How Do You Like It So Far uses pop culture to take soundings of a society in transition, exploring intersections with civic imagination and engagement, and social and political change. Henry Jenkins and Colin Maclay are your guides on this adventure.

Episode 50: Memes to Movements with An Xiao Mina

Welcome to December How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We can’t believe it ourselves, but we only have two more episodes left for the season!  This week Colin and Henry are joined by An Xiao Mina, a scholar, activist and author of the book Memes to Movements: How the World’s Most Viral Media is Changing Social Protest and Power.  In her new book, Mina discusses how memes can be considered a form of “street art” of the web where they are a prominent part of the discourse in today’s society.  Mina unpacks memes as a distinct feature of pop culture and how they not only work to amplify today’s politics, but also continue conversations around important and socially relevant issues.  She goes in-depth around the meme culture surrounding Chen Guangcheng and Ai Weiwei, but also the global meme movements involving Arab Spring and other political movements.  Mina’s reveals how memes may seem disarming and fun, but finds they are intertwined with how we view the world, each other, and build narratives.  She uncovers parallels between the protests in Hong Kong to other protests worldwide. Her book unveils the transformative power of memes and wonders where the memetic culture will take us next.  Any cat fans out there? Mina goes into depth about how the Internet is made up of cat memes! What about goats? She argues that these animals are gaining visibility as new regions gain greater access and voice online.  Listen in as Mina talks about how memes were not created from marketing meetings but emerged from playfulness and experimentation.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Cat memes
How cats won the internet
Cute Cats to the Rescue?
How Cats Became Rulers of the Interwebs

Historic stigma against cats
15th century – Pope Innocent VIII decree declared cats were an unholy creature
Chinese culture – Zodiac animals (dog but no cat)

Cartoon cats

How Cats Took Over the Internet by Jason Eppink – exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image

Cat Celebrities

Memes – part of a culture, part of a discourse

Richard Dawkins –  Memes as self replicating culture

Limor ShifmanMemes in Digital Culture
Henry’s Interview with Limor Shifman

Amanda BrennanMeme Librarian at Tumblr

Kate MiltnerBuilding a community with LOLcats

Nevertheless, She Persisted – Elizabeth Warren
Merchandise for sale
boundary between digital and physical work

Swastika and original meaning

Chen Guangcheng – One of the first political memes
Became a comic meme → transformed into a performative meme
Christian Bale’s visit
Escaped house arrest

Meedan – tools for Journalists

Proto – Fact-Checking organization in India

Meme culture is a big part of how misinformation has spread

Global Meme Culture
Arab Spring Memes 
Baby Shark

Popularity of goat memes
Pygmy goats

Article 19

Often about exhaustion from multiple narratives coming at us from multiple directions

Top-down exercise of power through memes 
Trump intimidating witness via real-time over Twitter
Trump’s GOT memes

TikTok censorship of HK protest – under investigation

4chan or 8chan

Becca Lewis and Alice Marwick

Remixes in Memes
Trump uses GoT about upcoming sanctions
HK protesters singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?”

Ai Weiwei

Memes are seeds of where we are going
They tried to bury us.  They didn’t know we were seeds.”

Digital PlazaChina’s Internet has own politics

Visual Social Media LabManchester Metropolitan University

Memes as People’s Editorial Cartoons

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

Episode 49: Fireside Chat with Youth Activists Justin Scott and Jessica Riestra

Here we are again How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We continue with our two-part series from the 2019 Connected Learning Summit, which took place at the University of California, Irvine from October 3-5.  The second installment is a panel with Henry and two youth activists Justin Scott, a student and artist who has worked alongside grass roots organizations such as Students Deserve, United Black Student Unions of California, and Black Lives Matters, and Jessica Riestra, a Senior from Sacramento State and Co-Director of March for Our Lives California.  Their chat focused on youth-lead activism efforts, the difficulties of their work and how they use social media to their advantage.  Scott discussed how media is varied nowadays and opened up new avenues for engagement in the youth activism sphere. He urged everyone to engage young people because they have first-hand experience in the classroom and unique experiences that can help shape and evolve discussions around education.  Riestra examined what activism means for her and that it consists of standing up for one’s personal beliefs and taking a stance for those who may not be able to take a stance for themselves. Tune in as Scott and Riestra dissect the role of youth activists in today’s digital culture and call for the recognition of educators as the creators of spaces that explore the identities of young people and how their identities will interact with the world.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Henry’s book Participatory Culture – Interviews

Henry’s blog post in advance of the panel 

Freddie Gray’s Death

Racist random search policies on campuses

Privatization of LAUSD

Students of color have a lower high school graduation rate

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Model United Nations (UN)

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

Episode 48: Digital Diversity with Craig Watkins, Mimi Ito and Katie Salen

We’ve got a treat in store for you this week, How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We begin a two-part series from the 2019 Connected Learning Summit which took place at the University of California, Irvine from October 3-5.  This first installment is a panel with Henry, S. Craig Watkins, a Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, Mizuko Ito, the Director of the Connected Learning Lab, and Katie Salen, a Professor at the University of California, Irvine, for a discussion about digital youth in the talk, “Digital Diversity: How Social, Cultural and Real Life Circumstances Shape Youth Digital Media Practices.”  They discuss the complex work of connected learning and how partnerships are crucial for its success and implementation.  Ito discussed digital and connected learning as a movement where a strong public agenda for young people needs to be realized.  According to Ito, kids need to be full participants in online developmental spaces since they will find other places for engagement.  Watkins brings light to the fact that children’s digital engagement is starting much earlier than could have been imagined. He noted that kids are exposed to digital devices as early as 1-3 years old and although that thought may be unsettling, it may become the new normal. Salen notes that young people take part when they have choices and when particular those choices they are making connect to the real world.  Listen in as Watkins, Ito and Salen discuss topics concerning digital youth and how the digital learning space has evolved for the new generation.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Panelists Books:
Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interest Fuel Learning – by Mimi Ito and Katie Salens
The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality – by S. Craig Watkins

Connected Learning

Games and their Companies:
Little Big PlanetMedia Molecules

OneDirection Fan Fiction

Archive of Our Own

Sorted by Jackson Bird

Sonia Livingstone and Alicia Blum-Ross on Screen Time Rules

Brokering Pathways Toolkit

Child Study Association

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!