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Title: Why All the Outrage? Viral Media as Corrupt Play Shaping Mainstream Media Narratives
Holmesglen Authors: Duncan, Samuel Keith 
Keywords: Viral media
Media narratives
Corrupt play
Issue Date: Mar-2020
Publication information: 15(1), pp.37-52.
Abstract: The way we use social media can be viewed through the notion of ‘play’. According to Dutch cultural historian and play theorist Johan Huizinga (1950), play is characterised by fun, freedom, spontaneity, and creativity; while not overtly serious, it can have serious outcomes. Huizinga (1950, 8–10) believed that it was in ‘playing’ that we reveal our true selves and thus form genuine, strong, and binding relationships with others who are also playing. However, if play becomes too serious, no longer fun and takes on notions of overt seriousness then it is, in fact, corrupted. When this occurs play no longer stimulates genuine relationships; rather ‘corrupted play’ becomes divisive (1950, 75). Importantly, for Huizinga, play creates order, but if corrupted, it can stimulate chaos. This paper will analyse how negative viral sports-related commentary, as an example of ‘corrupted play’, has led to an age of chaotic anger and outrage. Crucially, it will illuminate how the rapid fire social media response to ssports-related controversies has impacted the type of news created by mainstream media outlets, the tone of social and traditional media narratives and, ultimately, the decisions made by sporting organisations in times of controversy and crisis. In particular, this paper will focus on the ball tampering scandal that rocked the Australian Test cricket team during their tour of South Africa in 2018. By examining the fallout from the cricketing controversy on social media, it will become evident that the viral response to that controversy fuelled emotive and sensationalist mainstream media narratives and news and even significantly influenced the decisions made by Cricket Australia relating to the penalties handed to the guilty players. Ultimately, the aim of this paper is to highlight how viral media, as an example of corrupted play, has led to an age of sensationalism, anger and outrage which impacts the quality of important discussions, narratives and news.
Description: Open access under Creative Commons Attribution License
DOI: 10.16997/wpcc.317
Journal Title: Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture
Type: Journal Article
Copyright holder: Author
Affiliates: Holmesglen Institute
Holmesglen Department: ESSE-Higher Education
Holmesglen Faculty: Faculty of Education, Service Skills and Environment
Appears in Collections:Academic Resources

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