Negotiation, Participation and Video Games – Portfolio 4
In this essay I will be analysing Henry Jenkins 'Interactive audiences? The collective intelligence on media fans'. Jenkins main influence is Pierre Levy, whose opinions centred on technology, especially in regards to the political and cultural aspects of these new media developments. Jenkins gives a differing view than that of Michael de curteau, who he believes is not currently applicable to today's popular culture. He focusses on more up-to-date, relevant theories on fan studies of today, with a key term being of 'collective intelligence'. Jenkins sees fandom as being mainly political, as this gives consumers the ability to be the ‘active spectator'. Being an active spectator acts as transformation in the political realm, as this gives consumers the power to influence and change production within the media.
Firstly, the main concept Jenkins discusses is that of ...view middle of the document...
On another note, Jenkins explains that prior to the popularity of networked computers, fandom was already very active, as there were 'imagined communities'. Fans of science fiction communicated through the postal service by sending letters and publications out through the mail. Conventions were organised, events would be held once a year or so, therefore face to face communication were very infrequent. This all transformed once networked computers and the Internet happened, as these developments hugely altered fandoms as it removed previous geographical barriers, instead of ‘snail mail’, fans could instantaneously communicate with other fans. This frequent communication enabled strong bonds with others to be maintained. Also, with the increased speed and timeliness this gives the audience more power as they can act a quickly to give feedback on developments with their beloved shows. Due to online developments, companies also changed production from printing things, to mainly through the web. These knowledge cultures are being recognized by the media franchises, so participation from these fans are being included in the production process as they realise the immense value that they provide.
I agree with Jenkins theories, as fandom and the change of communication technology has politically altered the media, by giving us, the 'active spectator' power. Instead of the media companies having domination to tell us, the spectators what to think this rise of the knowledge cultures and the internet has given the audience influence and power to participate in the production of some media. The people that watch the shows, the fans have therefore gained power. An example is Xena warrior princess, where the fans wanted to believe that Xena and Gabrielle were in a lesbian relationship so the producers started to script subtle things into the show, in order to please their fans. In conclusion, Jenkins theories I feel are applicable to today and show just how we as audiences are becoming interactive with the media companies. All of this drives us to become a culture that participates and interacts with the media.