Transmedia Activity: shaping the way we communicate

Featured Image, communication by Jonny Hughes (CC BY 2.0)

Throughout many Digital Media platforms within society, we witness a range of circulation and sharing between different social mediums. The way in which Transmedia activities are formed and shaped are reliant on the many media platforms which shapes them. What are Transmedia activities and which digital or non-digital platforms create them? Within this blog I will discuss some interesting concepts we can relate to when discussing the way key media platforms shape Transmedia activity, as it is influenced and shaped through many platforms, which dictates and communicates between various mediums within the media. Factors such as Media Ownership, Convergence Culture, Participatory Culture, Fan Cultures, and Networked Culture are all platforms within Transmedia activity which impact user participation.

There is no single definition set for Transmedia activities, yet Zeiser contends that it is, ‘…a range of original content is created around one product with the goal to drive audience engagement around that product, but marketing elements become content channels in themselves’ (2015, p. 18). He then continues on, stating that Transmedia activities are ‘…multiple platforms across which producers and audiences distribute content’ (2015, p.18). In referring to this statement, we can determine that there are many platforms within the media that shape Transmedia activities. As we can witness multiple channels and networks which are impacting the way this activity circulates within society. Rholetter contends that Transmedia activities are ‘…literally, across media; more recently, a description of media projects that use multiple platforms (print, film, web, etc.) to communicate an idea, a narrative, or information with greater complexity and dynamic potential than is possible in a single medium’ (2015, p. 5). In correspondence to Transmedia activities, we have to take into account the many platforms, which manipulate the way they are being distributed. Media ownership and control is an important group, which manipulate and shape Transmedia activities within society. ­

Media ownership, can be defined as, ‘… the commercial and legal control of interpersonal and mass communication technologies by individuals, corporations, and/or governments’ (Chandler & Munday 2011, p. 265). When viewing media ownership and control, we can see that this group ultimately shape Transmedia activities as they distribute and circulate certain information on platforms they choose. As Doyle states, media ownership ‘…facilitates for expansion’ (Doyle 2002, p. 79) within the media. Doyle also contends that media ownership ‘…cross-promotes the firms products’ (2002, p. 79). This statement can be seen as media ownership having dominant market power over Transmedia activities, along with having control over production and distribution within the media. Media ownership occurs through many platforms, from digital media, to magazines and newspapers. This ownership controls what is accessible for individuals online, and which platforms collide within each other to collaborate and create larger social interest. Media ownership ultimately shapes Transmedia activities as ‘…access to all audiences over a wider distribution’ (Doyle 2002, p. 80) is met and can circulate via many digital channels.

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Convergence by Thomas Leth-Olsen (CC BY 2.0)

Convergence culture- a platform viable for communication.
Jenkins states that convergence culture is the ‘…flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries’ (2006, p. 2). Convergence culture can be seen as a process which shapes Transmedia activities, as media and technology groups comes together to offer independent services via digital networks (Cinque 2015, p. 17). As companies and media groups are forming alliances or merging to capitalise on or even to survive in the new media industries that is shaping Transmedia activities. Convergence culture has also created extensive production and consumption characterised by audience participation though digital networking (Chandler & Munday 2011, p. 78). This impacts on the way Transmedia activities are shaped as convergence has created further audience participation in online groups and communities.                                             

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Photograph by Emma Miller, 12 April 2017

Participatory culture is a major platform, which shapes Transmedia activities as audience participation within online content creates digital interaction between online groups. Defined as ‘…activities which transforms the experience of media consumption into the production of new texts, blurring and boundary between producers and consumers’ (Chandler & Munday 2011, p. 311) participatory culture allows many participants to interact together through the use of social media platforms (Cinque 2015, p.164). Through various means, participatory culture is ultimately shaping Transmedia activity as many users are actively participating online through gamification, interactive video games, digital devices which link up to social media, and even pages on social media sites which lets you ‘share’ or ‘comment’ within a forum. There are certain forms, which shape participatory culture which impact on Transmedia activity. The first form, expressions, produce forms, fan videos or zines. The second form, collaborative problem solving, is where members work together in teams, such as reality gaming. The third form affiliations, is where users are in online communities such as Facebook or game clans. The forth is the form called, circulations. This is where members are blogging or creating podcasts. These four forms all shape Transmedia activities as each has a specific purpose and are used within the same digital media platform, to communicate and interact digitally with one another (Jenkins 2009, p. 13). Participatory culture can also be seen as a type of informal mentorship where ‘experienced participants pass along knowledge to novices’ (Jenkins 2009, p. 12). This statement suggests that members within participatory culture thereby feel a degree of social connection between one another. This is a form of Transmedia activity as members are communicating through this digital platform, sharing knowledge and creations.

