Disrecognized Space

agressi sunt mare tenebrarum, quid in eo esset exploraturi

MED104 Learning Log

Week 1/ Introduction: How does the media engage you? How do you engage with the media?

Henry Jenkins: Critical Information Studies for a Participatory Culture (Part Two)

Jenkins sees us at a critical point in forming ‘participatory culture’ (which he sees from an internet utopian viewpoint), and suggests a number of issues that need to be addressed in order to achieve such a culture:
Fundamentally, information about the potentials and how to deal with the risks of new media is required, rather than the current climate of fear mongering.
There is a ‘participation gap’ whereby some users are more fully engaged in the new media than others.
Schools (and other public institutions) are not necessarily the best places to foster participation in new media at the moment with their policy limitations and focus on skills which are quantifiable.
The ‘wisdom of the crowds’ needs to be addressed in the context of new methods of engaging it in order to expand participation.
Cyberspace is in danger of mirroring real world divisions since many sites are run by a hierarchical system, and this can lead to fracturing of minority groups into unconnected units.
Fair Use versus Copyright is a major legal stumbling block to new media.
Terms of production and consumption, and the appropriate economic model, need to be defined for new media. There is a danger that ‘free labour’ becomes ‘unpaid labour’.
‘Citizen journalism’ is a misnomer. Rather, new media allows participants to utilise journalism and other existing media sources to transform, reroute and circumvent censorship.
New media changes the politics of globalisation from a state based model to a user (often interest specific) based model.
New media potentially allows for a new grassroots democracy, and we need to consider how this can be used to create participatory democracy rather than just participatory culture.

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Convergence: the new folk arts

Convergence, due to its democratizing effect and replacement of one-to-many media sources with many-to-many, has changed media consumption from an essentially passive activity to one that is active and involved in a manner akin to that used to produce folk arts in preindustrial societies, where everyone has access to the ability to use the cultural materials in their own way should they choose to.In 1999 the internet was defined (Microsoft, 1999, p 115) as a place where “you can receive information”. Convergence, and the participatory culture it has created, has allowed for new distribution methods that circumvent the corporate controls of preexisting media where users not only now ‘receive’ but also ‘transmit’ information. Traditionally, media was produced and distributed by a few for the consumption of the many (one to many distribution). The distributed nature of the internet, as well as the ready availability of cheap or free software and hardware tools, has allowed this model to change to a many to many distribution format (without necessarily, at this stage, eliminating the old model) (Jenkins, 2009b). Convergence, as defined by Jenkins (2006) is primarily a social phenomena: participation is its main feature, technology only its enabling aspect.

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