Monday, June 28, 2010

Continuing with Levinson

In continuing the reading of Dr. Levinson's book and working on my final paper for class, I can say that his descriptions of the current cyber-issue at hand make the convoluted mess seem more organized, at least in the way he expresses himself. His section on YouTube is perhaps the most interesting one. I admit that You Tube is my resource for all of my favorite clips and music presentations of my favorite artists from the 1970s, as well as old commercials (cigarette commercials especially)! It appears that YouTube is a better media compared to television. I will not take credit away from TV because, after all, it keeps me informed as far as news (even if some news are of poor quality) and a good classic movie, once in a blue moon (I hardly watch TV anymore). However, I do find appealing Dr. Levinson's idea that YouTube is a supplement of television.

His example of President Obama as being called a "cybergenic" President comes to mind. Levinson stated that Obama was successful on YouTube primarily because he looked well on TV. Hey, this sounds like some "remediation" but more than that, it sounds like the old guard is still a benchmark for any success on new new media. There appears to be a blur here because on one hand, we glorify YouTube for being the media it is but we still say, "Hey! Not so fast. You are still accountable to the old man!" The convenience of YouTube is, apparently, that you can watch any video or clip at your own time, and even some news are broadcast almost immediately. But being that YouTube is somewhat an "amateur" medium, the real pros have to "check and balance" the arena. So there is some "gatekeeping" in a way that occurs. YouTube also respects copyright law (which is the topic of my paper) because at times, if copyright infringement occurs, videos are taken off. We may argue that it is not right, but remember, this medium is for the whole world to enjoy, from simple people to famous names, and with all due fairness, it is right to credit those individuals who have works of their art exposed on YouTube. They should have a chance to profit from any work that is taken by an amateur and posted for the public. With regards to "viral videos", the possibilities of becoming famous due to a viral video may be endless, but then again, we are bound to the same luck and chance that would exist in a real-life scenario of a person trying to "make it big" in the entertainment industry. There is so much ground to cover with regards to copyright, what is legal or illegal, and when we need to "draw the line" with regards to creativity. Needless to say, the tools are there: use them to your best advantage!

Wikipedia is another medium that seems to be held in questionable terms. Traditionalists (like myself) prefer to hold a complete encyclopedia set and access information whenever I want, knowing with all certainty that I am looking up "the truth". Yet. sometimes, people would prefer to obtain fast information online, so Wikipedia serves its purpose. I will agree that the information is subjective, and here is where amateur quality needs to be scrutinized. I am not saying that we should deter people from making entries to Wikipedia, but it would belp for those posting to have their facts in line before making an entry, so we don't run into any embarrassing moments of "misinforming the public". If that is the case and this continues, Wikipedia may just as well get "written off" as pure entertainment, like most of our media has done already. In a meidum such as this where commoners are fighting the battle with "real editors or writers", a word to the wise would be to, like a former English teacher of mine back in high school said, "Pretend!" Yes, pretend that you are a pro and "break a leg"! (...unless you want one of your legs broken for giving false info!)

With regards to Twitter, 1) I have never used it and don't see the need to use it, 2) Darn it, I hate when people generalize! If the average age of Twitter users is 37, then how come I am not part of that group? Ok, maybe that is my point: it is not fair to say that everybody gets "hooked" on new new media or that it is a given that one group behaves a certain way. That is the lovefest that our country has with generalizations and statistics, more like a sickness, so to speak! It is one that does not provide a realistic picture of who we are and the true diversity of opinions that exists. I mean, what's the point of sending a "tweet" when you can just get on the telephone and call someone, or even email them? Does anyone ever exercise any more? Yes, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. bring people together and ideas across, but sometimes this virtual world becomes too real that it becomes easy to dissociate with the "real world" consisting of humans. Frankly, new new media should be regarded strictly as an avenue for learning and not some outlet which attempts to satisfy a fantasy world. We need to draw a line between what is real and what is not. The role of consumer/rpoducer should be established as one in which people decide whether they take this as pure entertainment or as a means of achieving profitable gain. But you can't involve profitable game in everything, even in pure enjoyment. This blurring of the lines nees to be cleared up and a new vision sharpened. Only in this manner will cyberspace claim its rightful place in our society.

Point blank, the idea of consumer/producer, does not sound right to my ears quite well. Like the old saying goes, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too." Let's not take it as a given that we should go ahead and consume and produce everything. We need to seriously examine whether our endeavor is done purely for pleasure or if we want something beneficial to come out of the experience. This is the only way that new new media will ever be taken seriously: if we start screening the bad weeds out and seeking the truth via people who take this seriously. Otherwise, if new new media is another form of entertainment, then we may as well see this as another alternative of passing time or going to see an overpriced and overrated New York Yankee ball game (Let me clarify that I am NOT making fun of Yankee fans!).


  1. As far as your points on Wikipedia go, other people cann change or modify other people's entries and this can be for better or worse. Something the public corrects false info and other times they just add wood to the fire. Personally, I find 'truth' in general to be subjective anyway.

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  3. Wikipedia can go two ways. The entries have the opportunity to grow and expand as users add information. It could be endless knowledge from all over the world. However, sometimes this information is not accurate (which is obviously the down fall).
    It is a good idea though. Michael makes a good point in that yes the user can post false information but users can also correct this.

  4. One scholar coined the term "produsage" to try to get at the blurring of the boundary between production and consumption in this new media environment.

    You might consider withholding judgment a bit more, and simply studying the phenomena at hand. Moralizing can get in the way of understanding, as Marshall McLuhan often observed.