Getting Things Done
Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody discusses the impact that a group effort can have. With the formation of new social tools and platforms such as Flickr, the difficulties of forming and organizing a group have become essentially nonexistent. Additionally, the message of this content has a greater effect and is accessible in a more efficient manner.
When accomplishing a task, especially through a digital media platform, it is important to question the motives of the artist. For example, a newspaper corporation may photograph an event because of the attention and profit that the story may bring in. On the other hand, the same social tools that aid in the formation of groups also aid in creating an alternative to this institutional action — a loosely structured group that can function without managerial organization and without the profit motive (Shirky, pg. 47). Flickr is simply a platform for photographers to upload their own photos and perhaps discuss the art of photography. A photo in the newspaper does not accomplish the same goal.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger also explains the mobilizing power of the media. All media is manipulated. When there is a goal in mind, a technical treatment is required. The question of importance is rather who manipulates the media. Ideally, every person should become a manipulator (Enzensberger, pg. 265). The only response to a manipulation lies within public and their ability to be productive. An example of this would be the use of the hashtag. Recently, pop-star Kesha has been in the news in attempts to break away from her label after allegedly being sexually abused by her producer. An injunction was denied, causing fans to rally together on various social media platforms. The hashtag #FreeKesha has gained momentum as multiple celebrities have tweeted it, and nearly 90,000 Instagram posts have been tagged with it. Enzensberger warns us of the consciousness industry and how the media has the ability to shape and control our thoughts. By manipulating our own responses and ideas, we gain control of our own consciousness.
Lastly, Augusto Boal discusses the breaking of the fourth wall in the world of theatre. While there are certain forms of theatre that correspond with different types of theatre etiquette, other forms of theatre allow for audience participation. When the wall that separates an actor from a spectator is destroyed, a new form of excitement is created for the audience. This frees the spectator from the chains of traditional theatre, and allows them to be active. The ability to respond ultimately leads to success (Boal, pg. 346). This principle not only applies to the theatre, but also to new media. When the barriers are destroyed between producer and consumer, each person gains the ability to take on the role as producer. Any person with a video camera or smartphone has the ability to film a video and upload it to YouTube. There is no longer a requirement to own a fancy camera or be a television corporation to publish a video.
Any study of new media is a study of politics. Enzensberger’s idea is based around the thought that if everyone becomes a producer, corporations will be threatened. When manipulation involves social relevance, it becomes political.
One essential quality to “new media” is that it requires communication. More specifically, the changing nature of media is moving towards catering the need for two-way communication. The idea of being a consumer is becoming a thing of the past, as the desire for becoming a producer is almost universal. Shirky’s ideas help readers understand that in order to be good at anything, people must become a part of that community. Photographers will not become better photographers by reading the newspaper. Rather, by joining a group-related platform such as Flickr, users can interact with other photographers and begin to grow their knowledge. Without participation, consumers lose the ability to respond, and become more likely to be manipulated.