Rider University Occupy Wall Street Media Analysis

Media Analysis # 3: Participatory Culture and User-Generated Content

At the start of the semester, we had a reading by Henry Jenkins – a scholar of media and participatory culture.

Jenkins describes a participatory culture as one:

  1. With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement
  2. With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others
  3. With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices
  4. Where members believe that their contributions matter
  5. Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).

The purpose of the assignment is to find one example of participatory culture on the Web and examine how user-generated content is being used to amplify political, cultural and social change from the bottom-up.

Choose a topic for your case study. For example:

  • A movement or campaign for example: (#occupywallstreet, #savethebees, political candidates, PantsuitNation, America First Policies, etc.)
  • Corporate/Nonprofit for example: (corporate campaign, Nonprofit Ice Bucket Challenge).

Use the headings below and write a 2-page paper, double-spaced as follows:

  • Case Study. Describe the case study you’ve chosen for your analysis (a specific social issue, political movement, fandom, business, nonprofit). (20 points)
  • Criteria. Using Jenkins 5 criteria for participatory culture, evaluate your case study. Provide some examples of what you are seeing on the Web that support each criterion (discuss a particular YouTube video, a Twitter #, Facebook page, blogs). You should cite at least 3 different media platforms in your analysis (with links). (20 points)
  • Evidence of Impact. Provide any data you can find with regard to impact of the user-generated content. For example, number of views, responses/comments, subsequent coverage by mainstream media, etc. (20 points)
  • Explain why you believe that the bottom-up, user-generated content is having an impact on the topic. Does it have more or less impact than mainstream media? Why do you feel that way? (20 points)
  • Conclusion. Discuss what you learned from this exercise about the Web, user-generated content, and participatory culture. How does it relate to discussions we’ve had about convergent media? Use of textbook references with page numbers will strengthen your conclusion. (20 points)
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