Media must be spreadable

I came across this interview on spreadable media with US academic Henry Jenkins on the Nieman Journalism Lab.

His thesis is that for things online to thrive, they need to be shared socially: if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.

He defines spreadable media as media that travels across media platfomrs at least in part because people take it in their own hands and share it with their social networks.

People have always done this, he says, by doing things like passing on newspaper clippings, for example. Now media organisations can see what they’re doing. More important,  they can respond to it.

So he reckons that “news sites which prevent the sharing of such content amongst readers may look like ways to protect the commercial interest of that content, but in fact, they kill it, destroying its value as a cultural resource within networked communities, and insuring that the public will look elsewhere for news that can be spread”.

So that seems to answer the question of what will happen to the The Times’ experiment with paywalls.

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