Transmedia Choice

Interesting and concise look at transmedia, from Henry Jenkins. Discussing how transmedia dates back hundreds of years to old campfire stories and how participatory and convergence culture has combined under the guise of ‘collective intelligence’ to facilitate the use and need for transmedia storytelling.

Transmedia storytelling exists because the media consuming world has demanded it. We live in a world where a story has the potential to be told over multiple media platforms, with each individual platform contributing significantly to the whole. It is this need to consume more and more of a story and become further immersed in a fictional universe that allows different platforms to excel in their own right. Transmedia also bring an inherent element of choice. With the overall narrative being disseminated across multiple media platforms, it gives the consumer the choice as to how much information they want to absorb. This is dependent on a number of factors, though primarily the consumers level of immersion in the world. The consumer may only be interested in absorbing certain aspect of the transmedia story, perhaps concentrating on a certain character(s) or events in the story. The second element is the accessibility the consumer has to these other media platforms. For example, the consumer may have access to a graphic novel and feature film, though not have access to the digital game. This can perhaps be a stumbling block in designing a transmedia experience and must certainly be considered while creating such an experience.

I personally love transmedia storytelling. I find the use of different media platforms give a fresh perspective on a story and hold the consumers interest more than the sole use of one medium. Reading a book or graphic novel is an entirely different experience to playing a digital game. I think in future projects, those involved in the creation of transmedia storytelling may well use the differentiation of these platforms to not only facilitate the telling of the story but enhance the experience of the consumer depending on their choice of media platform.

Ultimately, consuming a story transmedially is a choice. If a consumer wishes to absorb all possible elements of a narrative and experience the world in its entirety, then transmedia will be called upon. Similarly, a different consumer may be perfectly happy with the elements of the story they have already experienced and may not explore all available aspects. It gives us all, as media consumers, greater choice as to what we consume and how we consume it. This choice, in our advanced digital age, is essential. The general populace want and have come to expect choice. Transmedia storytelling provides just that.


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