Halo and the Structures of Transmediation

             Transmediation is a technique that uses multiple forms of media, known as platforms, as a way to tell a unified storyline. This is a technique typically executed through new media. Transmedia is composed of several essential structures that serve to define it. The Halo Canon uses transmediation as a way to build the Halo universe. A canon is a collection of texts that are produced by one author and recognized as genuinely that authors vision. World building is something the creators of Halo have heavily used in order to let fans dive into the halo universe head on. World building is when an author releases stories through different medias in order to explain and create a complete story for fans to consume. The Halo Canon feeds off this particular structure. Bungie and Microsoft, Halo’s creators, have released several books alongside the primary texts. (video games) They did this in order to open fans to more storyline between games, as well as introduce more characters and places within the fictional space.Image

 

The cover even says, “The official prequel to the award-winning Xbox game!”. The books while serving the purpose of world building also simultaneously serve as contributors to additive comprehension. Additive comprehension is another transmedia technique where a text serves as a addition to the understanding of the narrative. This particular book serves as a prequel to the first Halo game which is the original text, thus enhancing the original narrative, Halo: Combat Evolved. Henry Jenkins attempts to define several of the characteristics of transmedia storytelling in his blog titled, “Transmedia Storytelling 101”. He defines additive comprehension in the same fashion and comments on the necessity of the function that additive story telling serves. The Halo creators have brilliantly created additive comprehension even within their video game series which is considered the primary texts in the canon. An example of this is the 5th video game installment, Halo 3 ODST. ImageImage

This game served to tell more events that occurred during the game Halo 3 but through a different perspective. This game was released two years after the first Halo 3 game was released. A brilliant move by Microsoft in my opinion. The Halo franchise is a perfect example of relatively small scale transmedia storytelling. This is one of the many reasons why thousands of people and I love the Halo canon.

References:

http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html

https://fms110spring2014.wordpress.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_(series)#Books

Wikipedia Page on Graceland (album)

I remember being in high school and trying to do a report over Rivers Cuomo. His Wikipedia page was a great source for me and so I used it for my report. My teacher did not have the same sentiment as me. She expressed ideas that are very similar to those discussed in Henry Jenkins’ article titled “What Wikipedia Teaches Us About New Media Literacies”. He analyzes the purposes of Wikipedia and with his lecture in mind, I looked at the Wikipedia page for Graceland, the album by Paul Simon. This page discusses the awards won by the album, those credited, some album background and the track listing, but is not a scholarly source or an unflawed source because of the concept of collective intelligence.

Having reviewed the information present on the Wikipedia page, I feel that the viewers are not getting the full picture of the album. The background information on the album does touch on his failure with the album Hearts and Bones and his peaked interest in the Boyoyo Boys, but does not discuss the trouble he encountered and how crazy people thought he was for wanting to go to Africa and search out their best musicians to feature on the album. Also, I feel as though the reader is limited because Wikipedia is not capable of providing information and a link to the Boyoyo Boys, which was a trigger for the entire album.

Boyoyo Boys   Wikipedia  the free encyclopedia

Now the question of whether or not this Wikipedia page represents the idea of collective intelligence arises. Jenkins defines collective intelligence as “the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal”. I analyzed the history of edits to find that 580 revisions have occurred on the page from mostly everyday users, which exemplifies collective intelligence. 

Graph of revisions         

In the article I found issues that have occurred on the page based on it’s ability to pool knowledge from everyday people. Things throughout the history were labeled red, which stands for a deletion. This really helps to understand why some teachers and educators may “worry that youth aren’t developing an appropriate level of skepticism about the kinds of information found on this particular site” (Jenkins). If Wikipedia has to worry about deleting certain edits, than it is good to be weary of what may be a falsity on a Wikipedia page.

User Fritz Saalfeld   Wikipedia  the free encyclopedia

This one stood out to me. This edit was deleted based on the fact that the username and profile of this editor could not be traced. Had I been reading this page before the users edit was removed, I would have been presented with potentially misleading information about the album.

Overall, Wikipedia is an educational source and a good example of the idea of collective intelligence, but it is a common space for knowledge and, due to this, needs to sometimes be taken with a grain of salt or used as a starting point for research on a topic.

 

Works Cited:

“Graceland(album)”.Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 13 February 2014.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graceland_(album)

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (Part one)”.  Web log post. Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 27 June 2007. Web. 13 February 2014.

Myspace

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Myspace was founded in 2003 and became the most visited social networking site in the world from 2005 until 2008. It was one of the first and only sites like it, where people were allowed to customize their page and pick their music, along with keeping up with social networking. It was the thing to have or you weren’t considered “cool”. In late 2008 Facebook took over as the main social networking site. Since then the number of Myspace users have declined steadily in spite of several redesigns. Myspace today is run by Justin Timberlake and its main feature is a streaming music player where users can queue songs and make their own playlists. The classic Myspace has completely been deleted so the old Myspace that everyone knew and used is gone. This “new Myspace” has radically changed it’s intention and focus from what it once was.

