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Transmedia users?
Until now, we have examined a brief history of media, tried to understand the background of transmedia and also looked at filmmaking as a different way of content storage and communication. Now we will touch on another important component, the consumers and users of media, which incidentally hasn’t been explored as much historically. This is because the name of the creator and owner is typically all that is indicated media content; in other words, the general opinion is that parties who are responsible for making the product are a more important cultural consideration than those who will be viewing the product. Against the development of media, the ideas of ownership, creation, and consumption are slowly being challenged in new media content.
In the past, in order to draw a picture, I would have needed a brush, paints, and drawing paper. To dabble in music, I would have needed a musical instrument, or to learn how to compose, or to have spent hours and years practicing my musical technique. Regardless of form, creative media demanded long hours and hard work. I couldn’t have simply said, “Well, it looks really cool to play the violin, let me try for three hours before I give a performance.” Even four months would appear impossible for this task. Perhaps at least four years would be necessary. Daily practice of eight hours over a long period of time might bring me to a reasonable standard of violin-playing skill.
In the past, becoming a visual artist was an arduous journey. Now, with modern media, the story is a very different. Photoshop can help you render a lovely picture almost immediately, and with a suitable computer program you could make music in less than two hours. Naturally, the quality of this work pale significantly against that of artists of a bygone era. People who create are no longer holding on to absolute power, a significant difference from the past. It is widely acknowledged that with the invention of printing press, replicas of content were churned out in large numbers for wide distribution. This sentiment, too, exists with modern media.
For instance, to see the Mona Lisa, you have to go to the Louvre museum in Paris. Many people do wait in line and battle the crowds just to view the Mona Lisa at a distance on the third floor of the museum. The experience is worthwhile, as you’re able to be satisfied with your patience as you waited to get ahead in that line. Moreover, the aura drawn from the masterpiece is an emotional experience. Most people have seen the Mona Lisa without ever having gone to the Louvre. A good quality image of the painting can be easily downloaded over the Internet, saved to your computer, and even printed out if you so wish.
In this modern environment, the absolute value of experiences has dropped considerably. Of course, conversely, we have created a different kind of value through extensive distribution of various art forms. However, the absolute authority that the media creator holds has greatly diminished over time. The creator can no longer prevent others from having access to his or her work. If you visit Milan, you can arrange a viewing of “The Last Supper.” To view da Vinci’s painting, first head to Milan, and then secure a viewing time within the 1 hour 15 minutes slot of public viewing time, during which only 20 people are allowed in at a time. Make sure to book in advance. Your viewing time is limited to 15 minutes.
After waiting in line, you are allowed to spend 15 minutes viewing the work. This leaves you with quite a feeling, doesn’t it? Fifteen minutes of concentration on a masterpiece in an enclosed space with limited lighting, a space designed to reduce deterioration of the artwork? a unique 15-minutes experience. Still, it is an exclusive experience. Not a lot of people have gotten admission and most have seen this painting over the Internet. Compared to the actual viewing, we can admire a downloaded version of even much higher picture quality. Digital technology has forever altered the way we consume media and the level on which we interact with it.
Even the ability to carry out simple tasks such as changing an image’s colors or increasing its resolution indicate that, for better or worse, we are now creator, user, and audience at the same time. We are able to enter the creative process. I mentioned the smartphone. Smartphone users customize their devices according to their own preferences. Right now, I can easily take a picture and upload it, create a short song, or draw a picture. This is less traditional, but I can also merge different pictures on my computer and edit them to become a new image. This is creation? my creation?
and hence I will be more attached to and interested in my photos than I would be to a famous photograph at an exhibition. Every day, I upload information about where I went, what I saw, what pictures I’ve seen, and what I ate, posted alongside photographs that I take and comments that I write. With these actions, we become media creators. Because this process of creation is so easy, a variety of content inclusion and participation is possible in transmedia. In the past, a novelist would start with his or her own original idea and end with his or her own conclusion. We, the audience, would then read and appreciate the work.
Now, the creative process is open to a substantial number of creative users, and consumers too can contribute to the story’s twists and turns. This is the key part of transmedia storytelling. User accessibility of media is growing, which allows for user participation in the creative process and, as a result media content can vary whether it’s image- or text-based. Regardless of the media’s forms, there is more active and enthusiastic participation from users. This involvement is the same for dramas and even movies. Rather than unilateral transfer of message content from the movie to the audience, we are now looking at producer-user communication and joint production. The most vital part of the transmedia storytelling approach seems to be this heightened level of audience participation.

First, transmedia users are accustomed to operating within a network. They are familiar with accessing information from the far corners of the Internet and interacting with communities of users with shared interests. They are open to congregating online because online communication is usually the most effective way to acquire certain content or related information. However, users usually share content without changing it, and any alterations are often made exclusively for personal use. Second, users spend a great deal of time acquiring and consuming cultural content, and it is through such efforts that users distinguish between themselves and other people. Transmedia users usually approach a cultural product with interest or curiosity, but after interacting with other users through online communities, they develop a sense of competition on both a conscious and unconscious level. They usually express this competitive nature by displaying their personal knowledge, the amount of information they possess, and the quantity and quality of related content in their personal possession. Users soon distinguish between each other based on the cultural content a person possesses and how well he or she can utilize new forms of media. Third, going beyond cultural production itself, transmedia users are heavily interested in any outside activities they can access through a cultural product. Users create new user methods by developing multiple applications for various instruments. Thus, users who are latecomers to transmedia must first learn from users who are familiar with it.

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Transmedia Storytelling

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