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Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture (Postmillennial Pop) Hardcover – January 21, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: Postmillennial Pop
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (January 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814743501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814743508
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The best analysis to date of the radically new nature of digital social media as a communication channel. Its insights, based on a deep knowledge of the technology and culture embedded in the digital networks of communication, will reshape our understanding of cultural change for years to come."-Manuel Castells,Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society, University of Southern California

“Something new is emerging from the collision of traditional entertainment media, Internet-empowered fan cultures, and the norms of sharing that are encouraged and amplified by social media. Spreadable Media is a compelling guide, both entertaining and rigorous, to the new norms, cultures, enterprises, and social phenomena that networked culture is making possible. Read it to understand what your kids are doing, where Hollywood is going, and how online social networks spread cultural productions as a new form of sociality.”-Howard Rheingold,author of Net Smart

“Finally, a way of framing modern media creation and consumption that actually reflects reality and allows us to talk about it in a way that makes sense. It's a spreadable world and we are ALL part of it. Useful for anyone who makes media, analyzes it, consumes it, markets it or breathes.”-Jane Espenson,writer-producer of Battlestar Galactica, Once Upon a Time, and Husbands

"In Spreadable Media, media theorist Henry Jenkins, formerly of MIT and now at USC, and his coauthors, digital strategists Sam Ford and Joshua Green, make a convincing case that fan involvement in the re-creation and circulation of media content is not just an interesting side effect of man-to-many multimedia networks and smartphone video editing apps, but a significant force for empowerment and exploitation in and of itself...If you are in the music, move, television, or game business, this book is a must read."-Strategy and Business

"It's about time a group of thinkers put the marketing evangelists of the day out to pasture with a thorough look at what makes content move from consumer to consumer, marketer to consumer and consumer to marketer. Instead of latching on to the notion that you can create viral content, Jenkins, Ford, and Green question the assumptions, test theories and call us all to task. Spreadable Media pushes our thinking. As a result, we'll become smarter marketers. Why wouldn't you read this book?"-Jason Falls,CEO of Social Media Explorer and co-author of No Bullshit Social Media

"Solid analysis and detailed examples to make it sticky enough for the intended readerships of media scholars, media professionals, and fans."-International Journal of Communication

"A wide-ranging examination of the contemporary media environment as individuals increasingly control their own creation of content."-Kirkus

"Content today, the authors suggest, can travel not only from the top down but also from the inside out. It is a remarkably different terrain than what we have been used to, one they effectively and stridently analyze."- Publishers Weekly

"Spreadable Media is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand how media works today."-Deep Media

“By critically interrogating the ways in which media artifacts circulate, Spreadable Media challenges the popular notion that digital content magically goes ‘viral.’ This book brilliantly describes the dynamics that underpin people's engagement with social media in ways that are both theoretically rich and publicly meaningful.”-Danah Boyd,Microsoft Research

About the Author

Henry Jenkins is Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education at USC. He is author of five books, most recently Convergence Culture (2008), Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers (2006), The Wow Climax (2006), all available from NYU Press, and is co-author or editor of eight other books on media and communication.

Sam Ford is Director of Digital Strategy with Peppercomm Strategic Communications, an affiliate with the MIT Program in Comparative Media Studies and the Western Kentucky University Popular Culture Studies Program, and a regular contributor to Fast Company. He is co-editor of The Survival of the Soap Opera (2011).

Joshua Green is a Strategist at digital strategy firm Undercurrent. With a PhD in Media Studies, he has managed research projects at MIT and the University of California. He is author (with Jean Burgess) of YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (2009, Polity Press).

Customer Reviews

I really liked the subject matter and it was an easy read.
Christina Olivero
Well documented in empirical cases and media releases, this book reveals great research talent, critical balance, very good theorizing insight, and future vision.
Pedro Demo
I like the way that they characterize online `influence' as a meritocracy -- and that to some degree we're all capable of becoming taste-makers of good content.
David H. Deans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tom Sales on February 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a little bizarre that a popular (at least according to Amazon sales figures) book about passing along media or commentary has gone over a month without having a review posted. I think it's because this is an ingenious, yet jam-packed book that looks at online participation and the sharing of information from a unique perspective that just plain forces you to think. This is not a quick read.

