Content Osmosis and the Political Economy of Social Media

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-217
Journal / PublicationLeonardo Electronic Almanac
Volume19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2013

Abstract

This article explains the function of content osmosis within social mediaand it also provides historical examples of its use in the marketing of cigarettes,commercial films, and computers. The term ‘content osmosis’ hasbeen coined to designate the transfer of certain characteristics of media’scontent into an audience, empowering them to feel as if these qualitiesare within themselves. Content osmosis has existed for decades within thebelief that the consumption of specific products and services are determinantsof one’s personal identity, and this belief has evolved more recentlyinto the notion that our social needs can be enhanced through participationin social media. A detailed example of content osmosis is providedthrough a character analysis of the 1953 film Roman Holiday, a title thatcoincides with Baron George Gordon Byron’s phrase for an event that useshuman suffering for enjoyment or profit. This article proposes that thedominant purveyors of social media are using content osmosis as an effectivemechanism for attracting audiences to embedded advertising, andthat depictions of human tragedy are used to attract audiences who areinterested in ‘Schadenfreude’.

Research Area(s)

  • social media, media literacy, political economy, commodification of media

Citation Format(s)

Content Osmosis and the Political Economy of Social Media. / Ritter, Don.

In: Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol. 19, No. 4, 15.09.2013, p. 198-217.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review