Wikidragons

Wikipedia, the modern online encyclopedia, is a global mass of collective intelligence on a wide range of topics. Pages are made up of topic subjects filled with contributed information from different editors to add to the sum of knowledge posted on the subject. This networking pulls information from multiple sources in a show that the minds of the many are better than the minds of the few (Jenkins). People all around the world can bring together their knowledge on a subject and share it for the world to see. Wikipedia is “free and unlimited” so any topic’s space may reflect “how much the community knows or feels able to communicate about the subject, how many people know about the topic, and what kinds of contexts this information gets used” (Jenkins). This leaves a lot of room for dispute and uneven distribution. What if someone posts a wrong fact? What if one person knows more than anyone else but isn’t allowed to post? What about when no one knows a lot about a subject and little is written on it?

The Wikipedia page for Dragons is a well filled article. Its contents span over the discourse around dragons of multiple large mythological origin countries from Europe to East Asia as well as depictions outside of mythology. These contents are not the same as the contents of the Talk page. On the Talk page most topics branch of problem points of editing the main Article. What is there to change? Is this right? Should this Hobbit spoiler be included? There is a lot of work that does into collective intelligence, part of that being dispute. With so many possible contributors, its impossible for all editors to have the same idea on what information should be put, where it should be put and why.

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Both the article and talk pages are updated regularly. Changing times, addition to editors and knowledge of the subject make, as well as found mistakes in the text make changes to the page occur nearly every month. Often several times a month the page can be found being added to or corrected. The two pages don’t always parallel each other in which is being edited. In the August to April span of 2014 the talk page had a substantial amount of activity while the article page did not.

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The Wikipedia page for dragon is a C-class article. It has a large amount of information, but there’s still room for more to be added and edited. The average person would find it adequate, but as an overall collection for dragon information, its still fairly lacking. While collective intelligence has created a lot of “opportunities for peer-to-peer learning” there’s still the matter of “what knowledge matters to whom under what circumstances for what purposes” (Jenkins). There’s a lot to be learned about how collective intelligence and Wikipedia work. Will it be overall successful into the future? Is it truly a good source, or if it is too lacking in details, full of mistakes and unknown “here be dragons” lands of empty articles to be a proper encyclopedia?


“Dragon.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon&gt;.

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies (Part One).” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 26 June 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html&gt;.

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies (Part Two).” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 27 June 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html&gt;.

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Jurassic World

Transmedia storytelling is a growing form of story expansion in new media. Narratives can be built upon and expanded far beyond the limits of a single media form. TV shows, books, movies and other medias, can branch out into different forms to tell more about their stories. The 1990 book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton was adapted into the movie Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg in 1993. The first movie spurred two sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, before gaining a third sequel Jurassic World. The fourth installment of the movie franchise utilizes the world building of transmedia to do what its predecessors couldn’t; it makes the park hauntingly more real.

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The new website for Jurassic World allows people to look into the world built around the story. Users can view an interactive park map that lays out all the attractions, buildings, and dinosaurs available like the map of any real zoo. There are links and photos available, all making the park seem less like a fictional story and more like a real attraction that people could go and see for themselves.

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This creates “complex fictional worlds which can sustain multiple interrelated characters and their stories” (Jenkins).  The realism doesn’t stop with the map. Transmedia storytelling can “add a greater sense of realism to the fiction as a whole” (Jenkins). The website does this by providing videos, not only from the movie but also “live” webcams of the park itself.

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   The world built for Jurassic World leaves little room for questions on missing information. One can look into information about the park founder, the dinosaurs, the park attractions, and even view the little details such as the weather and park capacity. Then they go a step further, the overarching villain of all three movies before has always remained the same- not the dinosaurs, but the corporations that made them. Whereas before there has been always been little told about the controlling powers trying to make money off dinosaurs, the new website gives a link pointing straight to the culprit for concocting the new park. There’s information, links, videos, an entire fictional company created with its own website to answer any unasked, or asked, questions about who thinks they’re controlling the dinosaurs of the park.

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“A transmedia text does not simply disperse information: it provides a set of roles and goals which readers can assume as they enact aspects of the story throughout their everyday life” (Jenkins). The creators of Jurassic World and its website and extensions, manage to build on the original narrative through transmedia storytelling. The end result embodies multiple forms of transmedia, creating a good example of how it can be utilized to further a narrative and enhance the audience experience. There’s a degree of irony to the fact that Jurassic World uses transmedia to expand upon the very ideas the stories warn against. The story looks, feels, and reads real enough to jump through the screen and start a park destroying rampage.


Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html&gt;.

“Jurassic World.” Jurassic World. Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment, INC. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://www.jurassicworld.com/&gt;.

“Masrani.” Masrani. Masrani, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://www.masraniglobal.com/about/index.html&gt;.

Click photos for links to all websites and sources.

Game of GIFs

Game of Thrones, aka; death, war, icy dead people, sex, more death and in case you forgot about it- death, but that of your favorite character. It’s a harsh world for Game of Thrones fans with so much heavy content and little break from the different kinds of action provided on screen. The internet captures the content of this book turned TV show in small, bite size pieces with GIFs (though some of those bite size pieces are hard to swallow when it captures the precise moment of death or loss). Thankfully, GIFs don’t just capture the painful moments. They have other uses, capturing humorous moments wherever they may lie amongst the bloodshed to give some comic relief and make the story easier to connect with for those who didn’t grow up in a world of throne wars and dragons.

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Humorous and remixed GIFs in Game of Thrones have an important function in expanding what the show itself can do, as GIFs can do with any media form. Reaction GIFs spawned from the witty (or the opposite) moments make for good ways to share both a love of the show and converse a recognizable reaction to other people. GIFs and memes have become a part of our culture, things to share and connect over. “Sharing, imitating, remixing and using popularity measurements have become highly valued pillars of participatory culture” (Shifman 22). GIFs highlight the aspects of something that we can connect with. While our world doesn’t have real dragons, we do have real attitudes…

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and eye rolls…

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These are things we can connect with, recognizable social cues that can be shared and remixed to fit our needs.

Shifman goes over three prisms of use with memes and GIFs. The first prism is economy driven. If it’s easy to replicate and change then it has better chance to succeed. GIFs promote the subject and draw more attention to it while also participating in the other two prisms. The second prism deals with how memes and GIFs create themselves and participate in “shaping social networks” (Shifman 33) By creating or changing the content users are showing they are “digitally literate, unique and creative” while sticking to the relation of the media subject (Shifman 33). Game of Thrones fans can take a scene and enhance its humor according to the original plot…

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Or add in a bit of their own ideas…

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The third prism considers GIFS, memes and “the cultural practices surrounding them” (Shifman 34). Remixed GIFS “blur the lines” between “private and public, professional and amateur, market and non-market driven activities” because they can exist on either side (Shifman 34). One can make it for themselves, or to show the public, with any status of professionalism. The remixes aren’t necessarily made to promote the show or drive any sort of economy for it. They’re there to enjoy, enhancing the experience and connecting to whatever situation they’re applied to.

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No matter their purpose, GIFs can add a lot to a conversation or a media experience. Capturing bloodshed or humor alike, they’re still another aspect of our changing culture and approach towards media. Everyone can use them, view them and change them to connect with the media (Game of Thrones in this case) or with each other, sending Cersei’s eye roll to an unfunny joke or Sansa’s slap to someone about to get the same treatment. Or question their humor as with my GIF below.

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Sources:

Shifman, Limor. Memes In Digital Culture. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014. PDF.

Click on images/gifs for source.