Don’t Stop A Meme’in

I want to talk about this weeks seminar because it actually somethings that I wasn’t expecting despite being part of the group leading the seminar and debates. One of the features of the presentation was ‘Make Your Meme’ in which the class were given the original image from popular memes and asked to create their own meme by giving it context. We thought this task would be relaxed and fun for the group but it actually proved that making a meme is a difficult job – especially trying to make a meme that is actually funny! This lead to the debate of ‘are memes actually funny’? Personally I don’t get memes at all, but they are this huge internet phenomenon and places like Facebook and Tumblr are flooded with them.

So what is the attraction? An answer we came up with is that it is very much to do with, firstly the structure, and secondly the context of the meme. By structure, we mean the elements that make up the meme such as repetition and lyricality. In truth it all comes down to semiotics, as is the same for all media products, and looking at the signs and symbol that are used to construct a meme that make them so appealing to this generation. On the other there is the context in which the meme is used. A lot of popular memes work because they are relatable such as being about student life. Sometimes they only work within a friendship group and their situation but to show it to someone outside of that clique, they wouldn’t get it or understand why it is ‘funny’.

Another thing that came up in seminar debate was a discussion about whether it is the words and text that are important to a meme working, or the image. To be honest, I think it is the text that is most important but the image gives it a relatable visual so that people understand the context in which the text is being stated. Memes are very much an internet sensation and we discovered today that they really aren’t that funny when you show them to a group of people publicly yet when scrolling though our online feed we would have an “LOL” moment.

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‘A party game for horrible people’

In the last few years the card game Cards Against Humanity has blown up and it seems that everyone is playing it. Created by some high school alumni students, this is a game to be taken lightly with it’s mature-content and vulgar pairings. If you’re easily offended it is best to avoid.

In terms of copyright, Cards Against Humanity currently falls under the Creative Commons license meaning that it is free to download or play online, however it can be bought as a physical pack of cards. Online though, players can also create their own pack of cards to download and print to play with or simply download the ready made cards from the creators. Either way, there’s no fee to pay!

But what if Cards Against Humanity was put under strict copyright control? Well, I reckon that many of the players would desert the game online. One of the attractions of playing the game online is that it is free and you can play with all your friends. If there was fee to be paid to play then the player numbers would significantly decrease because many aren’t that dedicated a player… such as myself. I like the odd game but if there was a fee to pay? I wouldn’t bother. Strict copyright would also create complications in regards to the ‘Make Your Own’ attraction of the game because players wouldn’t have the luxury they have now in contributing to the content of individual games.

That said there are advantages for the creators if it went under strict copyright control such as more money for them and the complete rights to their content. Ultimately though I feel the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of strict copyright control for Cards Against Humanity.

Now you see me…

When I type my name into Google, my work is the first thing to show up. From my old showreel, to a documentary, to my television research blog, you can find me immediately. I have quite a unique name so it’s not hard to find me on social media either. In fact, I’m the only Jaye Dundas to show up in the Facebook friend search. However, this is something that made me feel rather vulnerable online and encouraged me to do something about most of my social platforms. For example, I use unidentifiable usernames for Twitter, Instagram and Snapchap now so that only people who ask me directly how to find me can. But all of my information that I’ve chosen to share online is public. If it’s going to go online, it’s being made public anyway, regardless of how many privacy settings you choose to set. Once the information is online, it is more or less out of our hands because there are many (like the government or Google) who have access to it, even if you take it down or set it to private.

That said, I believe we do have a certain amount of control about our privacy online, in that we have control over what we share in the first place! It is a running gag that people over-share online but it is a dark truth because we really do share all manner of details about ourselves and then have the audacity to complain that nothing is private any more. Quite the contradiction we are posing.

Jaye Dundas

Goodreads

“Hi, my name is Jaye and I’m a book addict.”

Ok, so this isn’t a self help website but it Goodreads.com is a website and online community dedicated to book lovers where they can explore the wide range of books in the world and share the books that they have read and their reviews. This is a wonderful website in that it is full of positivity and everyone has one primary thing in common – they all love books! Goodreads has a number of different aspects to its websites such as:

  • find friends
  • reading challenge
  • favourite genres
  • view recommendations
  •  share reviews
  • chat
  • find new books
  • rate books
  • polls
  • quote of the day

The website is a fantastic concept but one of the greatest benefits of the community is the sense of being somewhere safe and happy surrounded by people who love books as much as yourself. Those same people will give you honest opinions about the books they’ve read, offer you personal recommendations and never judge your reading choices, instead you’ll find others who enjoy the same books as you and make new ‘friends’. However, there are limitations to the online community as it doesn’t offer the opportunity to get to know people in the same way that Facebook and other online communities offer.

