Transmedia for Social Change

Transmedia for Social Change

Is it possible for fan participation to have real life consequences? Is transmedia destined to be “only” entertainment and marketing, or is it possible to apply it towards other objectives? What are your thought’s on these questions? Go to the comments section to give us your suggestions and vote up your favorites! (BTW, you can log right in with your Twitter account)


Transmedia for Social Change

Friday, November 20 – E25-111

This panel will broaden the discussion of transmedia properties to areas beyond the commercial or promotional. What are the potentials for transmedia to be used to affect social change? What parallels can we draw between the activities fan communities and other sites of collective activity? How does participation in the collectives that emerge around transmedia properties equip young people with skills as citizens? What responsibilities should corporations bear, if any, as they try to court fan communities and deep engagement?

This panel will also consider the cross-over between the forms of collective activity that mark participation in transmedia narratives and other forms of collective activities that harness entertainment media for social good. Fan communities are increasingly aware of their power as social networks. With the ability to mobilize (often) large and passionate groups of people quickly in response to actions that threaten their values and practices, fan communities constitute collective bargaining units acting on the behalf of consumers. These communities may deploy this power to try to protect a favorite program from cancellation (thus working hand and hand with the interests of producers); they may deploy it to challenge a decision they feel hurts the integrity of the franchise (thus pushing back against a producer’s perceived interests); or to resist cease and desist letters which threaten their activities. How do buy-cotts, the tactical deployment of consumption that has emerged as a key strategies for fans to have their voices heard, resemble other forms of consumer activism?

Increasingly, fan communities are also deploying their social networks to try and bring about political and cultural change, resulting in an emerging form of activism which may impact on public policy or social welfare concerns. In truth, may young people may be learning skills through their involvement in these communities which will be deployed more broadly in their roles as citizens. Indeed there is very little difference in the steps a fan group might take to defend its interest and those that activists might take to attract, train, and mobilize a network for social change.

Moderator: Henry Jenkins – Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, USC

Panelists: Stephen Duncombe – NYU, author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in the Age of Fantasy (The New Press); Andrew SlackThe Harry Potter Alliance; Noessa Higa Visionaire Media; Lorraine Sammy – Co-creator Racebending; Jedidiah Jenkins-Director of Public & Media Relations, Invisible Children

Photo Credit: / CC BY 2.0

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