Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jenkins, Woolf, Skam (late week 7 response)

***disclaimer - hi apologies I wrote this post last week in response to the week 7 readings but it didn't upload to the blog properly so I am reposting it now - sorry for interrupting the 'flow'***

In Jenkins’ “Star Trek Rerun”, he alludes to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929), in his discussion on Janice Radway’s and Tania Modleski’s separate examinations of “popular romances’ obsession with a semiotics of masculinity” (484). In Woolf’s work, and indeed across much of her oeuvre, she excoriates the pedagogy of academia at exclusive institutions which, she argues, favour hierarchical dynamics, passivity, and vanity. Woolf eschews a historiography centred on elite, masculine culture, questioning assumptions of what comprises appropriate learning, and advocates for a reconstitution of pedagogical methods. Nearly a century later, in the Seiter’s “Qualitative Audience Research”, she outlines reading practises in media as a discipline should inherently work against similar notions, as an activity which is multi-perspectival, multi-cultural, and interdisciplinary. Media are manifold and diverse, and this must be accepted in order to study and analyse the discipline usefully. This movement towards a more participatory and democratic examination of media engagement is further explored in Andrejevic’s “Watching Television Without Pity”. This scholarship explores this notion of what it means to engage with a television show, and how over time this has gone beyond passively watching the allotted content presented to us within a certain time frame, which is part of a broader text. Most content now “overflows” the bounds of television and the nature of watching television has changed due to a need for a more participatory engagement – how this participation depends on audience gender, ethnicity, age and socioeconomic class. This concept of “overflow” can be linked to convergence – specifically media and cultural convergence. Producers market a text across various media platforms, not just social media, but a structured interactivity, such as in SKAM. SKAM is a Norwegian show that debuted a year ago in 2015 and it is Norway’s biggest digital hit of all time, being innovative for its heavy interplay with social media. One of its central tenets is how the youth interact with technology. In an article by the Norwegian American it touts the show for building “a universe that is greater than a normal television show and gives young viewers something they can be part of”. Throughout the week short clips from the show are posted on the SKAM website and characters have their own profiles that they frequently update on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. NRK Super is the production company that run it – they had a strategy not to over promote the series but to let youngsters “take ownership” and create buzz via their own social media. When it launched in October 2015 it became a viral phenomenon – 84% of viewers watched it online, and it is the most watched online series in Norway. Alongside weekly episodes, the blog will post text conversations between the characters, videos (which feature in the episodes) and Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat posts from the characters. A German company called BETAFILM has been tasked with selling NRK programs to foreign buyers and said that the program’s “innovative and progressive” structure is proving a challenge Schmitt argued “Other countries need time to understand this broadcasting method…” and that there are many foreign buyers who aren’t willing to take risks.” However, more recently Simon Fuller (of American Idol fame) announced that he would be adapting it into an English language version, fulfilling Jenkins’ prophecy that participatory culture will saturate the television market. The show runs daily online and weekly as a webcast and each week a summary with all episodes is available on browser and on linear television. The scripted web format is published through web-specific storytelling elements via text, images, grabs and live action scenes.

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