Abstract: Genre Emergence in Amateur Flash

Genre Emergence in Amateur Flash

by John C. Paolillo, Jonathan Warren and Breanne Kunz

In: Genres on the Web Computational Models and Empirical Studies
Alexander Mehler, Serge Sharoff and Marina Santini
Text, Speech and Language Technology
Volume 42, 2011, DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-9178-9


Research on genre emergence in digital media often characterizes the emergence of new genres using notions of “community” and “social interaction”. In this chapter, we attempt to provide empirical content to these notions by employing a social network approach. We examine Flash animations posted to Newgrounds.com, in terms of both genre features and favorite author nominations. Results indicate that participants’ social network positions are strongly associated with the genres of Flash they produce. We argue from these findings that the social network positions of Flash authors contribute to the establishment of genre norms, and that a social network approach can be crucial to understanding genre emergence.

1. Genres, Multimedia and the Web
While the core functionality of the World-Wide Web is the exchange of textual communication in the form of formatted text documents over the Internet, this functionality predated the advent of the web, and arguably other features, specifically graphics, were responsible for the attractiveness and rapid adoption of the web and its technologies. Today, one rarely sees a news story on a newspaper web site without embedded graphics of some kind, generally in the form of advertising using Flash multimedia. Multimedia and graphics on the web are notorious for their technological instability, with multiple proprietary and open formats in competition, requiring browser add-ins and software updates for sites to remain usable or even legible. Similarly, the forms of multimedia and graphics are constantly in flux, as old forms are refined and new forms arise on a continuing basis. Advertising makes extensive use of animated formats, especially Flash, although video, sometimes streamed and sometimes delivered in Flash or other formats, is becoming more prevalent. Video weblogs and usercontributed video sites such as YouTube have extended the opportunities available for users to create and manipulate multimedia forms.[Continue reading excerpts here or download PDF from here]

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