While there are plenty of social media books out that look at the "new phenomenon" of sharing as an organizational strategy or as platforms of tools as compelling new ways to share, the authors of "Spreadable Media" look more at the material itself that is or isn't being shared. What characteristics of materials make people want to spread them? What's in it for the sharer? When people read, hear or watch something that makes them want to circulate it, what triggers that decision? The authors point out there's nothing really new about this motivation. The passing down of keepsakes, family heirlooms, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, family trees, etc. has gone on for generations. First the photocopier and now social media platforms have just made it easier and almost instantaneous.

The main focus of the book is on the broadcast, mass-media business model of "stickiness" of content vs. the parallel concept of "spreadability." It's becoming increasingly apparent that if media doesn't spread today, it's dead--like a film/song/book/work of art/best practice no one sees/hears/reads/studies/tries. So while there's a loss of control in allowing your audience to manipulate and pass along one's creative effort, there's also an expanded opportunity that it will uncover new audiences and be more widely acclaimed than if you protect it and threaten users for "stealing it.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, I want to commend Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green on their 46-page Introduction that, all by itself, is worth more than the cost of the book while "setting the table" for an even more substantial feast of information, insights, and counsel in the seven chapters that follow.

As they explain, their book "examines the emerging hybrid model of [content] circulation, where a mix of top-down and bottom-up forces determine how material is shared across and among cultures in far more participatory (and messier) ways...This shift from distribution to circulation signals a movement toward a more participatory model of culture, one which sees the public not as simply consumer of preconstructed messages [e.g. book reviews of this book] but as people who are shaping, sharing, reframing, and remixing media content in ways which might not have been previously imagined."

In this context, I am reminded of Henry Chesbrough and the open business model for which he is so widely and justifiably renowned. As he explains in Open Innovation (2005), "An open business model uses this new division of innovation labor - both in the creation of value and in the capture of a portion of that value. Open models create value by leveraging many more ideas, due to their inclusion of a variety of external concepts. Open models can also enable greater value capture, by using a key asset, resource, or position not only in the company's own business model but also in other companies businesses."

In their book, Jenkins, Ford, and Green focus on the "social logics and practices that have enabled and popularized [social media's] new platforms, logics that explain [begin italics] why [end italics] sharing has become such a common practice, not just [begin italics] how [end italics].
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By iain on July 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For Media Studies teachers in particular, this book will not disappoint. A wealth of useful new reception theory for you to digest and introduce into your lessons. Also a must for digital literacy, media literacy people with whole school roles too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David H. Deans on November 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read this book through the lens of a content marketing practitioner that was curious what new insight Henry Jenkins and his co-authors would add to the information and guidance that's already available on this topic -- both online and in other books.

The authors believe that "if it doesn't spread, it's dead." To me, that's an oversimplified explanation of today's environment. Also, most of their case studies are from the American entertainment industry. In contrast, I'm more interested in how these `spreadable media' scenarios apply to commercial (corporate brand) storytelling.

What's their primary focal point? The author's acknowledgement of the "participatory culture" of the Internet is a reoccuring theme throughout the book. Likewise, they remind us how the leadership of Big Media corporations have historically misunderstood or intentionally resisted this phenomena -- often at their own peril.

Moreover, while the basic concept of sharing and syndication is not new, those people who do much of the `social' sharing today are not sanctioned or encouraged by the content creator. To some people within the media industry, that's very unsettling. But the authors present a somewhat optimistic outlook -- believing that those fears will dissipate over time.

At the offset they're actually quite hopeful that socioeconomic advancement is likely, as a result of these progressive changes to the status quo. They say "The growth of networked communication, especially when coupled with the practices of participatory culture, provides a range of new resources and facilitates new interventions for a variety of groups who have long struggled to have their voices heard.
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