MIT’s Henry Jenkins

This morning I had the awesome opportunity to listen to MIT’s Dr. Henry Jenkins [WikiPedia bio] head of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program and Convergence Culture Consortium [blog] speak on the topics of Transmedia Entertainment, Fan Culture and Brand Extensions. He also touched upon participatory culture, convergence culture and experiential marketing. It was a fascinating open forum with folks both senior and junior at Turner and I’m just saddened that we didn’t have longer than the allotted 90 minutes.

Henry is doing numerous forums and brainstorming sessions on campus today all borne out of a white paper, Fanning the Audience’s Flames: 10 Ways to Embrace and Cultivate Fan Cultures, and accompanying PowerPoint presentation. It was such an open forum, I think we barely made it into the first dozen pages/slides. Great conversation and discussion and all.

Some of my jotted notes:

  • Hypersociality
  • Intent to view, time spent viewing, active participation/discussion and social interaction all influenced by whether or not a television show or game becomes a social experience.

  • Astroturf
  • Literally “artificial grassroots”. I’d never heard it so succinctly explained.

  • Convergence
  • Not so much a technological trend, but a cultural one. It’s really the flow of stories, ideas, information, community, brands and intellectual property across all media platforms.

    Having parts of the story or different iterations of the narrative in different media enhances the entire experience.

  • Disintermediation
  • Producers and creators going directly to fans, perhaps through iTunes/video iPods, instead of their normal distributor. Potentially, a cancelled show could then be marketed directly to fans, or first to fans before it makes the leap to network.

I’ve got some other notes on specific discussions and examples, but those are the key buzzwords I noted.

For more on Dr. Henry Jenkins:

So much of his work interests me that I’m truly upset that I couldn’t tag along to all of his discussions throughout the day. I’m definitely buying a few of his books now.

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