A meme is simply a piece of digital content, which is quickly spread around the Internet and becomes a cultural experience that is shared (units of culture). Memes are known for their entertainment value but they should be taken seriously due to their marketing, advertising, and public relations advantage.
Memes are relevant to digital media and communications because marketers can use them. Marketers use memes as a form of viral marketing. This form of marketing is known as memetic marketing. Memes are trendy and lucrative. The use of memes results in awareness. Memes have been used to create interest in films, campaigns, and advertisements.
Memes are popular in contemporary Internet culture (participatory culture) because they allow for people to self-create and add new value to media content they find meaningful, which can be spread by many people.
A successful meme is one that entails communication properties of which the original meme can quickly and easily be distorted, transformed, and repurposed as it moves through the Internet while retaining its informational content. A successful meme is one that provokes manipulation by a large variety of communities who then can offer a great quantity of new contexts to expand meaning as it’s duplicated.
Memes are neither primarily visual nor linguistic; both must be equal in presentation and its ability to be adapted. The structure is of most importance. The combination of both visual and linguistic texts is necessary to construct the message.
This meme I’m sure a lot of people can relate to, whether in a work or school environment. The image implies the disgust the person who did the work feels towards the person who did not contribute, but appears to be taking credit for the presentation’s success. The texted adds to the structure in getting the message across to its audience.
Transmedia storytelling is geared toward maintaining audience interest through the creation of art allowing for creative opportunity. Media companies reap the benefits of fan culture and implement transmedia storytelling to do so. This is not necessarily done to create more commerce but rather to continue capturing audience support.
NBC and Metrodigi have already begun the process of transmedia storytelling with the show Grimm. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of an eBook titledGrimm: The Essential Guide , which enables fans to: poke through the various artifacts contained in a trailer that had passed on to Nick Burkhardt (the lead character) from his Aunt Marie, view behind the scenes activity, browse the most complete compilation of Wesen creatures, and use an interactive glossary of terms to understand the Grimm universe. To bring every fan up to speed, the guide provides viewers with interactive photo galleries, videos, quizzes. However, this is just a small step toward expanding its transmedia storytelling. While being interactive it lacks a real avenue for participation.
In Henry Jenkins“Convergence Culture”(2006), Jenkins defines participation as being shaped by cultural and social protocols where consumers not producers are in control. Interactivity is limited by technology and designers structure the environment provided. Participation on the other hand allows consumers to interact in the production and distribution of material.
Character backgrounds have already been established but entry points should be open for consumers to expand the story. I say this because the show lacks interesting dialogue even though the characters are entertaining. Clearly, the show could benefit from its consumers contributing to plot holes. We want to know where Adalind Schade’s baby is and what Nick’s mother is doing with her. This is where additive comprehension could come into play.
Jenkins mentions additive comprehension, which is described by Neil Young, as “the expansion of interpretive possibility that occurs when fictional franchises are extended across multiple texts and media. As previously mentioned, we have an eBook but an avenue for animation production would be an important extension in creating scenarios that would draw continued interest in its fan culture. Creating a experience where fans can construct stories for these plot holes will keep them engaged. Another alternative would be for producers to promote a Wesen newspaper where fans contribute stories for plot holes. Grimm could build off the stories to better entice fans and inevitably contribute to the show’s success.