Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for August, 2016

The Twitter Takeover

Posted by tycamchan on August 31, 2016

“Spreadable media needs to understood in evolutionary rather than revolutionary terms”. This is the truest statement I think I have ever read. Technology is really starting to become the best means for communication and involvement for many people around the world concerning different topics. Nowadays it seems like all someone has to do is log onto twitter and put a hashtag next to something, and boom, it’s trending online. For instance, when traditional media outlets (such as journalists, etc) had trouble in Iran with monitoring what was going on and even they had to turn to new media content (like twitter)… That told a lot. Everything that happened during that time was conveyed and communicated through Twitter, videos on YouTube, and Facebook. Without these news forms of spreadable media we as people wouldn’t be able to keep up with different parts of the world. Do you ever notice how easy it is nowadays to hear those stories about what’s going on in different parts of the world? And how wherever you go it seems like you can’t escape hearing those stories? That’s all social media.


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Spreadable Media. Memes. History. Twitter Rev. (Blog 3)

Posted by jessiemc11 on August 31, 2016

Today Media compared to years ago has changed a lot. Starting from paper media such as news next to the radio all the way to things like twitter, television, and other social medias. In the world things are brought to peoples attention through things like twitter. The question is do they bring the right rise? Do they raise awareness or do they only cause conflict?

This section of reading was a little harder to comprehend but with memes they can be taken to far almost sometimes. I feel as if through social media people feel as if they have the power to post and say everything they want to with no filter. Someone posted on a meme how when a little girl was killed it was “payback” for the topic we recently talked about in class about the gorilla being killed which is 100% awful because that little girl had absolutely nothing to do with that A and B that is a human life that was taken away and very well had a bigger affect on her family. Memes can become hurtful in many ways to people when things become a joke that really affects someone. Although there are so many great memes as well and I love scrolling through my feed and watching/reading them.

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Inciting a Revolution…Or an Erection

Posted by wrmattison on August 31, 2016

Henry Jenkins touched on the topic that I think is the most important when we talk about social media: the power it gives to the people.   Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook paved the way for the Arab Spring of 2010.  Many of us were too young to care about middle eastern politics but as we’ve aged we’ve been brought up to speed about unrest overseas.  This historical shift in the political and journalistic landscape is awe-inspiring and somewhat frightening.  It almost makes me forget that with the same social media platforms somebody can send me a gif of a naked woman jumping up and down.

In high school I wrote an essay about the power and influence social media has on the youth.  With the Michael Brown shooting, everybody took to their keyboards, but not to the state governments.  My argument was that people were more inclined to type out their feelings rather than act on them.  Granted, there were protesters-there still are.  I was specifying the hundreds of thousands who don’t take that physical stand and opt for the safer form of social protest.  Social media.

Unlike teenagers in America, the people of Iran took to their phones and the streets.  In such a heavily censored country it was damn near impossible to write an expose on the fallacy of the Iranian government without being killed.  However, Twitter and Facebook allowed everyone to be a journalist.  The governments couldn’t censor the internet.  The Iranian people spoke out in an unprecedented fashion.  The people have power in social media.

On the flipside, social media is only affective when used correctly.  When our two wonderful, well rounded presidential candidates open a dialogue on Twitter, it makes me want to go off the grid like Christopher McCandless in 1992 (Into the Wild, John Krakauer.)  It’s comical the kind of juxtaposition that social media creates.  You have the ability to incite a revolution, or be the admin of a pornography gif’s account.  You can be a mechanism of change, or you can hook up with hot singles in your area. Twitter is truly fascinating and simultaneously fucking weird.

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#NotAllAnons and Harambe

Posted by Alex Malone on August 31, 2016

[Excuse me while I say an Our Father for choosing that title.]

Firstly, as an occasional member of a certain online “faceless collective,” I maintain that 4chan is almost a tolerable social media network as long as you give /b/ and /pol/ a wide berth (and, in general, keep Sturgeon’s Law in mind,) and that it that has made many positive contributions to my cultural literacy in areas other than the endless posting, reposting, and remixing of image macros. See, for example, the list of infographics hosted at http://www.muessentials.com/ which provide useful and easily searchable (or requestable) resources for “how to into”-ing many obscure musical genres. Although the site-wide anonymity does plenty to obfuscate the development of an interpersonal ecosystem, to say that the “lack of individuals” necessarily quashes those channels entirely is, in my opinion, incorrect.

