Internet and Participatory Culture – Opportunities and challenges T.Shyam Swaroop & Dr.M.Rabindranath Yogi Vemana University, Kadapa-516003, Andhra Pradesh
Introduction The Internet phenomenon is continuously evolving globally . Instrument of information accession – Source of information dissemination – Platform for exchange and moulding of people’s opinion .
The Annual I-Cube report by the Internet Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) Internet users in India by December 2011 121 million internet users Internet usage 4-6 times a week - 48% Daily - 28% Area of access to internet Cyber cafes – 67% Home - 37%. Users from cities 92 millions Rural areas -29 millions (Hindu, November 14, 2011)
Gartner, IT research company report Mobile sales forecast in India – 231 million - up by8.5 % (Hindu, November 21, 2011) Study by IMRB and IAMAI Mobile Internet users - 12 million – 127 million mobile subscribers out of 471 million total subscribers – Internet ready phones -27% Active users – 2 million
But , c an an ‘active internet user’ be considered as ‘participative’? Can the shift of Internet usage from passive to active be regarded as an indication of ‘Participatory Culture’?
“ The Web isn’t what you can do with Computers. It’s about people who are connected by Computers” Tim Berners Lee, Director World Wide Web Consortium
Participation is generally defined as the people’s involvement in the decision-making process through self –organized action (Cohen, Uphoff, 1962) The participation of people can be in many ways and ranging from information giving, consultation, interaction, self – mobilisation. (Pretty et al.1995)
Pew Internet and American Life project 2005 The growing number of American young people who are embracing the new participatory culture 57 percent of teens are media creators created blogs, web pages, posted original artworks, photos, stories, videos, remixed online content. 1/3 rd of teens share what they create online. 22% have their own websites, 19% blog. 19% remix online content. 40% urban youth 28% suburban youth 38% rural youth are media creators. Among 15-17 years 27% of Girls 17% boys are involved social activities online.
“ While to adults the Internet primarily means the World Wide Web, for children it means email, chat, games and here they are already content producers. Too often neglected, these communication and entertainment focused activities, by contrast with the information-focused uses at the centre of public and policy agendas, are driving emerging media literacy. Through such uses, children are most engaged— multi-tasking, becoming proficient at navigation and manoeuvre so as to win, judging their participation and that of others”- Livingstone , (2003, pp.15-16) ,
Pew Internet Centre & American Life Project, Nov 23 rd –Dec 21, 2010 - ‘Social side of the Internet ’ Net using American adults are actively involved in various social & community organizations . 41% are active in religious and spiritual groups, 28%- sports & recreation leagues, 27% - consumer groups, 26% - charitable associations, 20% - trade associations, 17% - political organizations, 11% - youth groups or scouts, 9% - labour unions & 9% - environmental groups . The project establishes a link between competent net users who are able to apply their community networks in the real field situations . The date supports the fact that participation culture can result in social action and can result in empowering people in decision-making process.
Hypothesis Internet as a communication medium has increased the ‘active participation’ of Citizens individually and socially in the media content when compared to other media forms. Internet tools especially new media tools have increased the interactivity between the communities there by increasing the ‘communication competence’ of individuals, initiating ‘self organized action’ and influencing decision making process. Therefore Participation culture can result in collective and active social participation of all forms of groups in the society .
1. To compare participatory culture in various forms of media.
2. To study the increase of Participatory culture through Internet in terms of
Use and application &‘Social software’ i.e. instant messaging, blogs, Social networks by users.
Content creation &sharing by users.
Social promotion & increase of collective wisdom of participants.
3. To study the opportunities and challenges faced by increased public participation
Theory Media Dependency theory Sandra Ball –Rockeach & Melvin De Fleur, 1976 . Communication Competence theory Spitzberg & Cupach, in 1984. Hierarchy of Needs proposed by Abraham Maslow
Community Building on the Web- Book written by Amy Jo Kim Online community expert She mapped Maslow’s offline needs to online community equivalents. People are motivated to participate in order to achieve a sense of belonging to a group, to build self-esteem through contributions, to garner recognition for contributing, and to develop new skills and opportunities for ego building and self-actualization.
Sample Among the population of internet users in Andhra Pradesh 200 internet users belonging to different age groups from four different metropolitan cities i.e. Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Karimnagar and Kadapa (50 each) were taken as sample for study. The data was collected between August & September 2011. The sampling within the selected towns was done on ‘2-stage random’ basis , i.e. first a random selection of Internet cafes and then a random selection of households was done followed by systematic random basis , selection of every n th user in the internet café and households. Proper care was taken to see that the sample covers age groups from 12 to 60. Apart from that personal, online interviews, were taken from 50 senior media professionals and experts in the field.
Methodology The Structured questionnaire method & Personal interview method were used for data collection. Both open a close ended questions on new media habits, types of uses, knowledge and skill in running various tools, participation factors like creation & sharing of audio, video and other media content etc. The personal interviews & mail interviews were taken from various media professional and experts on issues like impact of participatory culture on media and society including their analysis of opportunities and challenges .
