Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

What Constitutes Meaningful Participation Part 1

Posted by taylorbelcher on March 30, 2017

In one of the essays titled “Television’s Invitation To Participate” by Sharon Ross, I learned that there are three types of invitation. The first one is overt invitations. She describes it as when a tv show invites a viewer to become involved with the show. The example that she used for this was how American Idol encourages the viewer to call the phone in order to vote on the show. Another way of invitation is organic invitation. She said this is “where a TV show assumes that viewers are already actively engaged and incorporates evidence of this within the narrative of the show—or, in some cases, television network.” Ross used Degrassi: The Next Generation as an example for this type. She says this show’s “attention to the role of new communications media in teens’ lives and The N network’s use during Degrassi episodes of interstitials that feature teen viewers texting and IM chatting via The N’s website” is what makes this an example of an organic invitation. The last type that I learned about from this essay was called an obscured invitation. This is described as when a TV show’s narrative complexity demands viewer unraveling that drives fans to online applications. The example that Ross uses is “Lost’s dense referencing of philosophers and artists as clues to the “hidden” meaning of the island and its inhabitants.” I was aware that tv shows each did their own thing for engaging viewers, but I didn’t know that it was intentional and the specific names for each way. Also, Ross’s examples helped clarify what each type meant, which made me realize other shows that could fall into that category. 

In the essay, Ross also says how she believes that organic invitations will become the dominant form of tv invitations to participation because of “today’s texting, IMing, web-surfing teens” and “yet-to-be-imagined forms of new media communication.” I strongly agree with this statement. In 2010, Pretty Little Liars first aired, and one of the main things in the show is how this character “A” texts them to mess with them. I don’t remember exactly when, but I think sometime during season 2, there was this thing on their twitter page where you could text this number and it would send you text messages like in the show as if “A” was texting you. This was a way to get viewers involved with the show even more so that they could feel as if they were alongside the main characters. 


3 Responses to “What Constitutes Meaningful Participation Part 1”

  1. tommistowers said

    I love that you used the topics Degrassi and Pretty Little Liars. Degrassi was a weird show for me as a teenager. Degrassi was always shows as being on phones or social media throughout the show. Pretty Little Liars also included the audience when “A” was being revealed. I think it is a good idea to involve your audience like Ross did. Good Job!

  2. emmaeled said

    I think it’ll be interesting in the up and coming years to see how shows become more inclusive and interactive. As you said with the pretty little liars A text messaging now the question is what next? When audiences are already the most engaged they’ve ever been, how is that topped as new generations and technology come out.

  3. emilyfalicaa said

    Using fan participation is what I think of as one of the most important aspects of spreading and growing media. Using things like the twitter A text program is a pretty cool way to do so. I just started watching Pretty Little Liars and honestly, that would have gotten me hooked if I watched it while it was being released. If I knew about it I might have watched it sooner to get in on this texting thing. I feel like a lot of kid’s programming does the same thing by allowing them to solve the mystery with the show. My favorite show when I was in that PBS age was Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Mostly because I could participate and try to guess or solve the problems along with them. It also had a website that allowed you to do the same thing. This participation definitely kept me hooked on the show

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