Creeper or Favoured Produser – Participatory Culture on the Web 2.0

After reading Jay Rosen’s article The People Formerly Known as the Audience, I can’t help but to agree with his take on the state of media today in relation to the Web 2.0. Yes, today’s media society allows for any and everybody with access to the internet and the web to create and post their own creative content and send it out for everyone in the world to see, however, this does not mean that – as he exaggerates of media people’s concern in his article – “ ‘if all would speak who shall be left to listen’ “ is an actual problem.  I second Rosen’s statement that audiences are content to let media engagement retain its old style and have its one way form of consumption while we choose when and where to offer our input or take creative license with content on the web.

As Rosen accurately stated, users tend to form communities online on sites that interest them – within these sites they develop the ability to sense other users that have trustworthy and valid information or content. This is especially important in today’s media society where there is an abundance of inaccurate, exaggerated and just plain false content floating around out there. Social media platforms do predetermine the way we participate with them and this directly relates to finding trustworthy fellow users to follow on the web. For instance, with sites like Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook some users may be more active at posting than others who just scroll through their feed, or those who just follow valid celebrity or other user accounts that capture their interest. One might feel the need to participate and post when something strikes their attention enough to voice their own opinion or contribute with their own content.  To contradict this however, one may ask why do some users feel the need to create accounts of their own to generate a constant stream of content – such as fan accounts – does that mean that we perceive our own ways of participating with social media platforms based on what we want to do online.

This relates back to Bird who believes that as a member of society today “being an audience member is basically what people do continually” (512). The social media sites that we frequent do make us audience members to our friends’ posts on Facebook, to the tweets of those we follow on Twitter and the posts on Tumblr. I am on the fence about her question if this makes us all ‘produsers’, no every post or tweet may not be artistically moving or culturally relevant but we still choose to subject ourselves to the content on our social media pages. And now social media is responding to this by allowing us to hide the content in our Facebook newsfeed or unfollow those users who we might not like, so we have the option not to be an audience to their words.

Having my own Tumblr blog with a substantial amount of followers I have experienced firsthand being extremely picky about the content that I wish to see on my dashboard by fellow Tumblr bloggers whose content I deem appropriate and up to a certain standard. I have also experienced the praise and, oddly enough, fan reaction to those send me messaged in my inbox telling me that they enjoy my blog and ‘fangirl’ (yes it was odd) when I replied to them.

All in all I believe this is a more complex issue than simply saying we’re not all produsers because with the internet being the Web 2.0 participatory culture it is today, simply joining these social media platforms is choosing to participate with Facebook rather than those who adamantly refuse to have an account.  I believe Rosen had it right when he states we choose when and where to participate, though we are always ‘creeping’ these sites to see what is being produced. 

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