Task#1 ‘Miranda Sings’ – Lauren and Ellyse

Transmedia Project Analysis: Miranda Sings
Created by Ellyse O’Halloran (s3385996) & Lauren Drzewucki (s3379760)

Academic Text Summary #1 – Linda Fanaras’, ‘Becoming a Social Media Star: The Value of Video’, p.31
Summary by Ellyse O’Halloran

In this article, Fanaras discusses social media as a marketing tool for companies. She describes how online videos have the power to expand brand awareness and increase sales. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 71 percent of American Internet users are visiting video-sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo.

Simple videos with a low production value are able to be successful online, in fact, in the past, these are the videos that have gone viral. Joani Wardwell of Wieden & Kennedy Portland, who created the “Old Spice Guy” viral videos, contends that “You don’t need a production of 50 people. You can move the world with three”.

Considering Colleen Ballinger as the owner of the brand Miranda Sings, Fanaras’ findings can be demonstrated. The content is “organic and original” and has a very low production value (webcam use, cheap costume etc.) to convey Miranda Sings’ story.

To ensure maximum visibility, once the video is posted, it should be also posted to a company website, Facebook and Twitter profile in order to drive the traffic to the video.

Social media and online video are important forces to increase brand awareness, web presence and improve sales.

To view this academic text:
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?action=interpret&id=GALE%7CA272362458&v=2.1&u=rmit&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&authCount=1

Academic Text Summary #2 – Brian Alexander & Alan Levine’s, ‘Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre’
Summary by Lauren Drzewucki

Alexander and Levine take an extremely broad approach to tackling the concept of transmedia storytelling in this article, and with good reason.

With something that has been described by Frank Rose as, “the same elephant, different blind men” (as cited by Jenkins 2009) it is easy to understand that transmedia storytelling is has countless sections, sub-sections and exploration facets in which many forms of media may fit. By way of understanding this behemoth of a concept, both these academics have taken to fragmenting the concept as a whole, so that the pieces may be understood separately, then brought back together as a cohesive whole by the end of the piece (eerily similar to how transmedia storytelling is made).

The initial portion of the article involves defining key terms pertaining to transmedia. Once the reader is clear on definitions, Alexander and Levine can then explain why they believe the induction of Web 2.0 has allowed for, what they coin in the article’s title, ‘ a new genre of storytelling’.

Delving into specific examples such as social media’s Twitter and ARG’s, Alexander and Levine linger, if only momentarily, on the introduction of video based transmedia. Whilst the portion on this segment of storytelling is rather small, yet is so large in the case of Miranda Sings, it is undoubtedly crucial to understanding Ballinger’s method of narrative storytelling, and is thus pixilated gold. And importantly, the entire article explains concepts of transmedia storytelling so succinctly, and so heavily relating to Web 2.0, that the ability to extrapolate meaty information from this article was simple.

To view this academic text:
http://edchnm.gmu.edu/courses/ctch792sp10/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Web-2.0-Storytelling.pdf

References used in summary:

Jenkins, H 2009, The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually, Five More on Friday), Confession of an A-Ca Fan: The official Weblog of Henry Jenkins, viewed 25 March 2014, http://henryjenkins.org/2009/12/the_revenge_of_the_origami_uni.html

Synthesis of findings:

Transmedia storytelling is a form of non-linear storytelling that uses multiple media platforms to convey a story. This encourages audiences to explore and engage on an interactive level.
With the rise of social media and interactivity on the web, YouTube bloggers have created a name for themselves by building an audience and a following through sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to supplement their vlogs and keep their audience satisfied. They are “Internet Personalities” or “Social Media stars”.
Colleen Ballinger created Miranda Sings, using this model of transmedia storytelling to build a fictional world inhabited by this quirky, unusual character.
Ballinger uses Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, a Website, a YouTube channel and live performances to create a unified entertainment experiences. Each platform reveals character quirks and lets the audience in on the world of Miranda Sings in a different way, but each platform serves to supplement one another.
Every time Miranda posts a new video, whether it be a cover song or a vlog, she posts a link to her Twitter, Facebook or Instagram page, ensuring all her followers can see it.
Although the videos are the main focus, her other social media sites are certainly important and definitely give the audience more insight.
On each YouTube video, she also posts links to her social media sites in the information bar. At the end of videos, she will encourage audiences to go and follow her on these sites. This is a notable way to encourage viewers to search deeper into the world and explore the story on a non-linear level.
Digital Storytelling has changed our perception of story: before, story followed a linear narrative with a clear-cut beginning, middle and end. Now a story is open-ended and cross-media. The story of Miranda Sings has no beginning, middle and end. In fact, there is neither a beginning nor end to the story but instead fragments that are dispersed across multiple platforms that together create a big picture of the world of Miranda Sings.
Story can now be participatory. In the case of Miranda Sings this is through. She breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to their audience. She also interacts with them on Twitter and even in real life when viewers attend her live shows. In this sense, the story blurs reality and fiction, something difficult to pull of before the rise of digital storytelling.

Project references:

Alexander, B & Levine, A 2008, ‘Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre’, EDUCAUSE review, vol.43, no. 6, viewed 26 March 2014, http://edchnm.gmu.edu/courses/ctch792sp10/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Web-2.0-Storytelling.pdf

Ballinger, C 2014, Facebook, viewed 20 March 2014, https://www.facebook.com/MirandaSingsOfficial

Ballinger, C 2014, Instagram, viewed March 20 2014, http://instagram.com/mirandasingsofficial

Ballinger, C 2014, Miranda Sings, viewed 20 March 2014, http://mirandasings.com/default.html

Ballinger, C 2014, Twitter, viewed 20 March 2014, https://twitter.com/MirandaSings

Ballinger, C 2014, YouTube, viewed 20 March 2014, http://www.youtube.com/user/mirandasings08

Fanaras, L 2011, ‘Become a social media star: the value of video’, New Hampshire Business Review, p.31, viewed 22 March 2014, http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?action=interpret&id=GALE%7CA272362458&v=2.1&u=rmit&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&authCount=1

Jenkins, H 2009, The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually, Five More on Friday), Confession of an A-Ca Fan: The official Weblog of Henry Jenkins, viewed 25 March 2014, http://henryjenkins.org/2009/12/the_revenge_of_the_origami_uni.html

Phillips, A 2012, ‘What is Transmedia Anyway?’, A creator’s guide to transmedia storytelling : how to captivate and engage audiences across multiple platforms, New York, McGraw-Hill, pp. 13-19

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