Book lovers, I highly recommend this site, and actually it’s great for also finding recommendations for academic books too!

Jaye Dundas

Fanfiction

The term ‘fanfiction’ refers to the stories that are created by fans of another story. Audiences take a much loved story or world, such as the Marvel universe, and create an alternative reality for it and the characters. Sometimes this is an expansion of the story that has already been told, what happens next, the history behind the story, or an alternative to certain parts of story in a question of ‘what if?’ Fanfiction always comes with a disclaimer to say that the world and the characters do not belong to them, they simply have an idea that they want to share with other fans. Often these fanfic’s are referred to as ‘headcannons’ – theories that may or may not be true but are welcomed by the fans because they want the information and it’s fun to imagine ‘what if’.

There is a LOT of fanfiction on the internet, ranging from those reflective of the original stories to others that are much more explicit. I have found an article that features links to six different Harry Potter fanfics, all of which open up a new perspective or expansion of the much loved story of the boy wizard.

Harry Potter Fanfic

I’m also including an article that discusses what it means to fanfiction author written by a fanfic author. 13 Things Fan Fic Writers Are Tired of Explaining is a great read as the author explains why they write fanfictions. People write fanfics for many reasons – creativity, confidence, satisfaction, entertainment – but one thing I’ve noticed is that it is always out of admiration for the original creator and stories. They are not trying to copy anyone. This is why their participation is so significant because they simply want to continue this world that they’ve grown to love. It is the fans that keep the stories and the media alive.

 

Jaye Dundas

“It’s bigger on the inside”

This week I am going to give you an example within an example. My example is transmedia storytelling and the example within is BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who. Transmedia storytelling is a convergence that does not simply adapt the content for multiple platforms but rather tells a story over multiple platforms, by producing new and relevant content for each platform but telling the one story. Doctor Who is a fine example of this convergence. The Who universe is vast and various but it all revolves around one character and his time machine. There has been unofficial brand extensions for Doctor Who since the 1960’s, but after 16 years off-air the 2005 reboot allowed for expansion of the Who universe by using the internet, books, podcasts and more. The transmedia format that came with the new series includes websites set within the Doctor Who world, podcast commentaries, short online episodes that often act as prequels, sequels and fillers for the television broadcast episodes, novels and comics, and more recently audio episodes produced by Big Finish Productions.

It may seem like this is just an example of an over-excited fandom, but actually transmedia storytelling means big things for both the media industry and for audiences. The power to create an expanded universe for a pre-existing story means more business for the media, more money for the industry, more jobs for workers, and brand extension for the product. By expanding the product over multiple platforms it also strengthens fan engagement and allows them to get more involved in the fictional worlds they love by providing more complex narratives and interactions with the content. As yet there is no media franchise to have gone wholly transmedia-orientated but never say never.

Jaye Dundas

Social Media is changing your brain

I came across a video on YouTube from the channel AsapSCIENCE called, ‘5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now‘. The video looks at the scientific side of social media and internet society, and how it affects our brain. In the video they compare internet usage to addiction, though highlight that it is a psychological addiction as opposed to a substance addiction, but the cognitive impairments as a result of each are actually incredibly similar. Both social media and drugs give you an immediate high without very much effort, and ‘you begin to crave more of this neurological stimulation after each interaction’. The amount of time spent on the internet has actually resulted in several new mental disorders and syndromes such as Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) and Phantom Vibration Syndrome which the video creators describe as a new ‘psychological phenomenon’. Phantom Vibration Syndrome is when you think you felt your phone vibrate but it didn’t, and it’s something that most of us have experienced. Why? Because technology is actually beginning to rewire our nervous system (scientifically proven). You can read more about the syndrome in undergraduates (like us!) here.

I don’t think many of us really consider the impact that technology has on us or our brains, I know I certainly don’t. How many hours do we all spend on the internet a day? Has everyone experienced Phantom Vibration Syndrome, or perhaps found that they are easily distracted because of what they might be missing online?

*The description box of the video has links to scientific journals and research about each of the ‘5 Crazy Ways’ discussed in the video. Really interesting reads!