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Screenshot of Fan Culture by Emma Miller, 11 April 2017

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Frozen cosplay by Punapanda (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Within participatory culture, fan culture is also viewed. Pearson states, ‘…the digital revolution has had a profound impact upon fandom, empowering and disempowering, blurring the lines between producers and consumers, creating symbiotic relationships between powerful corporations and individual fans, and giving rise to new forms of cultural production’ (Pearson 2010, p. 2).

Fan culture is a major area within Transmedia activities as it impacts on the way society and the media view certain platforms of media and the consumption of it. Media fan cultures actively participate in the creation and circulation of popular cultures (Larsen 2012, p. 188). ‘Fans’ within the media create a platform, which bring a certain film, or show to life through blogging, memes, collaboration through social media platforms or even cosplaying.

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The Fairy Tale Cosplay Group by Kimi’s Photography (CC BY 2.0)

Fan culture is an important aspect of Transmedia activities as individuals stream, or posts imagery of films or TV shows through digital media platforms. This ultimately impacts on the distribution and advertising of the particular film or show for the company, which produce them. The bigger the fan culture, the better for media ownerships, as active collaboration and positive discussions create positive exploitations for media companies, as distribution is created through social networking. This can also be seen as networked culture, as many are actively communicating between one another through digital media platforms, such as forums, social media sites, or even gaming. Networked culture is involved within all digital media platforms that operate to connect the user to the digital networking system.

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                                           Network by Rosmarie Voegtli (CC BY 2.0)

Networked culture within society can be linked between all other cultures as we see a connection between media platforms and the way networked culture ultimately shapes Transmedia activity. Chandler and Munday states, ‘…new communications technologies have enabled social relationships to form are no longer geographically bounded’ (2011, p. 293). This statement suggests that technology has advanced to a degree which any one can communicate anywhere with the means of networked culture. The way in which networks are so easily accessible, reliant and intergrading between social media platforms, allows users for easy access. This method of networked culture ultimately shapes Transmedia activity through easy access, portable use and interactions between many networked platforms (Chandler & Munday 2011, p. 293).

Transmedia activities are forever advancing as various media groups are changing the way different platforms are circulated via multiple channels. Channels such as media ownership, convergence culture, participatory culture, and networked cultures are just a few that are constantly advancing and shaping Transmedia activities as a whole, as new devices and technological upgrades within multiple platforms are constantly shaping them. Through digital mediums, active participants, and digital networked connections of Transmedia activities, involvement between the producer and consumer within digital media groups are interacting and advancing.

As we have discussed above, we can therefore contend that many platforms ultimately shape Transmedia activities as active groups and communities are constantly circulating information via many media channels.

Whatever media channel you are using; whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or maybe even YouTube, WILL ultimately contribute to the constant evolvement of Transmedia activities.


-E

 

References

Chandler, D., and Munday, R. 2011, Dictionary of Media and Communication, First Ed, Oxford University Press.

Cinque, T. 2015, Changing Media Landscapes: Visual Networking, Oxford University Press.

Cinque, T. 2015, Communication, Digital Media and Everyday Life: What is the Media and is Digital Media ‘New’?, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press.

Doyle, G. 2002, Media Ownership: The Economics and Politics of Convergence and Concentration in the UK and European Media, Sage Publications Ltd.

Jenkins, H. 2006, Convergence Culture: “Worship at the Alter of Convergence”, A New Paradigm For Understanding Media Change, NYU Press.

Jenkins, H. 2009, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture, The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England

Larsen, Katherine; Zuberis, Lynn., 2012, Fan Culture: Theory/Practice, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Pearson, R. 2010, Fandom in the Digital Era: Popular Communication, University of Nottingham

Zeiser, A. 2015, Transmedia Marketing, Focal Press.

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