8: Spreadability (not just for peanut butter!)

Circulation carries multiple meanings within the publishing industry. In my Small Press Publishing & Editing course last semester, I was taught that circulation refers to how widely a text was distributed. One way of measuring this was how many readers were subscribed to or purchased copies of a particular edition of a publication. According to Jenkins et al., circulation refers to how texts/media are shared, in conformity with Jenkins’ concept of participatory culture (2).

Jenkins et al.’s idea of spreadability describes how easily people are able to share media, both in a technological sense of the word potential and whether or not sharing the media is in alignment with the audience’s personal motivations (3). Publishing texts on platforms like Twitter or Tumblr are more conducive to spreadability because users can very easily repost content, as these platforms are designed around the concept of sharing content.

Delivery, as we have discussed in class, is how authors/creators decide to present their text. The decision of which platform to publish their text on, as well as the format of the text, greatly effects the text’s spreadability. Another factor related to delivery is algorithms. For example, within the past year or so, Facebook has adjusted their algorithms so that videos often appear higher on individuals’ feeds than plain text or static images. This has led content creators to strategically produce their content as videos, even by just inserting floating watermarks over their static images so that they can be posted as videos.

Final word count: 249


Jenkins, Henry, et al. “Why Media Spreads.” Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York University Press, 2018.