Wednesday, November 6, 2013

When 2012 Went "Gangnam Style"

When comparing multimedia and transmedia, they all sound the same. Personally, it’s more like multimedia becomes a foundation of transmedia. If you breakdown the word multimedia, it literally means multiple forms of media (i.e. photo, audio recording, video, etc.). While, on the other hand, transmedia is the transformation of media into different forms (i.e. merchandising, movies, television, advertising, fanfiction).  As discussed in class, I mentioned that transmedia has more audience participation where the viewer can put a certain story into their own hands and perspective. And if chosen to be productive, the audience member(s) can choose to make their own transmedia story based on the original.
          As Asian entertainment seems to be a strong forte on the web, a good example would be 2012’s viral video – “Gangnam Style”. With a music video that was revealed to the world on YouTube on July 15, 2012 in South Korea to mark the comeback of rapper/singer Psy, the video managed to make the headlines worldwide. The catchy beat, the obnoxious dance moves, and the hyperactive singer basically bought the spotlight to Korean and Asian entertainment. From the month of July to the end of December, the song became a household name.
            Now, how is this transmedia? Well, since the song has become a household name worldwide, it has not only got into the heads of people, but also into their houses, televisions, books, and other electronic devices. Newspapers covered Psy as he made his way around the globe performing and guesting from show to show. While the online community, also or best known as netizens, were one step ahead of everyone by making parodies, reaction videos, or vlogs regarding the video. Not to mention merchandising the “Gangnam Style” trademark has become. From bobble heads, to t-shirts, phone apps, and even a pistachio commercial, the horse-riding South Korean became 2012’s storytelling moneymaker.
            Referring back to Henry Jenkins and his online post regarding children learning through transmedia titled “T is for Transmedia”, Erin Reilly of USC Annenberg Innovation Lab describes the “T” word as “different ways… to participate and create culture.” In the case of “Gangnam Style” and Psy, the whole viral video scene has become its own culture on the web. Where, through social media sharing, it grabs the attention of many. “They see that, this technology, this medium… is a representation of how they can actually share their voice in the culture,” (Reilly). Though Reilly refers to children, it makes no difference to how we tweens/teens/adults act online.

            Further into the blog post, Jenkins goes in depth into defining transmedia and adds that there are two sides of it – the storytelling could be executed real well or just plain bad. It is really up to the individual and the audience to make the judgement, put their input, their translation, and their perspective to create a voice for themselves. “Like any other kind of storytelling, transmedia is something which can be done well or badly. You can be attentive to the possibilities of expanding a story in new directions or you can simply slap a logo on something and pretend like it’s part of the same franchise. Transmedia can be enriching or exploitative, can be motivated by the crudest of economic motives or shaped by the most cutting edge learning science. But, when transmedia is done well, it creates a deeply engaging, immersive experience, which multiplies the number of learning opportunities."

"T is for Transmedia" by Henry Jenkins. March 11, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Lai,

    I love how you always incorporated Korean Pop Music in everything. (I really do. No one is really familiar with the subject and personally, I like learning about it!)

    Jenkins said that transmedia can be executed real well or just plain bad. In this case, I think transmedia storytelling did help popularize the song and expand its fan base, but in my personal opinion, it was so over-played... EVERYWHERE. I used to like it when it was released but now whenever I hear it, I get so annoyed.

    So yeah, Transmedia Storytelling definitely has its good and bad.