Digital Media

Transmedia: How The Hook Became Hooked!

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Crochet, a simple French name for a simple little hook that when used in certain ways, winds up yarn into gorgeous patterns and textile. Little was known about these crocheting techniques and patterns as back then, it wasn’t well documented and graphical representation or interfaces didn’t exist. All there was were primitive dots and curve lines or numbers and dots to represent symbols to a technique. It would still look like a foreign language for some, even today, if it wasn’t because of transmedia.

So how did transmedia change the life of a simple little humble hook into a global phenomenon with quarterly global conventions the likes of comicon? Let’s deliberate the 7 factors of Transmedia for crocheting, according to Henry Jenkins.

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1. Spreadability vs Drillability

Back as early as the 11th century, crocheted textiles were first discovered in Europe and by the 19th century, it was finally documented in a Dutch magazine. By such time, crocheting had become used in many parts of the world spread by the European colonists all the way to Asia and the America. It was so easy and practical to learn that locals began forming their own patterns and techniques based on the very initial patterns that was shared by the colonists. Before media, it was all about drillability. The more one practices it, the better. But yet designs looked almost the same from one another.

When the printing press and the renaissance period came to the world, printed copies and publications of books began to document the patterns of the regions of the world. But books were limited to the proletariats and elites. Fast forward to today when the internet and participative media dimension came, crocheting became a fad and became viral thanks to the spreadability of its never ending story. People from all over the world began spreading ideas and sharing their techniques growing the community to a globalised world tour.

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2. Continuity vs Multiplicity

In the beginning crocheting would look like a continuous string of patterns formed from the same initial steps. People would rarely expand away from the previously learned techniques and patterns. But as creative intelligence contributed newer techniques and experiments, new patterns began multiplying and more designs were possible even with just the slightest change of colour hue and mixes. A single technique has now multiplied over a million iteration worldwide and the possibilities never cease.

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3. Immersion vs Extractability

Back in the past, crocheting was immersive as the patterns and techniques couldn’t be illustrated well, hence most interested persons would immerse themselves to practice and learn the techniques handed down to them over time.

But with participative media, the crocheting community began extracting elements of its designs to form new series of crocheting such as amigurumi and even macrame. This is how transmedia helped propagate new family trees of crocheting.

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4. Worldbuilding

Even for its time in the early industrial ages, crocheting was building its own world of like minded people. Colonies and colonists began sharing and learning new crocheting techniques even while some improvised it into knitting. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when crocheting began forming fraternity houses or clubs but history has shown that crocheting is usually handed down from the motherly feminine chore side. But when the textile industry collapsed in the early 20th century, so did the world of crocheting go quiet.

But with participative media, crocheting has exponentially caught the world’s attention starting campaigns and collective support while spurring different generations of enthusiasts into creating clubs, societies and even communities of their own. Young geniuses who naturally grew a passion for crocheting instantly rose to near celebrity status encouraging many others to pick up the hook. Crocheting has built a world so big that people from all over the world travel to expositions to share and learn crocheting from famous few celebrities and influencers.

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5. Seriality

Crocheting has many series. In fact, far too many to even count as they keep growing new patterns and techniques daily. If one were to stick to even just one pattern, one would find over a million series of designs just from that pattern alone. Transmedia has helped crochet enthusiasts explore new designs further even with just a twist of a knot or a change of a turn.

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6. Subjectivity

Since crocheting wasn’t documented by any one nation as its origin before the Dutch, despite the name being French, history shows that the fabrication of textiles had long originated in each early civilisation long before the Europeans came. This raises many questions and debates as to which civilisation should be credited with the origins of crocheting. Also, the patterns employed by one technique can be argued as being renditions of another technique, which creates intricate conspiracies even until today. So why is it called crochet? Why not something else? Transmedia has inadvertently populated subjectivity in crocheting, yet none of that matters to passionate enthusiasts anymore.

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7. Performance

With the reckoning of new media, crocheting has become easier and more fun to learn than what it was before illustrations and camera angles existed. Transmedia has turned pages of books into mini video series for enthusiasts to view in person with movement and colour. It has also helped others to broadcast and share their work and methodologies instantly over the internet. With new choreography styles and some animation and audiovisual aids, crocheting media rocks solid performances that attract thousands and more making these influencers instant artistes and celebrities. In fact, crocheting enthusiasts were capable of recreating nearly anything from fictional movie characters to vintage cartoon characters all thanks to transmedia.

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This is how I fell in love with crocheting. The power of transmedia had changed crochet from a hook into a worldwide fan club that has definitely got me ‘hooked’ myself.

Calysta Hannah - Line Separator

Next Read: Transmedia Storytelling 101

Calysta Hannah - Next Read

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