"You're Soaking In It": Prof. Henry Jenkins on Transmedia Storytelling and Viral Marketing
Prof. Henry Jenkins (formerly the Director of MIT's Comparative Media Studies Program, now at USC and still a leading authority on film and new media) offered a number of key insights in this June 8th, 2010 interview with imedia about the ways in which content is circulating on the web and what sort of content and entrepreneurs will prosper online.
According to Prof. Jenkins, the transmedia revolution has become pervasive: As "Madge the Manicurist" used to say in the old Palmolive commercials, "You are soaking in it." But Prof. Jenkins thinks filmmakers need to pay more attention to the role that the audience plays in making content viral: "Until marketers understand the consumer's active agency and the social mechanisms shaping their circulation of content, they are doomed to insult and alienate the very people they are hoping to attract."
On extracting revenue from content on the web, Prof. Jenkins says: "I don't buy the idea that we will never pay for content just because we've convinced people the internet is for free. For my generation growing up, it would have been inconceivable that we would pay for television or bottled water, yet beliefs and practices have changed significantly over time."
Finally, in discussing the future of journalism online, Prof. Jenkins describes the traits necessary for a filmmaker to prosper online: "Above all, creativity, entrepreneurship, adaptability, the ability to keep learning, and the ability to communicate with diverse publics. In short, the world is changing fast, and only those who know how to change in meaningful ways in response to their shifting environment will succeed. What you want to avoid is getting locked down into one way of living and acting in the world."
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