Friday, June 8, 2012

Journal #1 - Social Media

PIPD 3240- Journal #1 - Social Media


Clay Shirky's talk discusses how "social media" has changed throughout history. He gives examples how social media enabled worldwide knowledge of current events as it happened and how out of control information can get to the point that certain censorship needed to intervene and shut down entire social media services. There is a change on how information is now created. In the past media was generated by professional media and conveyed through limited channels. Now media is generated by anyone and everyone and the network of information becomes global and its growth is exponential.


There is nothing new to me here. Yes we all know about censorship in certain countries and ti.e of political unrest. My opinion is that its their way to shield commoners from the truth by only allowing what information they want their citizens to be exposed to. However th internet has become so powerful and information is more than we can handle. Tools are ever changing from the first time we used text to convey a mass message such as the bible when the printing press was invented to how the internet has the ability to mass produce a single message globally within a short period of time. The message is strong and although it can be useful when trying let the world know a message it can also be very dangerous. Once something is out there on the internet, it is there forever and the footprint is permanent. This may be the biggest adjustment in media. Professionals in the past produced quality information that was deemed prifessional. Now with the flood of amateurs flooding the social media without standards, how can we now censor the truth from fiction?


The implications of the shift in the way mass media is presented today as it were yesterday can be seen in recent events. The internet has pulled everyone together in conversations and widespread globalization of local events that occur.

The author talks about three big changes about how media has changed. Formerly, media was presented by professionals in the media industry in the past. It is now put out by anyone that can get their hands on a social media platform. So how now we become flooded with data,facts and information and opinions of every commoner that may or may be correct. Then in turn we hear about something and thenpost it to someone else and someone else. Reminds me of that old telephone game.

Secondly, the internet is so important that maybe we cant live without. Everything traditional media, digital media, entertainment, education etc all are available and gathered on the internet. Internet is become the central hub where everything revolves around. Its like a hamg out place where people go to see the latest gossip or information. Certainly i personally would find it odd not being able to "go online".  You feel disconnected.  Just a day off twitter, feels like ive missed out on so much. That the world is so different.

Finally the last significant change is how we direct messages to mass groups. The internet and tools enable us now to get a message out quickly. The term "go viral" is now common when we see something that gets repeated throughout different social media channels globally. The internet is hard to be private and personal. Its a medium where you can reach mass groups quickly and seemlessly. It almost seems the wayz of traditional media such as TV, radio, paper ads are gone or needing a real overhaul to be able to keep up internet social media. We want information and we want lotz of it and most importantly we want it NOW. We cant wait for the first edition of the morning paper or the 6 o'clock news.  By then its "old" news. Crazy isnt it?

Ive mentioned about censorship. In some ways it may seem impossible as the internet (as far as i understand without research) doesnt really have an owner. Websites are "owned" by whoever provides content per se. So when we hear of countries like Egypt and China attempting to censor incoming information to the commoners seems almost impossible, but yet it is being done. We yearn for information because its become so easily accessible. Then we hear of censorship of mass media sites like Twitter or facebook which are extremely powerful sites capable of mass reproduction of information. So to me that sounds like someone has something to hide or they want to shield their citizens from the real outside world.


There is no doubt that social media can benefit everyone and the changes that have occured and are still occurring at such a rapid space just show how powerful this tool is. We also now must make decisions like how to best use this medium in our world. Whether in education, health care, media/news or politics we want to know and we want to tell others far and wide what we know, think and make an opinion.
In terms of the educational world, social media can be powerful yet dangerous. Im not even considering my 8-12 students but even in post secondary or adult education, there is the danger of misinformation. How reliable is the information that is passed on from one source to another? Twitter and facebook can blast a message or topic completely out of hand that rgulations might need to be put in place about its use with our students. But then we talk about connectivity and we dont want to place censorship into our schools and take away a powerful educational tool.

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