Friday, July 8, 2016

Pokemon Go, Reddit and Spreadable Media

Anyone who doesn't live under a rock is very likely aware of the recent release of the mobile game Pokemon Go. Even those that do live under rocks have probably seen players poking around looking to find more Pokemon. The game was released on the app market just two days ago, and as the first official mobile Pokemon game, it's taken the world by storm. Players can be identified as the wandering/lost teenagers staring at their phones. However, that's not to say that there isn't a social aspect to Pokemon Go. As with many games, players have taken to the internet to discuss the latest Pokemon sensation.

A simple search for Pokemon Go on Reddit reveals a very active subreddit. The gaming community tends to be a very creative one when it comes to producing content. Reddit has always been a haven for communities that center on a single common ground, and video games have always been great at creating those common grounds. The same goes for Pokemon Go. Already there are a flood of screenshots, memes, websites, and posts giving advise. This variety of content tends to revolve around two ideas. The first serves as a form of help or troubleshooting that players create for each other, while the other is simply a forum for discussing the latest trends in the game. Typically, the most popular posts are humorous, helpful or contain a sort of relevancy that other users can relate to.

In Chapter 5 of the Jenkins reading he tries to assess how certain content spreads while other falls flat. He asserts that that ability to expand on a media, for the consumer to make it their own, make a concept much more spreadable. The Reddit excels as a platform for producerly texts. Particularly when it comes to humor, Redditors the world over spend countless hours creating content for their respective subreddits, rewarded only by the various up votes, down votes and comments they receive by their fellow community members. What makes Reddit a successful platform for this kind of media content convergence?

Researcher Chris Miller, of Georgetown explained the popularity of Reddit in his scholarly article, "Life in the New Media landscape: Ritual Communication and Distributed Cognition on Reddit." It's his belief that Reddit's success as a platform for producerly texts is due to the very nature of the website.  The freedom its creators give to users help to encourage its solidarity as a website of and for the users. As Miller states, "This value of self-governance and user-generated content is crucial to the community and social aspect of a virtual space, and is expressed in a number of features of Reddit."

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