Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

“We the media”

Well for my first real blog entry I’ve been encouraged to highlight what I think is the main point, in my case two main points, of Dan Gillmor’s book “We the media.” The author is certainly an advocate for freedom of the Internet, creative freedom, freedom of speech and transparency in government, media and the corporate world.

I feel that Gillmor’s book can be broken down into two sections that show his main points:
• The Internet and its associated networks and software have brought about drastic changes in how we communicate; similar to the effect of the printing press.
• Big media, the entertainment industry and other corporations are aggressively attacking the freedoms inherent in the Internet and individual freedoms through lobbying at the federal and state level to pass laws restricting the creativity of the individual to sustain their outdated business models that are no longer practical/profitable in the global networked world.

The first two thirds of “We the media” talks about the advent of the Internet and weblogs, Internet use-groups and other such networks and software that has shown the weaknesses in the way big media does business. Gillmor advocates that the media consumer has now become the media creator. With big media looking to bloggers for stories the individual now is the creator of news not just the consumer of news. Additionally the individual is no longer subject to the traditional top down big media news mentality.

The individual now, when consuming news, go to Internet sites or portals or has media content delivered to them through push technologies such as RSS they trust or from a prospective they want to hear. This is the exact opposite of the way big media works deciding what they think is news and telling us what news they see fit for the individual to know.

One of big media’s strangleholds on individual media was the barriers to entry to get into the media communications business. This basically fell into two areas; costs of production and distribution. With the Internet we have basically seen these barriers of entry to the individual disappear. Today a person can write an article or produce videotape or digital news segments for very little money. Access to the Internet now allows distribution of this content worldwide instantaneously at very little cost. Gillmor calls this phenomenon for individuals to produce and distribute news content by the Internet “participatory journalism.”

The last third of “We the media” looks at how traditional big media and other industry monopolies that rely on controlling ideas, individually and creativity are reacting to these changes in the market place. Basically they are afraid of the freedom and transparency of information and alternative viewpoints that this new bottom up – consumer generated news reporting is creating. Specifically what they are afraid of is the collapse of their industry or company due to reliance on outdated business models that haven’t grasped the potential of the Internet and the subsequent transparency and freedom of information the Internet has created.

So rather than adapting they are attacking these emerging models of individual participation and freedom through legislation at the state and federal level. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly our elected representatives usually side with big business against the individual in these cases. Gillmor provides many examples such as peer-to-peer file sharing and copy rights law about how the freedom of the Internet has already been reduced by past and pending legislation.

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment