Digital Revolution: The Benefits of Modern Broad-Based Participatory Media

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It is said that we are now entering an era of digital revolution. 'Cyberspace' has become the new place for people around the world to communicate, “surfing the internet” is no longer a novel phrase, people can 'friend' and 'unfriend' someone he or she has never met over social networks and you can chat with a monkey over the Internet for maybe half an hour without realizing the true identity of the other 'person'. One may say that aspects of cyberspace are surreal, maybe even bizarre but I think this is exactly why the digital world is so amazing. Nowadays, “broad-based participatory media” is all around us, and I support the view espoused by Henry Jenkins in his article Contacting the Past that it is much more preferable to a “centralized system of commercial broadcasting”. Participatory media is where everyone can participate and express their ideas without discrimination, and where social networks like Google, Wikipedia, Youtube and Facebook have built up a platform for communication worldwide. On these websites, people of all ages, countries, religions and cultural backgrounds gather together to share their unique viewpoints, open up their daily lives, swap anecdotes, discuss politics with others and many other myriad aspects of their beliefs, values and opinions. Cyberspace has become a place with the most democratic of structures, where individuals are not only the receivers, but also the transmitters of news. I am now frequent user of social networks, for instance Facebook or Renren (the most popular social website in China). However, before I became an actual user of these websites, social networks, including Internet chat tools made no sense to me. Why are so many people so fond of talking to people that I do not... ... middle of paper ... ...e of the Internet by citizens and by corporations will cause severe problems if the convenience and freedom are manipulated by terrorists or criminals. Yet, it is not that that the social networks have democracy and do not have limitations and regulations. Just as it is in real life, cyberspace has its laws and administrators as well. While there were cases where hackers hack into military computer systems, this does not fall into the category of “participatory media”, and while terrorist or criminals may utilize the social networks to spread there evil idea or commit crimes, these, nevertheless, cannot be completely avoided. Thus, the use of Internet, especially those social networks, fits perfectly into Jenkins’ assumption that “broad-based participatory media” is preferable to a “centralized system of commercial broadcasting” Works Cited Contacting the Past

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