Also, although it is fundamentally a response to material from a few days ago, I’d like to reiterate here the point that I mentioned in class on Tuesday – the book briefly discusses the negative connotations of the term “viral,” and suggests that it be replaced with a less acerbic alternative. In my opinion, it suits many social media “fads” perfectly. At the risk of sounding like the pettiest person on the planet, I feel that many memes (e.g., Harambe, “How to Approach a Woman Who…”, etc.) have become entirely detached from their (original) moral context and now exist primarily as vectors to transmit fleeting, almost entirely orthogonal messages, rather than the example the book gives (and many others that are easily observable) of a 4chan image macro being repurposed to serve as a representative of a different social or political message.

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I meme, you meme, we all scream for more memes.

Posted by toppermike on August 31, 2016

One perspective that I’m not sure has been adequately explored on the topic of memes is (to appropriate a little internet jargon) the toxicity of the meme. While some memes spread because they’re funny, witty, or relevant to some scandal or trend in current events, some memes seem to spread by virtue of being completely terrible and devoid of any humorous or relevant content. Consider the following example:



It’s terrible. Truly awful. And yet, that seems to be its appeal. On Reddit, there’s a whole thread of nothing but such images (https://www.reddit.com/r/dankmemes/), and, at the time of this post, it has 56,225 subscribers. There is no quality control; sometimes garbage just spreads.

In regards to the topic of media, I know that I never thought of social media as a form of media, despite “media” being in the name. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I always equated media exclusively with news media. Certainly I never thought of coins, plates, or religious artifacts as being different forms of media. If, as Uricchio suggests, media entails all “platforms, bearers of texts, and meanings or as prescribed sets of behavior”, then media is a truly broad beast to define. Off the top of my head, I would specify that that means it also embodies all works of art, all poetry, all shared video content, all literature, all biographies, pretty much everything on the internet, all road signs, and all restaurant menus. It would probably be easier to describe what isn’t media. Where do you feel the distinction really lies? What do you think draws the line between media and non-media?


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Audience Influence

Posted by ccpadfield on August 31, 2016

I think that the role audiences play in the spreading of media is undervalued, especially by audiences themselves. In the case of “Comcast Must Die”, a video went viral and caused an uproar amongst Comcast users. For a period of time, the customers had more power over the business. Unfortunately, despite all the shares, Comcast’s service didn’t get corrected. Most of the time, this is a sad truth.

I think that audiences need to realize how much power they can hold over businesses. Consumers have the opportunity to keep businesses accountable through social media. Although it may take awhile for a post to catch attention, if the problem has happened to more than just one person, the post would more likely be shared.

For some reason, though, people are often discouraged from voicing their opinions on social media. I think that the possibility that the post wouldn’t gain traction detracts people. We want to be heard when we speak, and I think a lot of us are afraid we’ll go unnoticed. I’m interested to see what others think about this.

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“Complaints & dissatisfaction”

Posted by laurenbailey07 on August 31, 2016

With social media becoming so popular and widely used, many companies and organizations are jumping in as well. Almost daily when I log on Twitter or Instagram I will see interactions with customers. For example, a friend of mine had a terrible experience at Taco Bell. She decided to tweet about her experience and tag the verified Taco Bell account. The account ended up responding and apologizing for her experience and giving her a discount on her next trip. I feel like this is the best way for companies to get a “good rep” especially if that person has a lot of followers. The interaction is then in turn shared with everyone that follows either party.

One thing that really left me on edge was the statement “whether the customer is ‘an influencer,’ customers will receive different levels of response based on their perceived ‘public relations threat’.” No matter my amount of followers on any social media site, I should not be given any different degree of concern by a company than someone with a million follower count. Although the encounter will not spread to as many customers online as it would if it were with someone who had a larger follower count, at the end of the day, that one person could completely ruin that company with their corporate.

