts of “memes” and “viruses” are not going to be easily resolved. As we have seen, the terms are at once too encompassing and too limiting; they introduce false assumptions about how culture operate; they distort the power relations between producers and consumers at a time when media companies and brands need to learn to respect the increasingly empowered roles which their users are playing in the circulation and production of meaning around their products. Given these limits, these words mislead more than they clarify and need to be retired. To put it bluntly, the viral is not only sick; it’s pushing up the daisies.
For that reason, we are proposing an alternative terminology, one which we think allows us to construct a more effective model that might inform future strategies. Rather than speaking about “viral media,” we prefer to think of media as spreadable. Spreadability as a concept describes how the properties of the media environment, texts, audiences, and business models work together to enable easy and widespread circulation of mutually meaningful content within a networked culture….
…The concept of “spreadability” preserves much of what was useful about the earlier models — the idea that the movement of messages from person to person, from community to community, over time increases their effectiveness, and expands their impact. It recognizes the ways that later theorists such as van der Graaf or Knoebel and Lankshear have revised the earliest, relatively static and passive conceptions of “memes” and “viruses” to reflect the realities of the new social web, while suggesting this emerging paradigm is so substantively different from the initial conceptualizations as to require a new terminology. This new “spreadable” model allows us to avoid metaphors of “infection” and “contamination” which over-estimate the power of media companies and underestimate the agency of consumers. In so far as these metaphors distort the actual factors shaping the spread of media content in a networked culture, they result in less than fully effective campaigns. In this emerging model, consumers play an active role in “spreading” content rather than being the passive carriers of viral media: their choices, their investments, their actions determine what gets valued in the new mediascape. Recentering the discussion on choices consumers make, rather than choices media companies make, forces advertising and entertainment companies to pay closer attention to consumer’s motivations and thus to design content which better aligns with their interests; it will also allow companies to adopt policies which sustain rather than repress this desire to help circulate relevant material throughout their social networks. Read More:http://henryjenkins.org/2009/02/if_it_doesnt_spread_its_dead_p_1.html