Read Alert - Youth Literature

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: audience connection

July 13, 2016

audience Previously: Transmedia (3/6)

From the outset, the minds behind the Lizzie Bennet Diaries sought to create and support rich engagement and activity within the audience. The videos hosted on Youtube were the focal point, however the transmedia elements were integrated seamlessly alongside the release of the story.

From the beginning the writing and transmedia teams were integrated to ensure the highest engagement of audience across multiple platforms. Social networks like Tumblr, Facebook, This Is My Jam, Twitter etc. were craftily enfolded into the story, depending on the interests of different characters. Jane, reconceived as a fashion intern, posts pictures of her daily outfits alongside hair styling tutorials on Lookbook and Pinterest. The uncommunicative Darcy is very rarely a presence on any of the networks, whereas the flighty Lydia prefers the immediacy of video. Every platform was used in a way that is authentic to the characters, resonating greatly with the audience. Through the Lizzie Bennet Diaries well known characters can be explored in a different context to bring new life to the narrative.

Many of the teens (and adults) who have gravitated to this series had no pre-existing knowledge of Austen’s story and as such each new episode was a revelation. The dialogue, acting and variations in story allow more knowledgeable viewers to enjoy the series in equal measure.  In many cases it encouraged those familiar to re-examine characters in a different way.

For those who were new to Austen and ignorant to the storyline of Lizzie and Darcy, LBD was entirely fresh and all too real. Viewers predicted events to follow and directed suggestions, comments and warnings to the characters as if they were real video bloggers. For those familiar with Pride and Prejudice there was plenty to predict also - when would Darcy be announced? How would they update Lydia’s predicament? Why only three sisters? All would be answered throughout the run of the series.

In fact the audience were so greatly involved that the illusion needed to be temporarily interrupted. Austen’s Lydia runs off with the wicked Wickham bringing dishonour to her family eventually resulting in her marriage to said cad. Green and Su’s Lydia finds herself in a different, and very modern predicament, of having a sex tape released. Viewers were so angered by Wickham’s intent to release the video that they were planning to crash the website (specially created as part of the transmedia experience… with countdown as opposed to pornographic content) necessitating the need to break character and request they do not enact these plans.

Next: Adaptation (5/6)