Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for May, 2014

Alternative assignment

Posted by coltinhanson on May 8, 2014

Promoting fan labor and “all things Web”: A case study of Tosh.0 by Rose Helens-Hart 

After reading this journal, I found myself amazed at the TV show Tosh.0 and its approach to fan interaction through multiple forms of media. In this journal, a few familiar terms come up such as “stickiness” and “spreadable”, which are extremely evident in the TV show and its website design. Tosh.0 is heavily dependent on audience participation. By encouraging fan-generated content and asking for interaction during the show, those that participate in his show, whether it is simply watching on TV, chatting on the message boards, or live-tweeting him… are an essential piece to the success and spreadabilty of the show.

It’s evident that the success or likability has a lot to do with the relationship with the audience. This show has crossed platforms from TV to the Internet where social media is allowing the show to gain popularity and generate buzz around its continually changing content. The fans that share videos, submit content, and continually support the show, do a lot of the grunt work that leads towards its sticky and spreadable nature. The creators behind this TV show and website realized that they could have the users do a lot of the work for them because the users are viewed as a controllable extension of the show.

Tosh.0 is heavily styled after the Internet. Nearly every aspect of the show has undertones of a virtual interactive website. The TV show only runs 22 minutes but with the website being another important part of the show, users are likely to interact outside of the 22 minute window online through the rabbit hole effect, which automatically starts playing videos on the website.


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Conclusion (Make Up)

Posted by cheyennedouglas on May 6, 2014

All in all not one specific person has total complete control in what is spreadable media here. A lot of factors go into it. From the fans to advertisement to the production companies and even the artists themselves. The idea that has really stuck with me throughout this book is how much power fans have to control what gets released to the masses. Everyone has to benefit from this media transaction as well or no business would be going down. The future is always fun to look at when considering popular culture because I never know what will be the next big thing. If you think about it we have made a lot of dumb things popular in this generation. I just think the stupider and funnier the content is the more popular it will become. But, the content can’t just rely on those two aspects, they must also appeal to something within us and be somewhat relatable. Also, the more accessible and relatable the content is the more spreadable it will really become.

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Chapter 7.2

Posted by cheyennedouglas on May 6, 2014

A lot of the media that we find spreadable in the United States of America typically spreads to other nations at a fast rate and catches on like wildfire there too. It’s very rare that a foreign sensation really influences our country greatly as a whole; I’m talking about to the point where thats what any and everyone is talking about nonstop (a true sensation determined by us). The only thing that comes to mind is gangnam style and that was so last year… I see that a lot of the foreign content that we deem as spreadable media is ultimately doomed to be labeled as a fad eventually somewhere down the line. It’s the sad truth.
I find this to be so sad because I have been fortunate enough to make friends from all over the world and they have taught me many different things that are popular where they’re from. Hopefully others have been as fortunate as I, but it’s just so interesting seeing what we have in common with other countries and what differences we have because more than likely we have more in common than you think, and this is mainly because of the American influence on other nations. For example, I am 100% sure that if I go anywhere in Russia and ask someone who Beyonce is that they would know exactly who i was talking about in 0.5 seconds because of how popular and spreadable Beyonce’s work is. But, if they were to ask me about one of their famous pop singers I would have no idea who or what they were referring to because their work isn’t really as available in the USA because it doesn’t pass the popularity test here.

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A Global History of Secondhand Clothing (Make-up Post)

Posted by muranfox on May 6, 2014

I got on the Spreadable Media Website and read the essay entitled “A Global History of Secondhand Clothing” by Hanna Rose Shell.

The essay begins by  telling the purpose of clothing, the idea behind clothing, what exactly they are. Their multiple purposes, and how they both serve for aesthetics and also protection. The writer retells the history and stories of clothing, which I find beautiful, I like it when things hold stories. How clothing is passed through a life time, and holds stains of an event that happened years ago or a rip, how many events the clothing has been present for, and how many things it is connected to that you can feel connected to simply by wearing or touching it. Clothing, before mass production became more efficient, required extreme manual labor and material resources. This meant clothing lasted an individual much longer, and the clothing was more personal, more tailored for their specific body and taste. It is a really beautiful concept, honestly.

