When Things Go Viral Essay Assignment

When Things Go Viral
When Things Go Viral

When Things Go Viral

One objective of this course is to go beyond individual platforms to identify and discuss societal and cultural patterns in social media use. One way to understand patterns in human behavior is to take something specific but common in social media and try to look at it in a new way. You previously looked at selfies; for this assignment, you will look more carefully at how something changes as it goes viral.

First, read “Recontextualizing YouTube” located at Blackboard. The author analyzed variations of a Soulja Boy video. As the video went viral, other people began creating derivative videos containing variations on the original. These variations “recontextualized” the video in ways that it somewhat resembled the video yet took on new characteristics. For this assignment, choose an image, video or meme and analyze it for evidence of re-contextualization.

Your report should have the following:

1) Background – what is the item you chose? Where did this item originate? How and why did you choose your item and its derivatives?

2) Summary of your findings– How do derivative versions resemble the original – or not? Include in your report a table similar to Table 1 in the article

3) Comparison of your findings to the authors’ findings

4) Describe potential applications of analyzing digital media – what could the changes from the original item say about the people making their own derivatives? Why might analyzing viral creations of digital media be useful now or in the future? What information can viral social media tell us? What information can viral social media not tell us?

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