 

When Myspace first got popular, everyone had to have one. I remember my friends kept pushing me to get one even though I did not want to. It was the trend back then. Parents didn’t trust it and teens loved it. Myspace had people going through the 4 stages of amazement when it was launched. According to Onian, the 4 stages are

  1. A striking visual or aural experience.

    Everyone was amazed at how much customization could go into each individual page. Users were allowed to change anything at a drop of a hat from their pictures, wallpaper, layout to who their top 10 friends were.

  2. Physical Paralysis

    Users were extremely shocked at everything Myspace offered.

  3. A mental reaction leading to learning.

    I remember going on all my friends Myspace pages and seeing how different every single one was. There were infinite things to learn about it. The one thing everyone picked up was changing their layout and their background. This taught basic html and CSS, something most people would not even consider thinking about. This amazement made users want to learn how to customize everything about their page.

  4. A new action (Gunning, 41).

    Myspace became the way of life. It was the main form of talking to friends after school, sharing photos, and showing people how much friends or comments you had. It was always open and users were constantly on it. We accepted this “new technology as second nature” (Gunning, 40).

 

As years went on Myspace dropped in popularity as Facebook came into play. To combat this, owners of Myspace tried to redesign. They aimed to de-familiarize ,“make it strange” (Gunning, 45) users with the interface to renew wonder in people. Myspace was trying to “[refashion] discourse away from the automatic so that the familiar becomes strange and can be rediscovered in its sensual specificity and vividness” (Gunning, 45). To my knowledge this has not worked. Through the many redesigns, Myspace still remains a distant memory. I have not heard anyone bring up Myspace unless it is to reminisce. Myspace has become this uncanny platform. It used to be all about social networking but now it is about music and sharing and listening to music-which there are multiple other more popular ways to stream and share music. It has become so different and unfamiliar and only time will tell if greater and constant exposure will overcome the idea that everyone has of Myspace and how it is not relevant anymore. 

 

Works Cited:

Gunning, Tom. (2003) “Re-Newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, SecondNature, and the Uncanny in Technology from the Previous Turn-of the Century”. In D. Thorburn and H. Jenkins (eds), Rethinking Media Change:The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp 39-60.

 

Reddit

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If one were to ask a college student if they know of Reddit, the most common answer would be yes. reddit is a very unique website when it comes to online forums. It was founded by two 22 year old graduates from University of Virginia in June of 2005(The History of Reddit). Reddit users, also known as redditors, flock to reddit to be up to date on news and topics currently trending. The idea of reddit is that any user can submit an entry under certain “subreddits”, which are subsections of reddit where anything can be found, ranging from cute animals to horrific pictures. Now you may be thinking, what is the big deal about this reddit website? What makes reddit so extraordinary is that it is an anonymous forum of social media that is direct at the general population. It allows one to be themselves and not worry about what their peers would think. Accounts can also be created in a matter of seconds, and the website is very easy to navigate which draws lots of users in. Interestingly, many of these ideas can be linked to Tom Gunnings article “Re-Newing Old Technologies.”

In Tom Gunnings article, he states “Astonishment is inherently an unstable and temporary experience. One finds it difficult to be continually astonished by the same thing”(Gunning). Unlike Instagram where photos and videos can only be posted, reddit is filled with anything you can think of on the internet. Based on the subreddits you visit, you look at anything you want. This is very important in our generation because we are known as the “We Generation”, meaning we want certain things and have things personalized our way. There is always something new on reddit every day which leads one to believe that this website will thrive for a long amount of time. It also states in the article that “new technologies evoke not only a short-lived wonder based on unfamiliarity which greater and constant exposure will overcome, but also a possibly less dramatic but more enduring sense of the uncanny”(Gunning). This can be related to almost any activity. For example, a new game may be trending in the app store. The game may be the most fun game on your phone, but in the next week, it will be old and a new one will replace it. This seems to be a common occurring theme, showing in many social media sites like Myspace and Friendster. However, reddit is only growing in size and continues to impress me every day as more people join. It gives a new insight to other peoples lives, some you may even know personally.

Reddit can become very addicting, and it is apparent in the image of “What my parents think I do” in the meme. My friends constantly think it is making me more stupid, but I really am much more up to date on things going on in the news. Society tends to think of redditors as the common computer geek, seen in the picture above. Also, journalists have been caught using articles and even stealing comments word for word pertaining to a certain subject. Unfortunately, my girlfriends knows what kind of stuff can get posted on there like nude pictures, and I think the picture is pretty self explanatory. The last picture of what I really do seems to capture the whole idea of reddit. It is super engaging, and your identity is unknown which is symbolized by the guy wearing a ski mask over his face.

Citations

Vreeswijk, S.. N.p.. Web. 30 Jan 2014. <http://www.stikkymedia.com/blog/history-reddit&gt;.

Gunning, T. 2003. ‘Re-newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature and the Uncanny in Technology From the Previous Turn-of the-Century’, in Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H. (eds) Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press