1. Internet Users age wise Sl.No. Age Group No of Internet Users Percentage 1 18-35 82 41% 2 36-50 64 32% 3 51-65 42 21% 4 65 above 12 6% Total 200 100%
2. Internet usage in hours . Sl.No. Periodicity of Internet use No of Internet Users Percentage 1 Once in a week 34 17% 2 2-3 times a week 78 39% 3 Daily 88 44% Total 200 100%
3. Popular Online activities, Use of Social Software Sl.No. Online Activity No. of Internet Users % of Internet Users 1 Send or Read E-Mail. 200 100% 2 Use a Search engine 200 100% 3 Watch Videos 178 89% 4 Search Maps 171 85.5% 5 Friendship / Contracts 169 84.5% 6 Job Search 168 84% 7 Matrimony 160 80% 8 E-Greetings 154 77% 9 Join in Social Networks 149 74.5% 10 PC to Mobile SMS 148 74%
3. Popular Online activities, Use of Social Software 11 Screen Savers /Wall papers 144 72% 12 Download Music 138 69% 13 Cinema Content 137 68.5% 14 Send Instant Messages 134 67% 15 Purchase of Products 133 66.5% 16 Online Chatting 132 66% 17 Online Education 128 64% 18 Read Online News 122 61% 19 Post in a Blog 116 58% 20 Pay Bills Online 103 51.5%
3. Popular Online activities, Use of Social Software 21 Play Online Games 102 51% 22 Astrology 92 46% 23 Online Donations 84 42% 24 Rate a product or service 76 38% 25 Bank online 56 28% 26 Online Auctions 42 21% 27 Download Podcasts 41 20.5%
Sl. No. Activities percentage Type of activity 1 100% Send or Read E-Mail, Use a Search engine 2 51% to 100% Watch Videos, Search Maps, Friendship / Contracts, Job Search, Matrimony, E-Greetings, Join in Social Networks, Join in Social Networks, PC to Mobile SMS, Screen Savers /Wall papers, Download Music, Cinema Content, Send Instant Messages, Purchase of Products, Online Chatting, Online Education, Read Online News, Post in a Blog, Pay Bills Online, Play Online Games. 3 0 to 50% Astrology, Online Donations, Rate a product or service, Bank online, Online Auctions, Download Podcasts.
4. Habitual Shift Sl.No. Online Activity Habitual shift from Percentage 1 e-Mailing Writing Letters, Telegrams etc. 100% 2 Information Search Books, Manuals, Guides 100% 3 Download Music Buying CD/DVD 75% 4 Job Search Searching in News Papers 65% 5 Chatting Conversation by other forms 55% 6 Pay Bills Online Paying in e-Seva centres. 68% 7 Purchase of Products Visiting Shops, Malls 45% 8 Online News Reading News Papers 69% 9 Online Games Other outdoor and Indoor Games 45% 10 Matrimony News papers, Marriage Bureaus, 63% 11 Astrology Reading from News Papers 68% 12 E-Greetings Sending Greeting Cards 85% 13 Screen Savers /Wall papers Purchasing posters, pictures 100% 14 Friendship / Contracts Personal Contacts, Phone Books 100% 15 Cinema Content Reviews, opinions, Rating Shows 65% 16 Search Maps Purchasing Road maps 78%
5. Content Creation Sl. No Content creation activity Number of users Percentage 1 Uploading photos for tagging on Internet 38 19% 2 Shooting Video, editing, uploading in internet for sharing 24 12% 3 Writing news articles, opinion articles for internet 13 6.5% 4 Encoding cinema DVD and placing it for downloading 8 4% 5 Creating Podcast and delivering through internet 5 2.5% 6 Creating websites for information, entertainment 2 1% 7 Creating blog. 1 0.5%
6. Reasons for not indulging in content creating activities Sl. No Reasons for not creating Content Number of users Percentage 1 Lacking technical Knowledge and skill in performing such functions 106 53% 2 Lack of necessary software or technology, tools, 25 12.5% 3 Lack of individual computers (desktops, laptops) 26 13% 4 Lack of interest, time 5 2.5% Total 162 81%
7. Active users and Participatory users Sl. No. Type of users Number of users Percentage 1 Active Users 162 81% 2 Participatory users 38 19% Total 200 100%
All those participants who have participated in field programmes are content creators.
Sl. No. Social participation of participatory internet users Number of users Percentage 1 Members in social or community clubs 97 48.5% 2 Participation in campaigns Participation in online campaigns 128 64% Participation in the field 36 18%
Reasons for Participation Social recognition Platform for new voices Form interest groups Information dissemination
Opportunities User generated content Changed attitude towards intellectual property Virtual communities Peer-to-peer learning More role play Diversification of cultural expression Network effect Empowered conception of citizenship .
Challenges The Participation Gap Elatedness’ – limited to netizens . Transparency Problem Editorial supremacy - Gate keeping - Disinformation campaigns The Ethics Challenge Breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and socialization - London riots
An opposition supporter holds up a laptop showing images of celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square, after Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak resigned, February 11, 2011 .
Delegates hold up mobile devices during the Bilbao Web Summit in the Palacio Euskalduna, Spain, May 17, 2011 .