Spreadable Media

Below is an extract to a research proposal I submitted in my 3rd year on the rather interesting topic of spreadable media, have a look and see what its all about and don’t forget to participate in the poll and leave feed back.


Spreadable media is an uncommon concept at first, people may not know what is being talked about but with a little light individuals realise in this era they are interacting with spreadable media every day. To throw light on the term coined by scholars spreadable media is a study examining an emerging hybrid model of circulation, where a mix of top-down and bottom-up forces determine how material is shared across and among cultures in far more participatory ways. (Jenkins, H. et al 2014)

Simply put it is a study that looks at content creation, sharing and modification through online media platforms. It also examines the mechanisms and motivations behind content and puts focus on the regular people, that is creators who are the at the same time also users of the various online media platforms and not as much on the large corporations who come together to create content for their uses to consume, such as media houses and Public Relations offices.

Spreadable media content is now more popular than ever thanks to the age of technology. Various aspects of modern day technology have made it possible for spreadable media content to be created by anyone and grant it its ability to circulate.

In terms of content creation, media content creation is no longer limited to professionals anyone can create their own content thanks to the power of technology. Nearly all mobile phones today have cameras, recorders and even photo editing software, making it possible for anyone to make their own content.

The ability to share this content is also aided by technology; innovations like the internet have made it possible to share content to many people at little cost as the content is digital.

Technology has given birth to platforms that are the bloodline of spreadable media. Social platforms are powered by multiple technological innovations. Examples of such platforms are Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Instagram e.t.c

There are also content creation platforms powered by technological innovations such as Meme Generator, Snapchat, Dub smash, Photogrid, Picasa e.t.c

Later in the literature review scholars explain why it is in this technological boom that has set the stage for spreadable media and yet early media user created content and sharing platforms did exist such as home made cards, community media where all members can participate, removable data devices like floppies, MTN Multimedia Message e.t.c

Spreadable media doesn’t stop at user content creation and sharing it also contributes in enhancing communication against semantic barriers. Online communication has its limitations, we can’t really express our true feelings on some platforms as we are bound to the rules of that plat form e.g most instant messaging services are bound to text and maybe I want to communicate sarcastically, how would I do that? This is when I can employ spreadable media I can: use an image with a sarcastic expression, send an audio note or use the pre created emoticons that still originated from email users improvising punctuation marks for facial expressions e.g 🙂 😦

We also live in an era where media has cultured us in a way that we have shorter attention spans, on social media platforms books and even traditional media like newspapers, text content does not have the same appeal as mixed image and text content. Spreadable media content goes even further a lot of the content is quick to consume as it passive, and easily shared. A lot of the content is made up of images, videos and audio and at times little or no text but a simple caption. This makes it easy to consume and easy to spread.

With all this said spreadable media is great thing it makes online communication enjoyable, easy and fast but like every coin there are two sides. On the flip side one would jump to ethical issues but the situation is rather complex, some ethical issues in spreadable media stain from online media, issues like anonymity and lack of gatekeepers. These do encompass issues in spreadable media but are not specific to it.

A more specific issue that has contributed to the statement of the problem in this proposal is the kind of power spreadable media has and those wielding it using without full consideration of its capabilities. As we create spreadable media content what culture are we inventing or taking in? As we consume spreadable media content do we think about the intentions of content creators and lastly do we critique or expect some sort of standard from this content we create and spread or do we simply take in because unlike major corporations we do not see a hidden agenda among our fellow content creators and circulators like making sales or propaganda.


Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture.


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