The role of the audience member has changed due to online content and other forms of digital communication. We no longer just consume the media on a daily basis, but a very large portion of society is constructing the media as well. The global population has become "citizen producers, citizen journalists" creating "user-generated content." What's causing this rapid transformation is due in large part to the growing number of choices we as audience members have from which we get our news and entertainment. The two have merged into what is now called "infotainment" as seen on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." The media is no longer what is offered on NBC, ABC, CBS and the major newspapers and Hollywood studios, but has morphed into a constantly changing dynamic of ever increasing outlets, whether they are blogs, podcasts, or virally spread YouTube clips that span the globe. The veil between the producer and the consumer of media has thinned, and in some cases been removed altogether.
The most obvious place this increasing distortion is taking place is in news broadcasts around the globe. News is presented in often times, non-linear fashions, where the viewer has no idea what caused the "news event" to have happened. The viewers are left with only the biased opinions of the power brokers behind the scenes that pull the strings for their broadcast mouthpieces, and if presented on a major network, the story becomes all the more credible. The problem is trying to wade through the white noise and make sense of the stories presented, each viewer receiving their own perceived version of the truth. Issues are used as tools of division, which can then be used to divide and conquer the masses into passive participants ready to accept what is given to them on a daily basis without question. In order to maintain sanity in a world gone mad, skills in Critical Literacy need to be developed and maintained if one is to avoid being just another patient for the large pharmaceutical companies that often times are the largest advertisers during the nightly news broadcasts.
Although, there are those in the positions of power that have been growing ever fearful of an educated and informed society; signs of progress are being made. For if knowledge is truly power and the Internet and its multiple avenues for communication and the rapid spread of information is any sign we are on the right track towards something truly revolutionary; is it any wonder that current dictatorships, despots and other forms of totalitarian authority states around the world are facing the uprising they are? However, they are not going to go quietly, for there is currently a movement by the hegemonic puppet masters of a push for more copyright protection on the Internet, so they can slow down or outright eliminate the world audience from becoming larger players on the field of the creation and dissection of their desired mainstream media messages. Something extraordinary is taking place. The ground beneath our feet is shifting. Guttenberg's press has long since been dismantled and stored in museums around the world. In its place is now, texting, emailing, podcasts, blogs and streamed content via the Internet, wirelessly to every mobile digital device on the planet at the click of a button. What language and its effects on the media has done, has turned the driver gawking at a traffic accident, the option to choose his or her own preferred accident, and often times what is the case, to create his or her own accident for the whole world to see, over and over and over and over again.
Happy Holidays, hope you are prospering in the new global economy.