Throughout my blog posts, I will include questions that my professor has given to the class. So I encourage whoever is following my blog, if you would like to comment on how I answer a particular question, fill free to do so. Making an opinion is not going to have a right or wrong answer, but it is based on how your prove it.
Think about your own modes of participation. What are some of the ways in which your everyday digital practices having you participating, willingly or not? How have your participatory practices evolved over time?
In North America, we have seen the evolution of how people are able to participate in the global village. For example, many young adults today have a smart phone, that not only connect to the web, but it connects to accounts that you have on the web, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Even though these apps have different purposes, they are still connected to one another, which is the reason why more often, we are participating in these digital practices. These apps encourage you to do so. For instance, you can post a picture on your Instagram, and it gives you the option to post on your Facebook and Twitter account for you. It is happening all the time and we have become accustomed to doing it. This has become a routine for many people, including myself, that either I am participating in practices because I want to or applications are forcing me to.
Has technology evolved participatory practices that exist today, not necessarily. Of course, you would think that having high speed internet and the latest phone would improve the speed of how you communicate, and I agree that it has. But has it affected the way people communicate with language and in our social practices today, no. Shaefer explains ” Another phase, often labelled as ‘he second coming of the Web’, build upon the existing infrastructure and large audiences familiar with basic features and media practices as well as a large number of skilled users who can actually participate in developing application further”. (Shaefer, p.35). This can be interpreted by stating that application today needed existing media outlets to enhance their own application. Users today have the ability to enhance these applications.
This also applies to how we communicate today. There are language barriers that have existed before the WWW existed, and it is up to people to get past them, not the reliance of the Internet. The language seen on the web is based on what people are saying via blogs, websites, documents, etc. not the Internet. The Internet is a gateway for users to distribute information for people around the world to see.
How can we think critically about participation in relation to our contemporary digital environment that eschews technological determinism? In other words, what are the affordances and constraints of a participatory culture?
I have provided a URL link to a website that provided some interesting arguments to participatory culture, focused on the works by Henry Jenkins.
But to answer the question, technology is not the driving force on how people participate. It is up people to say whether or not I want to use the Internet today. But it makes it so hard to say no to it. Technology such as laptops, cell phones, game consoles, television, has enhanced the way people can communicate. On the new Xbox, not only can you play video games, but you can watch PPV, listen to music, watch movies and television shows, update your twitter and facebook accounts and share whatever you like. Technology today has become blended, that more platforms provide more for us.
Some affordances about participatory culture are developing new communication skills. People are able to focus on different activities at once (multitasking). People are able to join different communities, create their own personality online, and interact with people who share the same qualities.
Some constraints includes, not everyone might have this, either from where they live, to being poor, so not everyone can have access to it. Privacy has become a huge topic, because these apps basically have access to well, everything. And it has affected the traditional ways of communicating. There is too much reliance on a particular outlet. Similar to cultivation theory, focus on how much people watch violence on television, and later becoming that violence because they watched it for long periods of time.
Are people becoming the Internet? Well no, that’s impossible. But are we easily influenced by it, probably yes.