Spreadable Media is a rare inside look at today’s ever-changing media landscape. The days of corporate control over media content and its distribution have been replaced by the age of what the digital media industries have called “user-generated content.” Spreadable Media maps these fundamental changes, and gives readers a comprehensive look into the rise of participatory culture, from internet memes to presidential tweets.
The authors challenge our notions of what goes “viral” and how by examining factors such as the nature of audience engagement and the environment of participation, and by contrasting the concepts of “stickiness”—aggregating attention in centralized places—with “spreadability”—dispersing content widely through both formal and informal networks. The former has often been the measure of media success in the online world, but the latter describes the actual ways content travels through social media. The book explores the internal tensions businesses face as they adapt to this new, spreadable, communication reality and argues for the need to shift from “hearing” to “listening” in corporate culture.
Now with a new afterword addressing changes in the media industry, audience participation, and political reporting, and drawing on modern examples from online activism campaigns, film, music, television, advertising, and social media—from both the U.S. and around the world—the authors illustrate the contours of our current media environment. For all of us who actively create and share content, Spreadable Media provides a clear understanding of how people are spreading ideas and the implications these activities have for business, politics, and everyday life, both on- and offline.
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