Glee, Twitter, and the Future of Television

Transmedia storytelling is the method of conveying a narrative across multiple media platforms simultaneously and harmoniously. This technique was pioneered in the 70’s and 80’s, but increased as the internet became more mainstream (Wikipedia). A modern example of this is the television series Glee. The programming encourages it’s viewers to participate with the show through social media. Mobile games have even been created for further engagement in various series.

I have experienced some of this growing transmedia storytelling trend. Whenever Manchester United, my favorite English soccer team, has a match I am unable to view through a live broadcast I can follow the game’s “hashtag” on Twitter. This allows me to see what people are saying about the most recent action along with photos and videos others post.

This sort of viewer engagement encourages loyalty and involvement in the “live” action of the programming. As a broadcaster, this strategy would be a no-brainer.

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College Football and Social Influence

Radio: On AirIn the article “Radio Sports Talk and the Fantasies of Sport,” Zagacki & Grano examine how community relations have been massively fostered around talk radio (political, sports, celebrity gossip, etc.) to foster regional pride and help them cope in times of crisis. Communities need a platform to express their emotions and reactions to current events, both the good and bad. In their article, they explore the rhetorical analysis of radio talk shows in the college football town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana that exemplify the theory of increased community through focused engagement.

On the other end of the spectrum, radio has also been plagued by the glamorization of violence. Some radio stations propagate lewd and dangerous behavior as regular content on their programming. The video segment “ABC News: Hip Hop and Violence” exposed this in the music industry genre of hip hop. Unfortunately, this sort of regular discussion targets underprivileged youth who are easily hyped up by the strong illicit messaging from hip hop artists the see as role models.

Because the internet has allowed any Joe Nobody to create and “broadcast” their own messages, it will become increasingly difficult to regulate what content is being distributed. This is good and bad news. It’s good because more individuals will be able to foster that regional support communities need. They can provide a platform for people like those in Baton Rouge to uplift and encourage one another. It’s bad because the same can be done to promote negative messages that can destroy individuals and communities.

Mass Communication Trends

My mass communication consumption and habits are fairly consistent with that of a high school teeny bopper. Although I don’t frequent Snapchat and rarely “reshare” meaningless content, I am addicted to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I visit those mass communication platforms more regularly than a person probably ought to for personal leisure. I enjoy the platform provided by Vimeo and YouTube, but I don’t utilize them as frequently as I feel I should to disseminate my own content.

Mass communication has changed the very way I interact in everyday life. I used to exclusively be a consumer of media. Over the past few years, nearly every mass communication platform has evolved to allow end users to become greater contributors and not just consumers. This is something I’ve enjoyed in my personal use of those advancements.

I’m studying communication for my undergraduate degree. mass communication is a part of the essential classes I need to take. However, I’m not just trapped in this course. Understanding communication on all levels is something I enjoy pursuing. I’m a middle manager at a small disaster restoration company and have my own small photo booth company on the side. Both of which allow me to practice/improve my array of communication skills, including the use of mass communication platforms.

Update June 28, 2014 8:20PM: After reading a peer’s post on this topic, I had a response that I thought would be worth sharing here.

Having too much information at our finger tips and becoming distracted is a very real struggle. Even as I type this, I’m getting notifications left and right tempting me to respond. It reminds me of a video I was recently shown.

Is this “overload” of information at such an extreme that it is literally damaging to humanity? Or is this possibly just another phase of the evolutionary cycle that we have yet to come to terms with? Think about it, we say now that there was once a time when you had to actually pick up the phone to get in touch with a friend or family member. People of that generation abhor our generations quick messaging and check ins. But go back even further and you might find a time when people would be disgusted with the “ease” of just picking up a phone. They might say, “Back in my day, if I wanted to speak with Odysseus, I had to procure a ship that could travel across the great sea and then travel the 400 miles inland by foot.” Was the invention of the phone such a bad thing to have happen? Maybe our current method of communication and mass communication will be looked at as inconvenient 50 years from now when our clones and sending holographic messages to us through telepathy.