Then the writer gets into how fast fashions begin changing, how the products cheapened, and clothing was thrown away for lesser and lesser reasons. Then secondhand clothing began being sold by merchants, often times Jewish and Italian immigrants. Clothing which meant one thing to an individual upstreet who then stained it and tossed it, meant another thing entirely to whoever picked it up at the shop, and oftentimes was worn differently. Cultures, classes, styles, fashions, everything began to merge and flow into a more general thing.

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Dr. Tammera Race (make up post)

Posted by brittanyjade22 on May 6, 2014

     I found the lecture we had on April 22 with Dr. Tammera Race to be very interesting. We did a very interesting group activity were we had to split up into small groups of 4 or 5 people and look up key information in the Terms and Conditions agreements of different websites. I for one am extremely bad about just clicking the I Accept button when registering for social media accounts, without even glancing at what it states. Are assignment was to look up the different ways the website protects the users, itself, and anything that seemed surprising to use. My group decided to go kind of old school and look at Myspace, which I had never actually used before. Because I was the person in the group with a laptop, I read threw the Terms and Conditions trying to find the answers to Tammera’s questions. The only really surprising thing my group found was that Myspace can gain access to its users gpm (latitude and longitude) location if the users safety is ever in jeopardy. After hearing from the other groups share, I was very interested in the fact that Facebook has all rights to pictures that you post and can sell them to other companies to be used in ads without your permission, and that unlike Facebook, Instagram does not have those rights to use your pictures. Overall, I found this lecture very useful because it has made me realize that even though reading through the Terms and Agreements of websites can be very boring and kind of hard to understand, it is very important to be aware of your user rights so you are not vulnerable. 

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Chuck vs. Leno (Make-up Post)

Posted by muranfox on May 6, 2014

I read the essay entitled “Chuck vs. Leno” on the Spreadable Media Website by Sheila Murphy Seles.

The essay begins by retelling the story of how Chuck fans ultimately saved the show from cancellation. When fans heard it was in its last season they took it upon themselves to insure it would continue. Wendy Farrington is the fan who is responsible for the launch of the event that ultimately saved the show. While fans wrote letters proclaiming their desire for the show to remain on the air, Farrington suggest a day where all the fans went to Subway to purchase a Footlong, and turn in comments as to why they were doing it. Subway was one of the more prominent sponsors of the show, and with the fans’ praises being turned into monetary value, they figured their worth would be more effective, and they were right.

On the other side of the spectrum, NBC made an attempt to make more money by introducing the Jay Leno Show. They removed a costly prime-time drama, and introduced a cheap show that could earn double the money even with low ratings. It tanked, everyone hated it, and it was eventually removed because the news was losing viewers from it. The essay ends by saying that the audience is valuable to the publishers and sponsors, but the content has “cultural value to viewers.”

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So What Is Pop Culture?

Posted by hatim105 on May 6, 2014

One of the questions that stuck with me throughout the semester and thought about almost every time we go into class is what exactly defines pop culture?the answer always seemed so broad that I just couldn’t make sense out of it. What qualifies something to be considered popular culture? Does it just have to be well-known? The World Cup is insanly popular everywhere, yet it seems to barely exist in the US. Ask someone in Brazil who Childish Gambino is and chances are they won’t know who you’re talking about. Yet both are viewed as popular culture. If it’s really “popular culture” then why is there a region barrier?
There’s literally over a hundred different definition of pop culture on the internet. Google defines popular culture as “Culture based on the tastes of ordinary people rather than an educated elite,” while the Oxford dictionary defines it as “Modern popular culture transmitted via mass media and aimed particularly at younger people,” which is closer to what most of us believe it to be. What does age say about pop culture? Is it really just a young folks language? and again, how is it popular when it has a specific associated group?
It’s easy to get lost in the many definitions of pop culture. However, Mass Media is the keyterm here. It’s the mechanism of pop culture’s flow in society. You may not know how to define pop culture but you sure know how you receive it. Mass Media is who gets to decide what gets put “out there” and sometimes it gets so out there that is crosses all over the globe (American pop culture being the most globalized today). I believe any attempt to come up with a precise definition for pop culture should start from the way mass media itself presents it.

