The Social Media Reader

The Social Media Reader

The Social Media Reader

The Social Media Reader

Synopsis

This collection addresses the collective transformation with pieces on social media, peer production, copyright politics, and other aspects of contemporary internet culture from all the major thinkers in the field.

Excerpt

Beginning with the printing press, technological innovations have enabled the dissemination of more and more media forms over broader and broader audiences. This mass media built and maintained a unidirectional relationship between a few trained professional media producers and many untrained media consumers. This model, which reached its peak in the middle to late twentieth century, began to shift in the 1980s with the widespread use of photocopiers, home video cameras, and mixtapes and evolved further with desktop publishing, home computing, and increased Internet access. By the early 2000s, the cost of computers, software, and Internet access decreased, allowing individuals access to the same tools of production used by professionals. In this period, new media forms such as blogs and social networking sites have focused squarely on active audience participation, uprooting the established relationship between media producer and media consumer. At the end of this first decade of the twenty-first century, the line between media producers and consumers has blurred, and the unidirectional broadcast has partially fragmented into many different kinds of multidirectional conversations.

Access to tools and the invention of new media forms allow formerly passive media consumers to make and disseminate their own media. New technological frameworks have arisen that center on enabling this media creation: message boards, audience-driven review sites, blogs and comment systems, photo- and video-sharing websites, social networks, social news sites, bookmark-sharing sites, and microblogging platforms, to name some of the more prominent ones. These new frameworks have become more and more focused on enabling media creation, as this so-called amateur media becomes the raison d’être of these very professional media organizations. These sites are pointless without audience participation: from the audience’s perspective, in order to experience the site you have to become a media producer, and from the organizations’ perspective, without audience production their sites will fail. These media forms include a spectrum of engagement . . .

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