Tag Archives: social media

I had the most curious dream.

Now– before you start clicking away, this isn’t your usual recounting of some bemusingly vivid decoupage of pop culture and personal psychology that usually accompanies someone’s desire to tell you their dream.

It’s more about a certain tendency I’ve noticed within media studies. Something that started itching in the back of my brain when I was writing my thesis in 2008, and which emerged from my head fully formed a couple weeks ago during my MA exams.

In the dream I was browsing through a website that was participating in yesterday’s SOPA/PIPA blackout web protests. The website had left up most of its text articles but taken down most of its multimedia, such as embedded video, replacing them with a brief encyclopedic description of their function, development history, and appearance. Each format was given a Latin name with genus and species.

It was the perfect illustration of an argument I had made repeatedly in my MA exams, which is that we have a tendency to imagine all the various media -especially new media, but any time texts speak about media “in transition”- as on its way to becoming some particular thing, as if we know its destiny. On the contrary, history is full of examples of divergent yet coexisting media “species,” each adapted to the specific habitat in which it developed.

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Let’s Play: Interactivity by Proxy in a Web 2.0 Culture (Complete Series)

Photo credit: Sean Dreilinger

With the surprise interest in my series on Let’s Plays on PopMatters, I’ve revised this post to include links to the entire set and other resources of interest.

Part 1 – Vectors for Audience Engagement
Part 2 – Experts and Chroniclers
Part 3 – Comedians
Part 4 – Counter-Historiographers

Original paper – “Let’s Play Super Rutgers RPG: Interactivity by Proxy in an Online Gaming Culture” for Game Behind the Video Game, Rutgers School of Communications, April 9 2011.

Original conference slides

Hit the jump for notes and reflections and all that jazz.

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