Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, Joshua Green – Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture


NYU Press, ISBN: 9780814743508, English, 352 pages, 2013, USA

Following a decades-old debate between the entertainment/cultural industry and the advocates of free access, the three authors of this book have chosen to write about media distribution (including appropriation). They try to coin a new term: “spreadability,” which is ostensibly different from ‘viral’ as it doesn’t necessarily imply a huge diffusion, so much as a necessary distribution. In fact, “spreading media” today means catalysing others to participate in an online exchange of materials, and people are already doing it for personal entertainment, (re)blogging, and to get attention on social networks. A key concept here is “engagement.” Largely ignored by activists, and over-hyped by media professionals, it’s proving to be important. This book illustrates quite a few business practices, especially from the American entertainment industry, analysing the positive economical consequences even in controversial environments like online piracy. The latter, for example, creates a wider audience, often compensating for potential monetary loss, and urging us to go beyond distribution models that merely count impressions. Understanding social media as communication channels (rather then some perpetual self-promoting vitrine), coupled with the simplicity to exchange files, with the “complicity in the material we pass along,” might finally produce to the awareness necessary to build your own sustainable networks, something radically different from the current scenario.


Henry Jenkins “Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture”