It is almost hard to believe that we are done yet another school year. As the New Media Literacy course comes to a halt I begin to reflect on what I have learnt in this course. As I mentioned in my early posts, previously I was not a savvy user of social media streams (i.e., Twitter, Sound Cloud, WordPress). These avenues were fairly new to me. For instance, I didn’t understand the idea of tweeting and hash tags; I still don’t quite understand the ‘hype’ behind hash tags and posting sentences with 140 characters. However, I do understand the importance/significance it has on our society (i.e., reaching a wider demographic audience more efficiently/effectively). For instance, consider the impact social media streams have on promoting, distributing, and advertising news content (e.g., posting a link to a great article that you have read and sharing that link among friends, family, coworkers, etc). These new avenues help spread/share links to 100’s of people in minutes vs. older forms of public relations (PR).
One might call this new form of PR/publicity of word of mouth advertising as a marketer/advertisers dream because they don’t have to use conventional tactics of promoting a product. For example, I am a sports producer at BrockTV. For one of my segments I produced a Female Athletes and the media segment. This had a feminist angle which a lot of my co-workers thought would deter it from getting enough viewership; however, it got about 700 views. I was also surprised at how using social networking to share links with friends and family was really important. Creating a Facebook page for the show, and showing the links through social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, were essential and crucial for attaining a substantial amount of hits. I was also surprised at how quickly a news segment can become old news in the eyes of the public. If I did not do any social networking the day the segment was released, my return viewerships were not that strong. In February I had to take a leave of absence from BrockTV and Athletics in order to help my roommate run for president. I was not able to tweet or share the segment I produced. After coming back from elections, the segment had only reached an audience of 23 people, whereas previously I was averaging 1500 views per segment produced. This illustrates that social networking sites are a huge benefit when marketing a product to a consumer.
BrockTV Women in Sport and the Media Segment
Another online website/tool, Storify, is a great website that allows one to create viral videos/articles. This allows a consumer to be able to participate and create a product without having to study film or journalism for four years. Such tools result from the internet and convergence of technology, and they give consumers extraordinary access; “we are the generation that is at the heart of this transformation [remixing media platforms] and that it will be your [our] practices that define the outcome of the conflict over content production in the digital era” (Bird, 2011).
In my opinion, with my experience with the various tools we learned to use in the course (i.e., twitter, blogging, podcasts), I do feel more inclined to become a ‘produser’. “The concept of the ‘produser’ evolved from ‘prosumer’, a term coined by Toffler to describe his projected shift from a passive consumer society to one in which many more people will prefer to provide home-grown services to themselves and others, selectively producing and consuming depending on their interests and expertise” (Bird, 2011). This new avenue to be able to create and communicate our own ideas/opinions to others allows us to have a voice. For instance, blogs give someone a chance to rant or feel passionate about a certain subject. We may be timid and/or shy at times to discuss our thoughts in person; however, the net gives us an opportunity to speak up (e.g., my segment on how female athletes tend to get shafted in the spot light).
Consequently, this does make me wonder what we might lose (be deprived of), as our society has become more involved in producing transmedia as opposed to becoming an active audience. “Thus convergent media have been hailed as creating a ‘cultural shift’, which has realigned the roles of audiences and producers in profoundly new ways” (Bird, 2011). This then gives citizens the opportunity to join the party as producers rather than merely being an active audience and or/consumers. However, what would happen if as a society we lose the opportunity to become an active audience? I tend to think of what this would do to the film and television industry – if everyone is engaging in their own avenue of producing content then how would filmmakers attract an audience? If the audience they are trying to attract isn’t active anymore…..
The impact that the convergence of technology has on society has pros and cons; there are always going to be questions that we cannot answer. I feel that the idea of producers and consumers coming together as one has both positives and negatives. I just hope this does not become another battle the media industry has to face (e.g., illegal downloading).
Bird, S. E. (2011). ARE WE ALL PRODUSERS NOW? Cultural Studies. 25 (4-5), pp. 502-516