The positives of a networked society

In this module we have looked at how people are connected to the internet in many aspects of their lives. A lot of people are skeptical about whether the growing reliance on technology and the internet is actually a good thing or not. They claim that we are too reliant on technology to do basic tasks and that the networked society is making us less sociable. I would argue against this.

It’s not true that before the emergence of the internet and smartphones people were much more sociable. You’ll often here people say that millennials should put their phones down and talk to someone on the train, like in the good old days! wkhhpz1

Having access to unbelievable amounts of information on a mobile phone through the magic of wifi and mobile data is an incredible luxury and people need to take full advantage of it. There is a stigma attached to making friends on Twitter/Tumblr but it’s often those friends with whom people form the most genuine connections through a common interest. Social media gives people a platform to share thoughts they might not want to in a face to face conversation. There are flaws, but living in a networked society is predominantly positive.


YouTube and Copyright restrictions

For many young film makers or creatives of other fields, YouTube is the best place to share their content in order to gather a following and a reputation. There’s a problem which can restrict their (our) freedom to post the content they want to, though: Copyright law. Lots of videos are taken down from YouTube because of copyright-protected music being used in them, even when the song and artist are credited by the person who uploaded the video.

In my opinion, this is a big fault of Copyright and how YouTube implement it. It creates unfair and unnecessary problems for people trying to share their content. It’s not even like most amateur YouTubers are making money from these videos. And the ones that are using Copyright-protected for commercial purposes should rightly have to get permission, but the fact that non-commercial content gets removed for Copyright purposes is a big fault in Copyright law and the way it’s implemented on YouTube.

Online Privacy

Presently, we probably all have more information online than we would like. That information might be bank details saved to a particular online store account, photographs of nights out, your date of birth, or address. This is an unfortunate consequence of current state of the digital world. However, it’s kind of inevitable. We will probably never have all the luxuries of the loosely regulated internet without the risks of having information taken from us. Many people are worried about governments having access to all their information, like their addresses, D.O.Bs etc. But there is a valid argument in the expression “if you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear”.

Do we really think governments spend all day going through our personal details as if they haven’t got illegal wars to fight? The only reason to worry that the government would come after you would be if you’d committed a serious crime, in which case you’re kind of asking to be investigated.

And if you’re worried about potential employers seeing something bad that you might have posted on Facebook, I’d recommend not posting it on Facebook.


Twitter Communities

It seems odd that people make friends through a social media platform, but it happens. People connect via a common interest, interact and form friendships. When this happens between many of the same people it forms a on online community. The interests which bring people together can be sports; ‘Football Twitter’ is a thing. Or it could be a political affiliation which brings people together; people who share a passion for a particular cause connect over the internet and it creates a platform for discussion.

These communities are largely positive. They bring people together, allow people to find other individuals who share their perhaps niche interests and are a great way for the introverted to express themselves in a comfortable environment. There are always negative aspects to social media: the possibility of receiving abuse, etc. But thankfully we all have the option to mute and/or block people with whom we don’t wish to interact.

Participants in online communities like this can benefit from engaging in debate and listening to (or reading) other people’s points of view on topics in which they’re both interested. One can educate themselves and share ideas on a platform where they will receive mostly honest feedback and discussion.

Q&As on YouTube

There are many popular YouTubers whose videos are becoming more shaped by the demands of their audience. The most obvious example of this is Q&As. Viewers will send in their questions in the comments section of the previous video or on other social media and the YouTuber will read them, select questions and respond. This is generally for entertainment purposes, although many viewers are looking to be informed about a certain topic, whether that be make-up, politics, or sport. Tanya Burr has a popular channel which has published a variety of content including make-up tutorials. She often asks for her viewers to comment on her videos and leave feedback.

Owen Jones, a political activist and writer has his own YouTube channel too. Most of his videos are in the style of a Q&A; he answers questions posted in the comments section of his previous video. These videos are meant to be entertaining and informative and he is looking to get more people engaged in politics, so audience participation online is an effective way of doing so.

Newspapers and the Internet

So many forms of media that we use presently are examples of media convergence. For example, the smartphone, online gaming, Netflix and other streaming services and the Kindle have all come about through the convergence of various forms of media. Another very significant example of media convergence is the creation of online versions of newspapers, and in particular, the emergence of video content on official YouTube channels of mainstream newspapers.

Due to its incredible convenience, people want to access news on the internet because it’s immediate and free. And if it’s interactive, even better. The newspaper perhaps most aligned with the establishment, The Times, has a YouTube channel on which they publish entertaining and informative videos. The Guardian also have a YouTube channel. On their channel, there are various playlists: Guardian Docs, This is the NHS, Comment is Free, Guardian Investigations and so on – much like their website and printed newspaper. So, the online video content that newspapers publish is generally and extension of their written content in digestible chunks, designed to bring more online traffic to their content as well as inform and entertain their audience.

The Networked Society

I found a resource which I believe is helpful for students to understand what a networked society really means. It’s an explanatory video which uses cartoon diagrams to help explain what the term means. I think this would be useful for people studying this module because it clarifies the definition of a networked society, which some people might not fully understand. This might sound patronising, but I have been unsure about the definition of some things that were being discussed in classes, and therefore I think this video would be useful, and hopefully give students the ability to participate more in class discussions with a greater understanding of the topic.

The video helped me to further understand what is meant by a networked society with its diagrams, animated examples of how we are functioning as a network society and a basic formula which demonstrates its main components. I would recommend that other students watch this video to help themselves understand what this module is all about in simple terms, as it has helped me. Students could use it in presentations or refer back to it in assessed written work.