The media industry was once large corporations which produced theentertainment. However people are now becoming the producers through theinternet which allows them to create and distribute their own ideas much moreeasily.Yet things like Facebook and Youtube are now open for people to express theiropinions, which means that we live in a democratic society.Through the development of blogs and social networking sites, people have beenallowed to express their opinions on news stories, and share news stories theyfind interesting. This technology has lead to "We Media" emerging.Examples Facebook and Youtube (Vevo)According to Charles Leadbetter the Internet is thehome of mass innovation (the creation of better ormore effective products, processes, ideas etc) becauseit allows many conversations, and these lead to newideas and allow creativity to evolve. Also, since Vevo
can only be accessed through specific technological devices, this makes Vevo lessdemocratic in comparison with other websites like Youtube, which can beaccessed by anyone who has an internet connection.Clay Shirky however, believes that the development of online communications,and social media has allowed ideas and information to be shared easily. Suchwebsites as Youtube and Facebook have created a platform for masscollaboration – which involves groups of people sharing ideas because of socialactivism online.However, EvgenyMorozovargues that new internet technologies can bringthreats along with the opportunities. This has lead to social media sites (such asTwitter and Facebook) to monitor their users and to engage in surveillance.An example of this is Chinese Internet Censorship, where the Internet police ismade up of over 30,000 people. These governmental authorities have not onlytried to block certain kinds of content on the internet, but they also monitor theInternet access of individuals – meaning that the democracy of internet users inChina is quite heavily restricted.He also looks at how the actual use of the internet is very different to its intendeduse, which was true of Twitter, as a threat was made by a Twitter user, saying hewas going to blow up Robin Hood Airport within a week because it was closed,which got him sent to a trial in court where he was found guilty and he had to pay a£3,000 bill. Clearly the intended use of Twitter is for people to share opinions abouttheir lives, but in this case Twitter was not used for this purpose.
There was also a case where an official in the US state department, Jared Cohen, sentan email to Twitter. He mentioned how Twitter was playing a crucial role in Iran as away for protestors of the disputed results of the presidential election. He implored thesocial networking site to daily routine maintenance work it had planned for thefollowing day that would have brought down all its feeds in Iran and possiblydisrupted the organisation of the protests. Twitter complied, putting off themaintenance for 24 hours, thus allowing the flow of tweets to continue uninterrupted.The web not only allows people to publish content, but also to share, connect,and collaborate so that groups of people can create certain sites, music videos,blogs, etc together. This is why the web is a platform for mass creativity andinnovation. This relates to the shut down of Megaupload where people were ableto upload and share any content online. However this website breachedcopyright laws because it was deemed to misuse file sharing.People worldwide are able to freely share their opinions as to what types ofsongs/music video content appeals to them, which makes it so that more peoplebecome aware of them. This has lead to music industries producing particularmusic videos/songs that may entertain specific target audiences in differentways, compared to other types of music videos/songs of the same/differentgenres.David Gauntlett would support the points made in the above paragraph, as hewould say that the internet has provided people with a new way of creativelyexploring their identities, and has allowed us to find happiness by constructingthese identities through the media, and making and sharing our own personalmedia content with others – a good example of this being “Guitar Song – MemoryLane” as seen on Youtube. (example from youtube)Other identities can also be creatively explored in video games, such asBattlefield 3 and Minecraft, where people can freely customise their owncharacters, make up their own stories, experience the game however they like.Bethesda StudiosSkyrim - which is an open world RPG, is another type of videogame which allows for the player to choose what their character looks like andwhat skills they have at their disposal. It also allows players to only do the queststhey want to.Andrew Keen would argue that since anyone can produce and shareproducts on the internet, this has made it so that the authority of
actual media companies is being taken less seriously – meaning that he thinksthat we-media isn’t democratic.This could, to some extent, be true of some music videos and tributes to songsthat have been made by people who don’t work in the media industry. Thisallows “mock versions” of particular songs to be made, which make fun of themusic artist(s) or the songs themselves, meaning that the authority of the musiccompanies is being taken less seriously by some internet users. (example fromYoutube)People can work together (using shared information from social networkingsites) to produce new types of music videos, which can be posted either onFacebook (a social networking site) orYouTube. Because of this, more people cancomment on music videos or video clips that have been produced, and thereforegive the producers (who are, in some sense, consumers) ideas as to what wouldmake their video appeal more to either an individual, a specific group of people,or a particular target audience.However, not everyone will have access to the internet, so some people in poorerparts of the world (eg Africa and parts of Kenya) will not have access to musicvideo websites, as they won’t have the internet, and they won’t havetechnological devices (such as iPods and MP3 Players) that would allow them tolisten to music. Henry Jenkins would argue thatYoutube has shown us is that aparticipatory culture isnt a diverse culture. According to John McMuria, minoritygroups are grossly under-represented - at least amongst the most heavily viewedvideos on Youtube.There are however, some music videos which do represent some minoritygroups, suchas the “Going On” music video by Gnarls Barkley, and “Bornfree” byMIA. This means that to some extent, minority groups are represented in someforms of media on the internet.
Tanya Byron believes that there is a generational digital divide between youngpeople who are more experienced with technology than their parents. This canlead to adults being over-protective of particular media, which they assume willhave a negative influence on their children’s behaviour, even though they havelittle/no understanding of newer media technologies. This also means thatchildren can easily access inappropriate materials, which is true of music videossuch as “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green, which contains strong language that couldmake some children behave in an antisocial manner. Also, Linda Papadopouloswould support Tanya’s theory, as she would say that the web also over-exposeschildren to sexual content which encourages them to accept harmful genderstereotypes.Sherry Turkle looks at the negative issues surrounding false identity being usedonline. She also suggests that assuming different online persona can also betherapeutic. She discovered that people use virtual reality to act as if it were reality.People act the same way in virtual reality as they do in reality, demonstrating suchbehaviours as romance aggression and jealousy.The internet links millions of people and it has begun to dictate the way we think andlearn. For example, BBC Bitesize – where children and students can learn forthemselves.Sherry Turkle also identifies that we create different identities for ourselves at home,at work and online through social media and virtual worlds. She argues that we usedigital spaces to experiment with new ways of thinking and relating to others –facebook. A situation where somebody used other identities was when a teenagernamed Gemma Barker used Facebook to make others believe that she was 3 differentboys; - Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack and Luke Jones. She used these otheridentities to grope other teen girls.David Buckingham believes that although young people can use technology andsocial media to produce their own media, they must have a good enoughunderstanding of media and technologies to be able to do this. Good examples of thisare Justin Beibers music videos on Youtube – some of which have more “dislikes”than “likes”, not because of his talent, but because these people don’t like the artisthimself, but for these young people to be able to use Youtube to dislike a video, theirunderstanding of the internet must be good enough for them to be able to do this.