We take control of the media as it enters our lives and that’s the essence of convergence. (Jenkins, H 2006 Blog) This participatory culture includes the emergence of the idea “Do-it-yourself,” paving the way for the early embrace, quick adoption and diverse use of new media. YouTube is arguably the first mass-popular platform for user-created media content. YouTube as a site of participatory culture has been created by the corporate, professional, everyday and organisational users who upload content to the website, and the audiences who engage around that content.
(Jenkins, H 2007 Blog) Each of these participants approaches YouTube with their own, frequently conflicting, purposes and aims; and they have collectively if not collaboratively shaped YouTube as a social network and a popular archive. (Jenkins, H 2007 Blog) Jenkins believes that there are all these pre-existing communities that have gravitated into the space of youtube and are sharing their media not only among themselves but with each other. An innovation sped up by the flow of these ideas from one subcultural community to the next is what the real excitement of youtube has been.Order now
(Jenkins, H 2007 Lecture) The internet was created in the late 1960s so that the US Department of Defence researchers could share information with each other. (Unknown, 2004) The researchers saw potential in the new technology as it allowed networks of people to communicate anywhere in the world over a computer. The internet was created to be a free aid on communicating and sharing information. It enabled people to become a democracy with no influence over what they communicated and shared.
This revelation of the World Wide Web has seen companies use it as a huge financial gain. These researchers predicted even back then that the internet will be weakened by the exact purpose of the internet. Thousands of companies across the world expertise in computer technology, these days’ company’s websites stay in business purely because of advertising sales on the site. Every corner of the internet- someone is profiting off. Social media networks have recently been brought to the attention of the internet – with millions of global visitors daily.
They interact, communicate, upload pictures, videos, comment etc. Creators of such sites are now worth billions. If you upload a video on youtube and receive a certain amount of views-youtube pay you. Is the internet business culture overstepping the original intention of the internet- to communicate in a free world? The term “Web 2. 0” is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centred design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web .
(O’Reilly, T 2005) Web 2. 0 has already gone through an interesting cycle. 2006 was a year of enormous excitement about Web 2. 0. 2007 saw more and more tension as communities were speaking back to web 2. 0 companies in a variety of ways and challenging the implicit social contract of that underlying web 2. 0. It often looks like labour as being transferred into the hands of consumers, but wealth production is in the hands of media companies. (Jenkins, H 2009 Interview)
Cyberculture is a subculture formed from the use of computer networks, communication, entertainment and business. (Bell, D & Kennedy B M, 2000) It is also the study of various social phenomena associated with online communities and online multi-player gaming. For the purposes of the essay, we pay special mention to online communities, in particular fanfiction. This idea of “fan fiction” is to provide a home of creators of one of the first “user generated” genres, fan stories written using popular movie and TV characters and storylines.
Members can upload stories, embed promos and build communities around their favourite shows, books, movies, games etc. Fanfiction sites provide “challenges” asking fans to write their own conclusion to their favourite shows season finale. Members can shift from one community to another as their interests and needs change and they belong to more than one community at the same time. (Nightingale and Ross, 2006)It’s this idea that stories are spread across media platforms, almost without regard to technical barriers.
People seem quite eager to flow these stories and pursue bits of information about them. In a networked society, people are increasingly forming knowledge communities to pool information and work together to solve problems they could not confront individually. We call this “Collective Intelligence. ” (Nightingale & Ross, 2006) This is the world of discussion list. A type of cyberculture. Pierre Levy tells us “nobody knows everything, everyone knows something, and when any given member knows is available to the group at a moment’s notice.
” Levy sees “collective intelligence” as a vehicle for democratisation, feeling that it provides a context through which diverse groups can join forces to work through problems. (Jenkins, H 2006 Blog)Lost presents one of the first examples of a TV show that leverages the collective intelligence, giving viewers the opportunity to create a community around the show online that discusses the show, the many secrets and mysteries it contains, and allowing fans to feel far more involved than was previously possible. Another example of the emphasis fanfiction has on an audience is Survivor.
Survivor, a reality TV show first aired in 2004 where 16 strangers were to ‘survive’ each other. Around every carefully crafted episode emerges another contest between the producer and the audience. As Survivor was the first to kick start the reality TV trend; Survivor is known as television for the Internet age; designed to be discussed, dissected, debated, predicted and critiqued. (Jenkins H, 2006) The most hard core fans are known as “spoilers,” they go to extraordinary lengths to search the answers. They watch taped episodes frame by frame for any hidden information.
The concept of “Collective Intelligence” allows this sharing to happen. Online forums and fanfiction sites offer an opportunity for participants to share their knowledge and opinions. Pierre Levy comments in Convergence Culture (Jenkins, H 2006) that such knowledge communities as central to the task of restoring democratic citizenship. He sees the sharing of knowledge around the world as the best way of breaking down the divisions and suspicions that currently shape international relations. The word spoiling goes as far back as the beginning of the internet.
Spoiling emerged because of the geographies of old and new media. People on the East Coast saw a series three hours earlier than people on the West Coast. With each new Survivor season, Mark Bennett, CBS and the production team have had to tighten security, further closed off leaks, anticipated hackers and made it much harder to play the game. The audience- sees this as a challenge. (Jenkins H, 2006) Spoiling is an adversarial process – a contest between the fans and the producers, one group trying to get their hands on the knowledge the other is trying to protect.
CBS like many other production companies monitor the discussion lists for information about the audience. “In the first season, there was a ground swell of attention in there, we started monitoring the message boards to actually help guide us in what would resonate in our marketing. It’s just the best marketing research you can get” (Jenkins H, 2006). One fan comments on spoiling. “I like to dig. I like to look at primary source information. I like to find official manuscripts of an event. I like to find out who were the people there, what did they see. I want to hear it from them.