I’ve recently put finished a draft of an article that focuses on an aspect of social media and had been asked to do a complimentary Podcast for the article.
For some strange reason I started dreaming what I would say in the Podcast this morning at about 4 AM. That is evidence that I am thinking about this stuff too much.
At any rate, the one model I kept reflecting on was the consumption / community dichotomy proposed by Bakardjieva and Feenberg. They essentially track two fundamental conceptual approaches to the shaping of the ‘Net. I believe that the pendulum begins nearer the community side of things, during the early years of the Internet. As traditional media begins to get involved, and the Internet diffuses to a broader, less technologically savvy population, the pendulum begins shifting towards the consumption side.
Now, the usability of ICTs has caught up with the population and what we are seeing is a revival of production from the ordinary user. The pendulum has shifted back towards the community side of things – but not completely.
In the social media paradigm, the media is largely community-driven, but consumption oriented.
Take a Blog for instance. The individual blogger is probably subscribed to dozens of other similar Blogs. He reads these Blogs on a daily basis and then writes in his Blog accordingly. Through trackbacks, he actually directly engages with other Bloggers in his network. They, in turn, respond back to him.
On a fundamental level, what he is doing is not so different than what people have been doing for years on Bulletin Board Systems – except for that in the Blog model, the Web site becomes a publishing vehicle, visible to the general Internet public, whereas in a BBS, the dialogue is only going to be accessible to members of said BBS.
Come to think of it, the general internet public is sort of like a vast sea of lurkers.
Come to think of it again, if postings in BBS where search engine optimized better, and allowed users to create individualized pages where they could sort and share their authored postings, it would not be so unlike a network of Blogs hosted on the same domain name.