Reading Questions: Tuesday, September 1

Jonah Berger: “Why Things Catch On”

  1. Choose your favorite example of virality (whether a viral video, product/idea, slacktivist campaign, etc.) and describe briefly, using Berger’s theories, why you think it caught on.
  2. Who do you trust most in life to recommend products to you? Give an example?
  3. Let’s think about trust more carefully—who do you trust? What does this question mean? What is trust? How does trust vary from situation to situation?
  4. What is your favorite idea you learned from Berger’s presentation?
  5. Think of two research topics that you might write about in this class based on Berger’s video. What could you researchfurther?
  6. Researched arguments always include three things Points (the researcher’s claim), Evidence (the stat, example, quote that illustrates that claim), and Analysis (the interpretation that shows how the evidence supports the claim and that critically discusses both). Take two of Berger’s claims and trace the point, evidence, and analysis of them.

Henry Jenkins: “Spoiling Survivor”

  1. What types of primary research—actual interviewing and observing of the community—went into Jenkins’ chapter?
  2. Good research involves primary (observations of interesting trends in a community), secondary observations (observations of why those trends are occurring), and global observations (observations of how these specific community trends fit into some sort of larger cultural happening). Often secondary observations complicate and even contradict primary observations—making for a rich and complex theorizing. What are Jenkins’ primary, secondary, and global observations? What larger introductory thesis does Jenkins’ develop these observations under?
  3. Good researchers often generate new terms based on their observations—what are two of Jenkins’ new terms? How does he support these terms with examples?
  4. Good researchers expand on pre-existing theories and research (aka secondary research) describe two theories that Jenkins’ uses. How does Jenkins not only use but expand and add to these theories?
  5. How might Jenkins’ research be improved by a multimodal presentation? What types of images, videos, sound files, etc., might be added to this chapter?

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