Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

The Value of Media Engagement Pt. 2

Posted by emilychildress329 on February 27, 2017

The required pages of this book for this blog post was one of the easier sections to read I believe. The most interesting section I read was “Are you Engaged?”. This read focused more on the consumers, where I was able to better relate. I really liked how the authors talked about how people usually arrange their schedule according to when a new episode of a TV show comes on. My favorite TV shows at the moment are Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. Thankfully, both of these shows come on, on the same night so I am able to watch them back to back. ABC has even made a “Thank God it’s Thursday” marathon of these shows. The problem, however, is that being in college I might have a test to study for, or an assignment that is do that night or Friday morning. What I will do is I will study all day until the time of the two shows, then go back to my dorm to watch them as if I am on a break from studying.

I think it is neat to know that the producers of the show create this certain timing because they want to know just how involved the audience actually is to the show. Newer episodes will be played later at night starting around 8 because most people will not be at work and will be settling down for the night. Producers are able to tell by the number of people that watch the new episode once it first airs, how many viewers from the audience that they are actually getting.

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The Value of Media Engagement, Pt.2

Posted by tristendenney14 on February 27, 2017

As I read the first part of Spreadable Media’s Chapter 3, I was instantly more engaged and entertained than I was in Chapter 2. The idea of how companies value our “views” or “opinions” truly interests me, especially since there is no concrete model to monetize every possible view or stream. For example, I never realized how complicated and complex the system to even measuring one form of viewership is. This is where the subsection titled “The Challenges of Measurement” comes into play. These large companies that provide us consumers with our favorite TV shows or electronic streaming services have realized how influential electronic viewership is through examples like Heroes viewership being over 500,000 more views online rather than on the television, but they continue to value real-time views more than others. This is where I get confused and ask myself why. It reminds me of that one stubborn person we all know that believes the way they do something is the only and best way to do it. Although my way may be better and more efficient, or in this case be more monetarily valuable, they decide to stick to their way because they value their opinion more. This idea also occurred in the subsection titled “The Value of Surplus Audiences.” This section described an example where extra views from “untargeted” audiences are almost irrelevant to the producers and seen as “surplus”, and showed this through the example of soap operas. This idea confuses me too because ultimately the goal of today’s television shows is to reach the highest number of views and ratings possible, whether this be through the appointment-based model or the emergent-engagement model. However, soap operas for example are ultimately dependent on the appointment-based model because there is likely very little video streaming for these shows as four soap operas were cancelled between 2008-2011. My mom for example records her two favorite soap operas, these being “Days of Our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless”, but she allows the DVR to get to nearly 50-60 recordings of these at certain times and I always wondered why. But, now I know it has to do with the appointment-based model and how TV viewership is more valuable and allows one to stay “caught up” with their shows. Therefore, measuring media engagement is not only a complicated system, but one that will take years to successfully monetize due to multiple media platforms.

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Emily Falica, Sydney Bidinger, Amy Cory and Jasen Davis: Deepstream on Memes

Posted by jasendavis on February 27, 2017


Part One: What Makes a Meme a Successful Meme? Is an introduction to how we view memes today. Without any prior knowledge to the history of memes or meme theories, you would automatically associate the word with the clips and theory in this video. The idea in this video is that the modern meme (starting in 1996) is a video or picture that goes viral on smaller forms of social media and eventually infects larger sites creating a legacy of jokes and laughs. It also offers examples of making monetary gains from your meme. For Grumpy Cat, she was able to build a kingdom with merchandise and coffee off of this popularity through memes. But when people try to force a meme to happen, it’s not funny and you won’t sell product from it. 


This brief clip sums up what we think of memes today, but Susan Blackmore’s TEDtalk “Memes and “Temes” goes through the history of meme theory, what a meme is, and its future. She first goes into the history of memes by explaining the principle of Universal Darwinism. While this seems off topic and odd, she says this is because memes or memetics is founded off this principle. The idea of passing certain things on to survive. This theory applied to memes; passing on an idea, picture, or advertisement for it to continue surviving in our minds. To better explain this she pulls this into the same theory discussed in Spreadable Media from Richard Dawkins’ book “The Selfish Gene”.  Memes, just like viruses, latch on to one person and spread in the same way. She explains that biologically we are made to imitate and recreate ideas and thoughts, and this is what a meme truly is. Something replicated enough from person to person to be considered “viral”.  She then has us asking the question, what can we consider a meme? Her answer is definitely anything we can imagine, as long as it repeats itself in a manner that we always remember it to be exactly that. One of her non-internet/funny examples is hotel bathrooms. When we think of that idea we can all come up with a similar picture in our minds because hotel bathrooms imitate each other and we have spread this idea to be the norm.


