Week two of my exploration of this frightening online world is unlocked, and as my online activity increases, my online critique proportionately decreases, which puts me in a confusing state of excitement over this enormous pile of possibility that I now see, and frustration that all of my critical reflections about digital media are being confronted.
Two weeks ago, I was only using the digital platforms Facebook and SnapChat, and I was only using them for the purpose of communicating with my friends. When entering the #ALC203 unit, I was to explore different online platforms such as about.me, Twitter and LinkedIn by creating profiles to actively be a part of the world, and not just passively observing it. This was so new and artificial to me that I had to write down all the profiles that I had now created, just to remember their names. Hours were spent on these platforms to anthropologically observe how people acted, and to click on all the different features to figure it all out.
And here I am two weeks in, and I am using the profiles like it is a part of my daily routine. It feels very natural to me, which may be due to the fact that even though I have been avoiding digital medias, I have been growing up in a world where those platforms are an integrated part of the world. I am posting, liking, exploring, and commenting. In other words, I am becoming a part of the Web 2.0 produsage-terminology (Bruns & Smidt 2011) rather that just studying the meaning of it. And I feel engaged in the world.
The English professor of creativity and design, David Gauntlett, is describing my emotion rather sophisticated. As a passive consumer of media platforms such as television, I build upon the sit back and being told-culture, whereas my active use of media platforms such as Twitter is making me a part of the making and doing-culture. By participating in the world, I start to care because I experience how I have a say in the world, even though I do not have a degree jet. Gauntlett goes as far as saying that because of this change of culture, digital media can have a positive effect on major issues like global warming. If citizens become active citizens who feel engaged in the world, they are more likely to care about global warming and hence make an effort to find ideas of solutions, because they can contribute to the world as well as experts can. Even though I think this theory seems to simplify complex structures, I admire the equality in society that the theory builds upon.
With this being said, I am still concerned with some of the more philosophical consequences of digital media. Having seen the second episode of Black Mirror called ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, where people in a dystopian future live their lives based on digital media, without the ability to escape its manipulative advertisements. Even though the episode might be exaggerated in the prediction about the future, I critically consider the consequences on basing ones life and the interaction with people and society upon social media, which in one way or another inevitably is a business with an agenda.
Without being too critical towards the capitalistic structure within social media, I look forward to be an active part of week three as well.
Bruns, A and Schmidt, J 2011, ‘Produsage: a closer look at continuing developments’, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 3-7
Gauntlett, D, ‘Participation culture, creativity, and social change’, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNqgXbI1_o8 (16.03.2017)