Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Final Project- The Relationship between Spreadable and Drillable Media

Posted by Kimberlea Ferrell on May 11, 2017

Laura Mitchell, Kimberlea Ferrell, & Nasir Stoner

For our final project we further explored spreadable and drillable media and the relationship between them. We aimed to explain these two types of media and give illustrations. We have put a few videos of the media examples we chose into our Prezi.

Spreadable media are texts that are readily shared. Many factors contribute to why these texts are so spreadable. People share things to connect to friends or express their beliefs and ideas. Things are also more readily spread when it is easy to share them. Sharing a YouTube video or a tweet is as simple as a few clicks.

A great example of something spreadable is James Corden’s Car Pool Karaoke. Music artists are invited to drive around with him and sing along to their own songs, as well as various other songs. People want to see their favorite artists, and whatever funny moments that occur, and want to share this joy with others.

Drillable media are texts that are typically dug into by the fans, rather than spread and shared in great numbers. These texts are complex and/or have a vast amount of material. Drillable media invites fans to go beneath the surface of the text, where a casual viewer would not go. Fans of drillable texts usually get involved in forensic fandom. Forensic fandom is a group of fans coming together to discuss and dig into a story to decode mysteries and make predictions. This paraphrased definition, and more on Drillable texts, comes from an article “Forensic Fandom and the Drillable Text” by Jason Mittell, which we will link here.


We chose Doctor Who as our example because of its complex story and vast amount of material. Due to the nature of the show, it has become common for most fans to refer to points in the show not with seasons, but by Doctor regeneration. There are also comics, audio books, and spinoff shows that expand on the universe, leaving more to be discovered by devout fans engaging in forensic fandom. Fans have even went as far as looking into the science present in the show. A fan on Tumblr discussed the atmosphere of the Doctor’s home planet and how it compared to Earth, explaining the possible effects on his body. There are also many theories and speculations, some about the doctor’s final death, which is alluded to in the clip we include in the Prezi. It was said earlier in the series that if you meet yourself while time traveling, you are certain to die. Not all fans might remember this, or take it so seriously.

There are also media that have a certain degree of both spreadable and drillable qualities. A majority of people may enjoy and share moments of the media with others, while there are also those that dig deep into the stories. A good example is the Disney/Pixar universe. The casual fan might not notice or particularly care about the “easter eggs” and increasing evidence to the theory that all the movies are connected. These movies are clearly recognized and enjoyed by many, children and adult, but not all are so involved with these “easter eggs” and what they mean.



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