Week 3: From Consumers to Producers

1. Do social media platforms predetermine how we participate? Think of the various platforms that you use in your daily life, and think closely about the ways in which participation might be prescribed. (i.e. We can only do so much with what we’re given. A simple example is how we can ‘like’ on Facebook, but we can’t ‘dislike’)

I am in the middle on how if social media platforms predetermine how we participate. I think about the time that I took a social media class last spring, and I learned about similar discussions about how people network in society and how different people communicate on the social media platforms. One of the quotes that struck me was “The relationship between technology and society is one of mutual shaping”. Both technology and social media can have an influence on how we develop our choices, in this case how we participate on these platforms.

When using the first example provided about how we can ‘like’ but we can’t ‘dislike’, is something that still puzzles me to this day, like why cannot we dislike something. Does Facebook make you want to like everything? That is one example of Facebook that can be considered participating on.

Another example is Twitter, people of course have the option to either favourite or retweet a person’s tweet. But people do not have the option of hating what a person tweets, we can only comment on it saying that we hate. Which is the same for Facebook, we cannot ‘dislike’, and instead we only have the option of commenting on it.

We also have Instagram, both different to Twitter and Facebook to how it is run, but the same concept is applied, we can like a picture, but we cannot hate it. I never thought of it in that when thinking about how these platforms want us to participate, by only providing us an option to ‘like’ or to ‘favourite’ comments, but we cannot ‘dislike’. It is run the same way, and I do not see it changing anytime soon.

Going back to the week three, it is interesting to think about us as an active audience. Can we be considered active if we do not have the option in doing so? In this case, social media platforms allow us to participate, only if it something positive. The reason is because their platforms do not want to be associated with bad media, it would affect their company and they will lose followers.

So to me, I do not see myself as an active participant in social media platforms because I do not participate a lot and I do not get an enjoyment of ‘liking’ something, but I still do it anyways.

2. What is Bird’s central argument/critique? Do you agree with Bird’s assessment? Why/why not? Use examples from your own experiences as a ‘produser’ to back up your answer.

Bird’s central argument is focused around the new way of how media is produced. Her focused was whether or not ‘produsers’ is the new way to consume the media. There is also the rising of the Web 2.0, and the way it will affect the global scale of the audience.

I think Bird’s assessment of her understanding of the word ‘produser’ is pretty accurate. How people either interact or view content is based on that person. Every day, people are ‘produsing’, without even knowing it. For example, I might be reading a watching a movie online and then producing my interpretation of the film in my notes and then show people about it. They too will then consume their knowledge of how I interpret the film and will then comment on it. When thinking about social media platforms, an example is viewing a photo of my friend’s photo and what he said in the caption and then commenting on the picture, or even tweeting about it, but every day in North America, people have that ability to do so.

But can I agree that being a ‘produser’ is powerful? I am not sure. Rosen comments on the idea that since new media has become part of our daily lives, it makes it easier on them to produce their content, and ultimately profit on the audience. “You don’t own the eyeballs. You don’t own the press, which is now divided into pro and amateur zones. You don’t control production on the new platform, which isn’t one-way. There’s a new balance of power between you and us” (Rosen, J., p. 506, 2012). And when you think about it, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, are thinking the same way now. They know they have a good product, and their audience is producing content at their will, why not benefit from it.

Another thing is that most places around the world do not have access to such technology. Developing countries do not have to the Internet like North America does, so it is hard to assume that social media can have a global affect if they do not have access to it.

 

Reference

Rosen, Jay. “ The People Formerly Known as the Audience .” The Social Media Reader. Ed. Michael Mandiberg. New York & London: New York University, 2012. 12-16

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