Because replicating things has become such an effective way of spreading ideas around the world, Blackmore suggests that we have become meme generating machines. We use this theory to create jokes, advertisements, social norms, religion, and music. We know it is the most infectious way to spread things so we use it every day. But due to the evolution of memes taking to technology and the internet, she wants to classify them separately. Memes and temes (techno-memes) because they function different in how we communicate them from each other. She then says we should be prepared for another name to be created though, because there could be more advanced way of spreading through memes in the future. Or other universes might have more ideas as well.


In Dan Dennett’s “Dangerous Memes”, he starts off my further explaining the methodology between viruses and memes. But while we consider memes to be good things, he processes them as harmful to us and our general environment.  His idea is that these memes become parasites in our mind that cause us to hurt ourselves. He says ideas/memes are parasitic worms that will lead to our demise much like the parasites that hijack ants and cause them to commit suicide. He says this works for humans but instead of worms we have extremist views on religions and communism.  He argues that using memes to spread information is dangerous because we misuse this process. There are too many toxic ideas for memes to be good. He admits there are good and bad memes, but because we can’t annihilate all germs we should assume them as dangerous due to memetics being up to the morals of those viewing them.


Despite what Dennett says, memes have more possibility then he grants them to have positivity in the world. In part 4 of our stream, How to Make a Splash in Social Media, Alex Ohanian shows how pure and beneficial using a meme approach to spreading information can be. His story is about how Greenpeace, an environmental group, ended whaling in Japan by using meme spreadability. They chose one whale to track and protect and let the public name it. While there were many serious names, the one odd name Mister Splashy Pants, won. They name wasn’t the only winning aspect, so many people voted for this name that it became a meme and spread rampantly across the internet raising so much awareness that the Japanese government called off whaling missions. This shows that while memes can be used for negative things, they can also be used to greatly improve things around the world. It all depends on who is spreading the information.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


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The Value of Media Engagement Part 2

Posted by taylorbelcher on February 27, 2017

Reading this week’s assigned readings, I was surprised to see that it said, “Many cult shows- Heroes and Dexter among them- attracted as many or more illegal downloads as television viewers…” I think that people should take that into consideration before they decide to cancel a show. Yes, they should look at the viewings and ratings, but they should also look at how many people download (legally and illegally) and also how much people buy the materials that go along with those shows such as “the T-Shirt or the DVD or the keychain.” The reading even mentions that the business models are evolving and “audience members generate value through their direct purchases (of downloaded legal episodes, of DVDs, of program-related merchandise) and through their role as grassroots intermediaries drawing in new audience members.” When it was talking about that and how Jason Mittell “hook[ed]” his wife on the show Veronica Mars, I thought about how my boyfriend got me hooked on shows, like Arrow and Supernatural, by watching the first seasons on Netflix or certain websites that allowed you to watch them for free. I related to when it said, “He also converted to a legal viewer on network television once he had caught up…” because now that I am caught up on the shows, I watch them when they are scheduled to come on tv. The reading also says, “…committed viewers arrange their lives to be home at a certain time to watch their favorite programs.” I remember I used to arrange my work schedule to where I could be off on the nights that my tv shows came on, but now that I’m in college and a sorority, I have to literally work everyday, so I am not able to watch the shows on tv, and instead have to watch them when they’re on Hulu or some other way. 

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Netflix and illegally downloaded series

Posted by laurenivey22 on February 27, 2017

I had already known that many people were switching over to Netflix, HuluPlus, HBOgo, DVR, etc. but I did not realize just how many people were no longer watching the live TV shows, and how many people were watching the shows illegally.

Of course, Netflix, Hulu, and the others are a much more convenient way to watch series, shows, and movies because you can watch them at a time that is convenient for you. You can also pause, rewind, and fast forward, which helps to avoid all the boring commercials or help you not miss the best scene while you go to take a pee break.

This, however, its tremendously taking away from the live views that tv shows would normally get. With Netflix, Hulu, etc. the customer pays a monthly fee in order to get all the movies, TV shows, etc. that they do. Even though people aren’t watching the show live, its still getting publicity from Netflix, Hulu, etc. Some people, actually a lot more than usual, are illegally downloading or streaming TV shows instead of watching them live or paying for Netflix. This takes away tremendously from the profit of the TV show/movie, and because of this, the show could be cancelled due to lost profit and only a handful of viewers actually watching the show live.

While Netflix and all the other ones are much more convenient, they are adding to less viewers watching live shows, and more illegal downloading of the shows resulting in lost profit and possibly a cancelled TV show.