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The Value of Media Engagement (Make Up Post)

Posted by marshalldm on May 6, 2014

This chapter touched on a topic that we discussed a lot in the class. It discussed viewing or downloading something illegally. Does this help the artist/show or does it hurt it? I think that it is clear that is makes the artist, song, show, or movie more popular. As long as it’s being viewed or downloaded it, the artifact is spreading and becoming more popular. However, the producer could be losing some serious profit. At the same time, the increased popularity could gain the producer incredible profit. I think it depends on the popularity of artifact before it’s even released. A great example of this is Lady Gaga and her music. Her fans and most pop-minded people are dying to hear her newest music. Therefore, her song is already popular before it comes out and so spreading it illegally and freely doesn’t help as much. For example, before she released her song “Venus,” people were constantly tweeting about it. If people downloaded it illegally instead of buying it, she is losing money. But if there is a small, independent band whose music is being spread illegally, it could significantly help them because people will begin to talk about them.

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In Defense of Memes (Make-up Post)

Posted by muranfox on May 6, 2014

I read an essay on the Spreadable Media Website entitled “In Defense of Memes” by Whitney Phillips.

My mom asked me to explain a meme to her once, and it was the most difficult thing I had to deal with that day. I do not even think I made it to a full explanation, I probably just gave up. The first paragraph of this essay is an explanation of what a meme is, and how they come about. Reading it is hard enough, so I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to get through that explanation. Anyway. She basically says that trolls (and you have to be at least to the point where you understand what a troll is, and my mom was not) are in tune to what is relevant in today’s culture and watch for images we already have a connection to in order to create a meme.

She produces an example from the rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope who release a video with memorable lines. From this video, a lot of .gifs were created with spin-off’s of this line. Phillips sees Trolls get away with certain things, she calls them “cracks.” She ends by suggesting the possibility of more cracks to seep though, she considers it extremely important.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Posted by coltinhanson on May 6, 2014

“Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” G.K. Chesterton

It’s interesting to me to hear people talk about keeping an open mind when an open mind is impossible in my opinion. While considering sides on a particular philosophy, lets just say the issue is left versus right, you are always going to prefer one side to the other. Just because the majority of people feel one way, doesn’t make your mind any more open than theirs. By considering and believing in one side, you are closing off your mind to the counter argument…which would mean your mind is closed. A true open mind would result in not having an opinion on anything. We are all judgmental whether we want to admit it or not and not all judgment is wrong. While intensity of this varies from person to person, by judging people, movies, outfits, religion, music, dental floss, values, ideology, blah, blah, and blah, we are essentially making ourselves closed minded because of choice. It would be miserable to not be able to make up your mind…you wouldn’t be able to construct an identity which is only possible with beliefs, preferences, and conclusions.

Being considerate or tolerant of others is a much more possible alternative in my opinion. Not making snap judgments and acting on those judgments is key…investigate further then make up your mind. While this is not strictly pop culture related, I think it is somewhat relevant to the subject. We each have our own ideas that we project through the Internet in our social media posts, which presents other Internet users with the opportunity to judge us as individuals and it gives businesses the chance to analyze us as consumers. The websites we visit, the content we absorb, and the impressions we takeaway are all influenced by our interests, which run hand-in-hand with our thoughts and personal belief system.



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