Henry Jenkins is the director, Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT. In this viral-info-snack he discusses the power of media in a 21 century trans-mediated world. A world where converging technologies and cultures give rise to a new media landscape.
Thanks to the ever wise Cross-Media Specialist @ChristyDena, I checked out Henry Jenkin’s short video on transmedia, which discusses the origin of media and how it’s transformed today. The video showcases much of the phenomena I’ve been illustrating in my recent presentations on the social web.
Starting with storytelling shared within tribes, it goes onto the modern day commercialization of media owned by a few powerful conglomerates, and finally today’s re-tribalized media which is reproduced and remixed by anyone handy with digital tools as well as participates in online social networks (e.g. Youtube, Facebook). Evidence of this remix culture can be seen in Youtube spoofs of major events such as the Gitmo torture and the Obama campaign.
More importantly, Jenkins discusses the emergence of transmedia, which is an affordance of such democratic media tools. In short, transmedia refers to the idea that a story can be told across various media. A popular example would be The Matrix, where the story is told across three movies, an animation series, a video game and so on. Extending further, we could also consider fan-made works as part of the transmedia experience, where we see variations (e.g. spoofs) produced and shared by fans all over the world.
In summary, today’s experiences are best served flowy. It’s not just about letting content be in the hands of fans, but enabling them to remix them in their own image. This participatory way of production isn’t simply fan-inclusive; it invites them to help us sustain our stories beyond our means.