“Over the weekend I attended The Future of Entertainment 3, a conference organized by MIT’s Comparative Media Studies department. The two day event featured back to back roundtables focusing on issues related to social media, audience participation, and “spreadable media,” a term CMS director Henry Jenkins coined as a more appropriate way to describe content than “viral.” (Viral connotes an inexplicable element the “infected” have no control over. It suggests you can “design the perfect virus and give it to the right first carriers.”)

From a post on Jenkins’ blog last year:

Our core argument is that we are moving from an era when stickiness was the highest virtue because the goal of pull media was to attract consumers to your site and hold them there as long as possible, not unlike, say, a roach hotel. Instead, we argue that in the era of convergence culture, what media producers need to develop spreadable media. Spreadable content is designed to be circulated by grassroots intermediaries who pass it along to their friends or circulate it through larger communities (whether a fandom or a brand tribe). It is through this process of spreading that the content gains greater resonance in the culture, taking on new meanings, finding new audiences, attracting new markets, and generating new values. In a world of spreadable media, we are going to see more and more media producers openly embrace fan practices, encouraging us to take media in our own hands, and do our part to insure the long term viability of media we like.

Indeed, our new mantra is that if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.”

(via The Tomorrow Museum)