When it came to the encounter with Mad Men on Twitter, I found it was ridiculous for the characters to be suspended from their accounts. Although the accounts were just fan accounts, they were still giving publicity to the show itself. They should have never been suspended.

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The History of Spreadable Media in Defense of Memes and Twitter Revolutions (blog 3)

Posted by alexiskurtz1 on August 31, 2016

I myself am a big fan of memes. I get on the app IFunny quite often to see what new jokes have been taken too far and others that have just began. As I was reading the article “Defense of Memes” by Whitney Phillips, it stuck out to me how much memes really do adjust to our culture. Every time a new story on the news is told (mostly the bad stuff) a meme is made shortly after. An example, from our previous discussion in class, is Harambe. After this news story and many reaction from the public memes came shorty after. This event happened almost three months ago, but social media is still talking about it. Media is used to blow up issues that may not have been as big a deal. Another example is all the memes referring to this years presidential election. People spread memes making fun of their least favorite candidate to help persuade others to agree. Often these memes are biased and exaggerated.

Twitter has had a big impact on the media as well. It’s not only just people sharing what they did that day or other silly information they think other people actually care to hear, but also world news. In Henry Jenkins article “Twitter Revolutions?” he mentions how the Iranian election had a world wide response. This just shows how much media has an impact on the news we see. I remember last year there were videos of the Isis terrorists harming people going around on twitter. It was awful, but also made me more aware of the things going on around me and not just what was happening in my city.

As for the actual spreading of media, it is increasing every day. More people are looking to the internet and technology for information rather than books. Even if they do look in a book for information its most likely an ebook. The advancement in technology is awesome and its safer and faster to store information. The only thing that would be awful is if there was some sort of power outage or hack in the system and everything went crashing down.


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A Meme’s Life

Posted by caitgate on August 31, 2016

When I was at the Honors H4 retreat, we had a phrase called “first movers and improvers”. It is where someone comes up with an idea (the first mover) and other people build on it (the improvers). “In Defense of Memes” reminded me a lot of this concept. A lot of memes started out funny, and people build on it to make it more funny. They even incorporate other memes, such as the “are you a wizard” example in the article. Everything is a competition. With companies, it is to see who can come out with the best new thing. Someone started with the original idea, and now they are all competing for the best updates. Even memes are a low key competition; people are trying to create the best ones. Things are usually posted with the intent of going viral. People don’t generally post a picture on Instagram to not get any likes. You want people to like it and talk about it. Memes are posted to be shared for all to see. You don’t want it to be looked at once then die.

Image and reputation are very important. It was evident in “Spreadable Media” when talking about customer service. When the person with 30 followers posted a complaint, they just gave them the customer service number. When the person with a lot of followers posted a complaint, they were much more willing to work with them. It is all about reputation. They don’t want word of their bad customer service getting around. This really stuck with me.  A lot of companies are like that. They don’t pay much attention to the underdog; they’re more focused on making the “more influential” person happy.

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Twitter Revolution

Posted by holly1519 on August 31, 2016

I think Twitter is one of the easiest ways to connect with millions of people because the hashtag is so popular. All you have to do is search for #Iran and it will bring up every single  tweet that mentions Iran (over 2 million to be exact). However, when I think of journalism in the middle east I automatically think of all of the horrible things going on with ISIS but if they want to protest the government, more power to them.

When Zuckerman said “The longer a country censors and the more aggressively it censors, the more incentive it gives citizens to learn how to get around that”. I feel like that is true human nature. Most of the time if you tell someone “no you can’t look at that” it will spark their curiosity and they will be so much more likely to look than if you never mentioned it at all. When you tell someone they can’t do something they will probably find a way around it, so it’s only natural that with the government’s restriction on news stories, people would turn to social media to get the word out.

Its possible that Twitter could bring in enough people to start a revolution, but as the article mentioned not enough people in Iran. Only 35% of people had access to the internet, which is significantly more than anywhere else in the middle east but it still wasn’t enough. Even though there was not enough information on the inside to start a revolution it’s amazing that something like Twitter could inform so many people outside of Iran about whats going on. The people who were actually there found a way to reach so many others since the government censored other means of communication.

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