Its Starting to Come Together
Posted by oliver550
After reading the third chapter “Participation Power” in Rheingold’s book, I couldn’t help but post on a thought sequence I experienced during the reading. Rheingold gave several different ways the use of emerging media has influenced society, but one sentence in particular resonated with me. “The difference between seeing Twitter as a waste of time or a powerful new community amplifier depends entirely on how you look at it-and how you grasp it.” (p 141) A knife can be used to cut up food and allow a cook to recombine them in a way that creates a wonderful meal. That same knife in the hands of a trained warrior can be deadly. Emerging media is a knife and in the hands of a trained user, it can be deadly.
Consider the example on page 111 where he talks about the youth using their Facebook organizing to overthrow the dictatorship in two weeks. How many hundreds of millions of dollars have governments, including our own, spent trying to change regimes in the past? How much time has been spent and how many lives have been lost to those endeavors? Using Emerging media, the citizens toppled a government in two weeks. Think about it, more powerful (effective) than the U.S. government.
Speaking of the U.S. government, the tidbit on page 125 that explained how bloggers could have possibly changed the 2004 election. Both political parties were represented as liberal bloggers forced the cancellation of a documentary in favor of the republicans and conservative bloggers debunked information about Bush that led to Dan Rather being fired. Dan Rather had been on CBS longer than I had been alive at the time of his departure.
The readings on digital literacy, social networking, blogging, and technical writing are all very informative individually, but collectively, they are a recipe for something bigger and more profound. They are an instructional journey that could enable anyone with an internet connection to help change the world. It may seem overdramatic, I too thought of emerging media as people “liking” posts on Facebook and “following” Ashton Kutcher on what zany nightclub he was at. That is how I looked at emerging media. I don’t know if it was an issue of how I grasped it, but perhaps that I failed to grasp it at all.
Rheingold described how to start organizing your lists to follow the right people, contribute useful content, and how to get in the groove, but I feel so behind. There is no shame in being a cook and continuing to check statuses on Facebook and lurk for information in my favorite online forums. However, I want to take my knife from the kitchen and teach myself how to be an emerging media warrior.
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