“Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage” – Amy Jo Martin
In light of the above quote, I pose the question; do we as a collective audience use social media in the interest of engaging or withdrawing?
It is indisputable that the nature of media audiences has changed over time, not only as a result of technological innovation but also due to the growing usability of media platforms that allows individuals to become ‘Produsers’, ultimately leading to the increasing prevalence of user-led content production. But how does this relate to the prevailing absence of somatic interaction?
It can be said that we as human beings, place grave valuation on the concept of face-to-face contact and socialisation. At least…I know I do. Yet with the rapid development of produsage in the modern world, the notion of social interaction without intervention of technology is fast becoming obsolete. Produsage, a concept devised by Australian media scholar Axel Bruns, suggests media users play the role of producers whether they are aware of this role or not. In doing so, people have become engrossed with creating and maintaining an online presence, paving the way for the domination of social media, in comparison to the growing subordination of corporeal interaction.
Subsequently, the evolution of media platforms, from the first black and white television set to, the ever so fashionable, smartphone, has allowed for the current lack of barriers surrounding the usual working day, thus, providing influence upon social interaction, or rather, the lack there of. Now days, those who work in media/ technology based jobs are given the opportunity to take their professions home, in turn, creating a decline in gregarious interaction within the household. This concurs with, and reinforces the idea, that development in forms of media does so happen to impact upon the need for physical networking.
It is the utopian viewpoint, that a strong connection to media sources, whether that’s television, radio, print, or social, creates a sense of enlightenment amongst a modern audience. This view can, however, be scrutinised when considering the dystopian alternative that suggests an addiction to media outlets is somewhat of an unhealthy obsession.
With all this in mind, it is up to you my friends; to decide what stance you will take. Will you let the rapid advancement of produsage turn you into an anti-scoial media user? Or, will you be a social butterfly and conversation producer?