Reflecting on the transitions and changes within the mediascape since I started studying Media in March 2008, media literacy over a wide range of platforms is becoming increasingly important and valuable to an individual’s expression, participation and connection with others. After reading Hubert Guillaud’s article ‘What Is Implied in a World of Flow’ on Danah Boyd’s talk at the Web 2.0 Expo in November 2009, as well as Boyd’s own reflections on her presentation, it becomes obvious that different styles of communication and mannerisms and a sense of sociality exists on different communicative and publishing platforms. For this case, Boyd wrote up an organised and structured semi-formal essay as her speech, but what she envisaged to deliver to the audience was ruined by a number of factors: 1) the setup of the venue, 2) her nerves and being uncomfortable at public speaking made her speak fast and unnaturally, 3) using media theory terminology that needed more context, 4) the Twitter backwall stream turning into a frontwall of public insult. Here is the actual presentation:
I think media literacy standards are getting harsher, as we have a subconscious set of basic requirements to judge people when engaging in different forms of media. To me, the current mediascape is segregating into two distinct types of publishing: one that constructs social movement and citizen governance through high quality collaborative efforts; the other being purely entertaining, gossip-worthy and possibly become Internet memes, with little to no contribution in making the public more intelligent or media literate. With more and more people getting access and participating in various forms of publishing, especially on the Internet, there should also be more education and awareness of the different structures and context of expression and communication on various platforms. The lack of media literacy and proper online mannerisms has created negative values on data and information in some forms of publishing, e.g. insulting and attacking producer of decent quality YouTube videos personally for no valid reason.
Another issue is whether publishing facilitates social connection or alienates people from real-life social communication. On one hand, like-minded individuals are able to form virtual communities across the globe and generate content and knowledge through these connections, ordinary people can get famous overnight for publishing online, data and information can be assembled, aggregated and distributed much easily; but on the flip side, people have shorter attention spans and it is not easy to capture that tiny amount of attention available, legal and rights controversies in copyright and ownership of information, creating a wider digital divide and more.
Gauntlett, David (2010) Making is Connecting (watch the video) <http://www.makingisconnecting.org/>
Guillaud, Hubert (2010) (on Danah Boyd) ‘What is implied by living in a world of flow?’, Truthout, January 6, <http://www.truthout.org/what-implied-living-a-world-flow56203>
Dodson, Wes (2009) ‘Dawn of the Systems Age’, Page 3.14 <http://scienceblogs.com/seed/2009/12/dawn_of_the_systems_age.php#more>