Social Media

Social media breathes new life into information, in how it is created, shared and regenerated. Web 2.0 is the participatory web. It has changed how information is delivered and received. It is no longer a few creating and publishing for the masses. The consumers have now become the prosumers. It is a smorgasboard of information formats. Pick and choose how you would like to digest it. Social media has played a central role in popularising mashups (Lasica, 2009).

Mashups recombine and modify existing digital works to create a derivative work.  According to Paul D Miller (as cited in Lasica) this challenges the notion of the finished object and leads to the idea of a culture of copies – a copy that generates another. This remixing and sampling creates copyright and intellectual property tensions. Schools need to teach students how to become ethical digital citizens. Creative Commons Licencing has emerged. Even so, copyright laws are outdated and out of sync with what is happening on the web (Miller, 2009). These laws need to shadow the culture.

Social media facilitates conversation and group creation (Shirky, 2009). It allows a for ‘collective distributive intelligence’ (Surowiecki, 2008). It is multi-dimensional in its perspective. Natural disasters and political revolutions are being reported in ‘real time’. This allows a complete and powerful picture of what is happening in a way we never had access to before (Surowiecki, 2008). With so much information, it is difficult to decide what is important. Hersmen (2009) introduces the idea of creating a crowd sourcing filter.

Social media gives the people a voice. It is difficult to censor. Shirky (2009) explains how China had been a successful manager of censorship. However, when an earthquake struck in 2008, the Chinese people began to tweet from inside the country to the outside world. The BBC broadcasted the event using a tweet as their source. Due to the volume and other factors, it was impossible to filter! The audience can now respond and talk back. According to Tufecki (as cited in Ingram, 2011) social media facilitates social activisim. It allows people to connect and share views in order to produce ‘collective action’. Arab Spring being a case in point. ‘The media landscape is social, global, ubiquitous and cheap’ Shirky(2009).  This changes the playing field and we are all responsible for learning the new rules.

Hersmen, E. (2009, April). Erik Hersman reporting crisis via texting. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Ingram, M. (2011, September 11). Memo to Gladwell: Social media helps activism, and here’s how. [Web blog]. Retrieved from

Lasica, J.D. (2009, March 13) Mashup culture and social media. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Surowiecki, J. (2008, November). When social media became news. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Shirky, C. (2009, June). How social media can make history. [Video file]. Retrieved from

This entry was posted in INF 506 Social Networking for Information Professionals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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