Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Web 2.O Another Frontier

·         Intro
Technology has opened doors for us that we could never open before in our life! If anything, it has made us closer. It gives us the ability to keep in touch with our families, jobs, and friends. The internet used to be just emails and banner ads. It quickly evolved to be something much bigger. We use to come home and watch TV but now we watch TV on the internet. We search on the internet, read blogs, upload pictures, and we update our statuses. We have come to share our lives on the internet. We’re not on the internet as passive observers. We’re on the internet to have a shared experience.

·         What is Web 2.0, and how has the shift in digital culture
We are in a time where technologies make it easier for ordinary people to take media into their own hands. They are able to create, share, and express themselves in every possible media channel. Examples include fan communities, groups of gamers, blogging population, and various subcultures online. What these groups have in common is that they have environments that are supportive in which to create and share what you create with others that there is a real respect for the creative process and there is an assumption that whoever is a reader can become a writer and whoever is a consumer can just become a producer.

Web 2.0 describes a new version to the world wide web. It is sites such as YouTube or Facebook that allow users to connect and interact with as producers or creators of content in a digital world. Web 2.0 is removes the barriers that older Web sites had that limited users to easy access to user-generated content.

A great example that has embraced Web 2.0 would be Geni, a genealogy and social networking website. I became familiar with this site last year when I was searching my family tree and Geni was the most helpful. Like Facebook, it aims to connect people. However, unlike Facebook, Geni seeks to connect families with a shared family tree of common ancestors. It is fairly simple to use with tips every step of the way. People lives have become busier with very little time to waste. Sites, such as this, are becoming popular because they have evolved with peoples busy schedules. It has evolved to compliment man’s desire to connect and produce their own content.

·         How has it empowered ordinary people to become media producers and distributors?
This is what Web 2.0 is also about participatory culture and spreadable media. Participatory culture is a term that refers to a culture of people that do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers. Henry Jenkins added that the key elements of participatory culture include low barriers to participation, strong support for sharing, informal mentorship, members who feel that their contributions matter, and who cares about others' participation. Participatory cultures reward participation. Not everyone must participate, but everyone must believe that if they participate it will be valued.

Web 2.0 has allowed for people to take to social media and share their skills with the world and help contribute to produsage.  Sites such YouTube allow people share their skills with world. It displays a wide variety of independent videos. This included “Hollywood” movie clips, television show clips, music videos, a wide variety of amateur created videos such as video blogging “vlogging”, short original videos, and educational videos. YouTube can define as “user-friendly.” From your casual viewers, to your independent producers anyone can use YouTube. With this access to an easy interface, many users have taken to this site as there way of expressing themselves.

Produsage is best described through the examples that the web has produced over the years. A good example would be the rap artist “Souja Boy.” The young artist decided to make a catchy song and dance and uploaded it to YouTube. There it spread like wild fire, make Souja Boy famous within hours. He allowed people to take the video and make their own dance videos and share them without any compensation. This made him a conduit of produsage in which people took his work and produced their own version.

Another example would be Rooster Teeth’s Red vs. Blue.  Red vs. Blue is probably the first web series and first video I ever watched on YouTube itself. Red vs. Blue is a comedic parody series based on the Halo video game franchise, created by Rooster Teeth Productions. Red vs. Blue was created by using voice-over and prerecorded gameplay videos of on the Microsoft Xbox and Xbox 360. The series followed the Machinima techniques of other videos seen by using synchronizing video footage from a game to pre-recorded dialogue and other audio.

Series did so well that seasonal DVDs were released due such a high demand for them. Initially the series intended to be very short; the project quickly and unexpectedly achieved significant popularity following its Internet release on April 1, 2003. Praised for its originality, the series has won four awards at film festivals held by the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences. It has also won the award from "Best Animated Web Series" from the International Academy of Web Television. The series was credited with bringing new popularity to the YouTube channel “machinima,” helping it to gain more mainstream exposure, and influencing more people create their own videos that matched this art form.

·         How it has this affected many of the media industries?
For years, newspapers have been one of Americas’ primary sources of global, national, and local news. We rely on them for the information that we needed to understand what is happening in our world. But today, newspapers across the country, including in the north east region, are in crisis. Declining circulation and advertising revenue have led to staff cuts, less content, and even bankruptcy, putting in question the ability of the newspaper industry to continue providing vital information to the public.

It’s no secret that journalism has had to step down from the pedestal it was once on. In a way this descent has been, in part, a result of its own doing and in part because it has failed to keep up with the times. While technology has progressed, journalism has to a certain extent been unable to re-invent itself in the digital sphere and has simultaneously been unable to sustain itself in the analog sphere.

Journalism is being given tough competition by sites such as Twitter and Facebook, where traditional forms of news reporting do not matter anymore. What traditional media outlets can't do anymore, is cover breaking news. That is one of the fundamental problems facing journalism today. With reporting become by the second as opposed to daily, consumer’s habits have changed and unfortunately newspapers haven’t been able to keep up. But we are forgetting that there's a difference between information and knowledge, If a bomb goes off in Afghanistan, people can read about it instantly on Twitter but they won't be able to know what it means. Where did it come from? Who did it? What's happening over there? That is what journalism can do. There is no doubt about it, Facebook and Twitter are now pathways to news, but their role may not be as large as some have suggested. The population that uses these networks for news at all is still relatively small, especially the part that does so very often. Moreover, these social media news consumers have not given up other methods of getting news, such going directly to websites, using apps or through search. In other words, social media are additional paths to news, not replacements for more traditional ones.

Like what was stated previously, Facebook and Twitter have become new pathways to news. People have been relying in these social media sites for their news, family updates, weather reports, and place they can share everything.  Public relation jobs and industries have also adopted this form of news spreading. Being a public affairs officer myself for a non-profit organization, I know full well how social media plays an important role. Social media has become a tool to use to reach out to modern people today. It has become a way for big organization, such as Taco Bell, to directly communicate to its customers and relating to them. This creates a new form of marketing and brings in more trusting customers.
·         Conclusion
In my conclusion, Web 2.0 is only the beginning of a new shift in digital culture. You can easily see as time goes on, technology will advance which will change the way we receive our information and entertainment. With social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, people can connect and share themselves more than ever before. I, personally, look forward to the future of Web 2.0 and the frontiers it will take mankind.

Work Cited
·         Christian, A. (2012, 11 11). Youtube’s fading ‘halo’. Retrieved from http://tvisual.org/2012/11/11/youtubes-fading-halo/
·         Informa Telecoms and Media. (2012, 03 30). Machinima to launch prime, prepares for first youtube ‘upfront’. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltveurope.net/22678/machinima-to-launch-prime-prepares-for-first-youtube-upfront/
·           Klowden, K. (2008, 06). Writers’ strike of 2007–2008 the economic impact of digital distribution. Retrieved from http://www.milkeninstitute.org/pdf/writers_strike.pdf
·         Jenkins, Henry. Fans, bloggers, and gamers: exploring participatory culture. New York: New York University Press, 2006. Print.

·         Rose, Frank . "Deep Media." 'Deep Media'. Frank Rose , n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. <http://www.deepmediaonline.com/deepmedia/2013/01/henry-jenkins-on-spreadable-media.html>.

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