In this day and age, access to the internet, information, the ability to create and broadcast an opinion is rampant. There are no gatekeepers boarding up the channels of access anymore for us normal people. The legacy media used to be the be all and end all of information and the one and only voice of the people. Nowadays, with the help of accessible, no entry fees applicable media platforms, what Jay Rosen in 2006 calls “people formally known as the audience” have an ability to say, record and participate in the world of media.
Monologic broadcasting media is now a dying art, it was the age of passivity and crowd silence. There were channels to go through, where at the borders sat the gate keepers made of publishers, mainstream media, government censorship, editors, journalists and even religious groups. These gatekeepers had the ability to control what was broadcast, reported and printed. But the thing with this is, when you are a silent witness to this, you have this urge to have a voice. Along comes the internet and BOOM. The gatekeepers were suddenly vulnerable to the world of dialogic media. Anyone with access to the big World Wide Web now had a voice.
The audience was suddenly the strongest emerging voice of the world of media. There is still gate keepers, sure, but they are weakened, unable to control and regain the authority they once had. Suddenly there was a shift from one dynamic to another. People were turning to the internet for their news, for their entertainment, for their social interactions. This was pushed by the fact that there is no, if not minimal entry fees for your words to be published. There is no gatekeepers to go through to write a blog, or a Facebook post, or to tweet your day to day life. This immediate satisfaction of seeing your own words, out there in the world, to be able to be seen and viewed and accessed by anyone interested in what you have to say.
To quote Ted Mitew in our week 5 lecture on participatory culture, “Participation is addictive”. And it really is. Access to media platforms that are moderately unmediated and accessible to the world has created a rising trend in people, like you and me, to have a voice, to pick up a camera and begin to record and entertain. Youtube now has videos that have more viewers watching amateur videos than some TV shows have in one show. It has been revealed that youtube has actually taken over in terms of viewers from the legacy of televised content. Not only has it taken over, but it is now a new and improved platform for the audience to engage and respond to, as opposed to the simple ‘one way tv’ system. These days the audience can have a way of participating in television shows through live twitter feeds broadcast onto the Television screen, yet it is still a highly mediated and controlled way of engaging. This rise in audience empowerment has allowed a new generation and age of new media, and new powers for the consumer to bear.
Thank you for listening.
Ted Mitew, week 5 lecture “Will you be my audience? Empowerment, access and participation across media platforms”. 30 March 2015
Jay Rosen, 2006, http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html