NBC’s Greendale Community College

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    With technologies available today, the modern day storyteller can construct a complex world for their characters stretching across multiple platforms of media. This “transmedia storytelling” concept gives fans of franchises a rich view into media creator’s fictional worlds. Almost every media franchise today is trying to branch out so that they can be consumed in various ways, particularly with content online. Not immune from this trend is NBC’s hit comedy show Community, which features the hijinx of adult students at a community college. NBC has created a website for the show, www.greendalecommunitycollege.com, which appears almost identical to any community college and serves as a multi-purpose resource for fans of the show.

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       “Admissions” Tab gives the reader a closer feeling to the world with automatic acceptance to the fictitious community college.

  The website is put together very well and someone who was sent a link to the website and not aware of the show could very easily believe they are looking at a website for a random community college, regardless of all the NBC plugs. The authors of the website constructed the website for the comedy series as authentically as possible to the layout of a legitimate college website for a reason. As Henry Jenkins states in his article Transmedia Storytelling 101, “The extension may add a greater sense of realism to the fiction as a whole.” The characters of the show feel more real to the fans, with both the administration and the main students on the show having their own online profiles. The website makes fans of the show feel like they are looking into the lives of real people, even though the characters are actors and the college is fictitious. The homepage of the site features an Events tab with events coordinating to the actual time of year such as, “Dean Pelton’s office has started a petition to support a St. Patrick’s Day school dance. If you’re interested in signing, please stop by his office.” The fact that the events of the community college are similar to what’s currently on the websites of hundreds of colleges across the country creates the illusion that the events of the show are actually going on somewhere.

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        Realistic events at the college correlating with current spot on the calendar.

    The website www.greendalecommunitycollege.com is an excellent example of “hypertext fiction” which is said by Janet Murray to be, “… a set of documents of any kind (images, texts, charts, tables, video clips) connected to one another by links.”(55). The homepage of the site features as a hub for this hypertext fiction, which users can click on multiple tabs on the toolbar and be sent to various pieces of fiction for the show which serve to make the show more realistic and to promote the various characters. Janet Murray also states that “Stories written in hypertext generally have more than one entry point, many internal branches, and no clear ending.” (56). A user can read any of the various pages of the website and not feel like they’re missing out on anything. There is no start or end to the website, it simply features as a hub of hypertext fiction for the fans.

Work Cited

  Murray, Janet Horowitz. “Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: Free, 1997. 53. Print.

 Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html&gt;.

 

 

American Horror Story

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 The Wikipedia article I analyzed was for the television show American Horror Story. Not only is this one of my favorite television shows, the show is relevant and pertains to my generation, who are supposed to be on the forefront of the new-age form of collective intelligence.

  One can see this television show is pertinent to both American culture and the internet from one glance at the article’s edit history. The article is edited, or attempted to be edited, almost everyday by various users. Even though Season 3 just recently ended, a lot of the the editing going on recently is about Season 4, allegedly said to be airing sometime between 2014-2015. This shows that fans of the show aren’t satisfied with solely covering what has already happened on the show within the Wikipedia article, they are already itching for something more to talk about. A user named CAWylie seems to be one of the self-selected leaders of the edit history, scolding those trying to include speculation for the future of the series.

   A lot of the editing going on for the American Horror Story article pertains to giving fair credit to those who worked on the television show. Who was considered a guest star versus a recurring role of the series is an example of this. Also, CAWylie removed an edit recently due to “unneeded disambiguation. Levine has done the music for every episode.” With the series on FX turning into such a successful hit, its no surprise that the fans of the show want to give recognition to the hardworking people who helped make such a show possible.

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   The first thing that struck me when I looked at the edit history for this Wikipedia article were the amounts of edits being removed by an authoritative user due to “possible vandalism” by some unknown IP address. Going back through the months of edit history, a majority of the edits on the page are these possible vandalism, and the first thing I asked myself is why? Are internet users attempting to sabotage the page just because it is a popular show right now? Or are people trying to show dis contempt with the possibly controversial dark themes and violence of the show by serving as cultural vigilantes? I think these are good questions to ask and my personal opinion is that it is probably both. As Henry Jenkins states in this week’s reading, “This playful relationship to learning and knowledge is one of the things that motivates the community’s participation.” It is clear that fans of the show are motivated to keep the page vandalism free, as these attempts to defile the page are taken down quite frequently. Jenkins claims that “Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy training from individual expression onto community involvement…” The community for American Horror Story seems to be a very involved one, and doesn’t seem likely to go away anywhere in the near future.

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Bibliography

 

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Tell Us About The New Media Literacies (Part One).” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 26 June 2007. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html&gt; (Part Two): <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab_1.html&gt;

“American Horror Story” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. WikiMedia Foundation, Inc. 12 February 2014. Web. 15 February 2014