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Non-Traditional TV Viewership

Posted by Drake Kizer on February 27, 2017

Today’s selection covered pages 113-132 in our Spreadable Media textbook. The reading kicked off chapter three, which is titled “The Value of Media Engagement”, in a very interesting fashion. In classic form for this textbook, the beginning of this chapter was interesting, but it also opened up a lot of doors for confusion as the chapter goes on and becomes more convoluted in its subject matter. Hopefully, that will not be the case this chapter, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Pages 113-114 opened up a discussion about television viewing habits that is very relevant, and also a lot like one we have already had in class this semester. The textbook mentions that some shows “[attract] as many or more illegal downloads as television viewers, at least as counted by Nielsen.” That is not surprising to me in the least, because it is easier now than ever before to watch shows without having a subscription to a cable company or a streaming service. Shows are widely available online, and the more popular the show is, the more likely people are to be able to watch it “illegally”.

As the book mentioned, pirates are not stealing content since they can watch the content for no cost when it comes on television. They are, however, manipulating the system and taking advantage of advertisers, who lose money on their investments when viewers do not watch the commercials they paid money to purchase time for. Content producers, like “The Middleman’s Javier Grillo-Marxuach”, view illegal streams differently than networks do. Grillo-Marxuach was quoted as saying that the “more people talk about the show, the more other people will end up buying the DVD…and the money will come back to [the show’s producers].” Content creators are beginning to realize that viewers watching first-run television is not an accurate measure of their show’s overall popularity, but networks have not yet come to that realization. Networks have continually failed to quantify the value of non-traditional viewers, and until they do, tensions will continue to persist.

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Deepstream Project

Posted by Drake Kizer on February 27, 2017

Part 1: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/campaign-songs-EwNPaafR

Part 2: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/they-live-Jo6j2WTZ

Part 3: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/comcast-customer-service-A72RH83e

Part 4: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/seven-types-of-spreadable-media-qCYMNyXS

Part 5: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/behavioral-marketing-HwWZYogq

Part 6: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/retro-branding-taAt45Qo

Part 7: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/bernie-sanders-moral-economy-ZKbk2kKy

Part 8: http://deepstream.tv/watch/popculturesquad/thrift-shop-jFnzjQs4

For the Deepstream project, our group consisted of Drake Kizer, Tristen Denney, Jacob Karaglanis, and Connor Frederick. We all chose to join together as a group on the day we chose groups because we figured we would fit together pretty well. All of us took on an individual role in the group, and we all decided that we would choose the videos we wanted to annotate on our own. We knew we needed to have 45 minutes’ worth of content as a collective, and we figured everyone in the group would have a better time annotating videos if they helped select them.

After a work day one week, we had selected all of our videos. We discussed them in class for quite a while, because we wanted to select a wide-range of content that covered as much of the subject matter we had covered so far in class. Drake chose to cover John Oliver’s “Campaign Songs” video, which contained a flawed discussion of the copyright and permissions involved with a candidate using a popular song at their rallies or events. Drake also selected a video about the seven types of spreadable media, which was produced by students at a school in the United Kingdom. The class actually produced the video in relation to Spreadable Media, our class’s textbook, which made it particularly relevant.

Tristen chose three different videos that were a little bit shorter in length per video. He chose a particularly interesting one from MSNBC, which featured Bernie Sanders speaking about the need for a moral economy in America, which related to a discussion we had in the first couple weeks of school. He also picked an interesting video that introduced and explained the idea of retro branding, which has been a very hot topic in our class’s discussions and blog posts for quite a few sessions now. Lastly, he chose to cover the cringe-worthy audio of Ryan Block’s call with Comcast customer service. Our class did a blog post and a class discussion about customer service, and some of those were specifically about Comcast, so the group thought that was particularly relevant.

Jacob chose to annotate Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” video, because he felt the video signaled the launch of retro culture coming back to the forefront of American consciousness. Around the time the video came out, Americans began flocking to Goodwill and other thrift shops to collect vintage items and either wear them or collect them so that they could sell them for a profit. Connor chose a video about behavioral marketing, which he felt was related to a discussion we had in class about how marketing is becoming more and more tailored to individuals, as opposed to the old model which tried to appeal to the masses. The other video he chose was about They Live and the reasons why people should watch it even years after its release, which obviously relates to the in-class screening of the movie, and also the discussions and blog post we had about it.

