Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Spreadable Media Part 2

Posted by Kimberlea Ferrell on February 1, 2017

The section about Mad Men and Twitter gave me two different thoughts.

First, how public interaction and interpretation can change a piece of media. Even for a creator that is not a “control freak” seeing your work taken in a way you did not intend has to be upsetting. People can misuse content or change it to fit what they want to believe even if that was not the original intent. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t let people be creative or participate.

My second thought was about the Twitter interactions with the characters from the show. I encountered a similar experience recently, within the last year or so. A show on Cartoon Network, Steven Universe, aired an episode where a character, named Peridot, discovered social media. She created an account on a platform clearly mirroring Twitter. Throughout the episode we could see the messages she sent. Not too long after, an account with the same username was created and ran by a member of the crew that works on the show. She tweeted all the messages from the show, and continued to post new tweets. Eventually, because of fan interaction, though I believe most of this happened on Tumblr, things went south. I believe she received death threats and the like, over the way people wanted to perceive the show and over whether she is or is not “making” certain characters have certain relationships. I believe she may even be leaving the show soon if not already. This is just one example of negative fan interaction though, and while there are others, the audience can’t be completely excluded from content.


One Response to “Spreadable Media Part 2”

  1. Sean Hull said

    Your first thought about upset content creators is interesting, mainly because I’ve seen that very notion of content creators being upset with the adaptation of their works used as an argument against enjoying fan-made adaptations of existing media. That ambivalence towards adaptation may be warranted in some cases, an extreme example being the British children’s book author Michael Rosen’s Youtube-hosted book readings being remixed into severely family-inappropriate skits by the Youtube community. Though in isolation these extreme adaptations could be called harmless, the fact that a vulgar remix can be found right alongside an official, family-friendly book reading is cause for concern.

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