By the time the project was completed for good, our group felt like we had compiled a wide range of content that accurately portrayed all of the readings and discussions our class had in the first month of our time together. We found that the Deepstream platform was not particularly hard to understand, use, or engage with, and so we were pleasantly surprised by the ease with which we were able to complete the requirements of these annotations. We definitely felt like this project was interesting and fun to do; as fun as any school project can ever be, that is. This project worked out well for our group, and so we look forward to doing more work together in the future.

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The Value of Media Engagement Part 2

Posted by lillieeastham on February 26, 2017

While reading this section, I thought about my own viewing habits. As a millennial girl there are a fair amount of shows specifically aimed at me and my demographic.

Mostly, I don’t watch live television, especially since I got a Netflix account, I prefer the ease of watching a particular show when it is convenient for me. However, there have been some exceptions.

When I was in middle school I watched the television show Pretty Little Liars religiously. At the time, the majority of my friends were also addicted to the show so missing an episode meant avoiding spoilers until you were able to catch up. It also meant that my twitter feed was almost exclusively dedicated to the show, making watching it on Tuesday nights a way to bond with my friends without even having to leave my house.

The only show that I currently make an effort to watch live is the Bachelor. I’m not alone, either. When everyone realized that my sororities meetings corresponded with the time the show was on, everyone was devastated. But, my friend has a Hulu account so I’m able to catch up just one day after the show airs. So why do I care about watching it live?

Like Pretty Little Liars, watching The Bachelor is a social experience. I usually update my twitter feeds on commercial breaks, just to see what other people think about what is happening. I also enjoy the many mocking and humorous recaps of the show almost more than I enjoy watching the show itself.

The Bachelor knows that the majority of it’s viewership watches it for the social and almost ironic experience. They blatantly pander to this audience with the over the top editing and are now one of the few live shows left that can maintain viewers for two or more hours a week.

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DeepStream Reflect

Posted by adusheck on February 26, 2017

Prior to doing the Deepstream assignment I had no idea how many examples of copyright infringement existed, or how long issues like this have been around. As you can see from the Dave Grohl video and the drama surrounding Vanilla Ice, music copyright has been an issue for quite some time. When thinking of copyright controversies, I immediately think of Taylor Swift and Spotify. Swift had her music removed from Spotify in 2014. She is very protective about her work and wants it to receive the praise and compensation she believes it deserves. Swift wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, writing that she believes free or virtually free music has lost what music is really about: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free…I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.” Swift also wrote an essay to Apple Music urging them to compensate artists for streaming their work. Artists such as Swift, Radiohead and Beyoncé and large corporations all have either taken all of their music off of streaming sites such as Spotify or only posted portions of their discography. These artists and companies believe that the hard work and passion that they put into their albums should be compensated and not given for free. Whether it revolved around other artists flat out stealing work, or Napster starting the streaming debate that persists to this day with more advanced sites such as Spotify and Apple Music as previously mentioned. This can be seen in some of the videos that ask the grueling question of “should streaming be legal?” although we pay for streaming it is not nearly what artist would make without access to streaming because many companies cut deals for students and families. I personally have a student Spotify account where I pay 4.99 a month to download basically unlimited amounts of music other than music such as Taylor Swifts and Beyoncé’s’ who are unavailable in full. This is such a small price when one album is typically between 11 and 15 dollars. When numbers are involved this shows why some artists such as Swift feel that artists are undercompensated while others such as Grohl think that that line of thinking is greedy. Is it greedy or are artist somewhat undercompensated the typical college kid who makes minimum wage pays 4.99 a month to listen to unlimited music and a millionaire/billionaire says they think that that is unfair?

The videos about YouTube licensing and copyright brought up issues that I was unaware existed until now. The FineBros (two online producers, made popular on YouTube) took a huge hit in subscribers, and consequentially, money, when they announced that they were going to attempt to trademark ‘React Videos’. This sparked a debate about YouTubers vs. ‘the little guy’ when it came to content on YouTube. Not only did this spark debate about the famous/wealthy vs. ‘the average joe’ but also brings us to an interesting question of what can one trademark? Where is the line between that’s ridiculous and okay that seems reasonable? How can someone trademark a reaction? That’s basically all that news is, a reaction to an event or product. You watch a particular type of news station based on your political standpoint because they have the same bias as you and are going to REACT similarly to you. Another big thing dealing with reactions are reviews. Reviews are reactions no matter what form they are given in text or video and that is something that most people rely on before talking themselves into buying something so to try to trademark a react video would bring a ton of questions that are extremely difficult to answer. Since the idea of YouTubers having a large amount is a new one, I think it will be interesting to see how situations such as this play out in the future. I think a lot of these videos show the battle between artists wanting to be compensated for their work and wanting to please their fans.

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Posted by adusheck on February 26, 2017


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