Today, two of my courses converged in the most interesting way. Along with this new media course, I am taking Learning in Digital Contexts in my Adult Education major. Both highly interesting and both very relevant in more ways than just academic credit. I completed my readings for the ADED course first and noted the information from a blogger, Josh Bernoff, entitled Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder. Take a look at the graphic in the article. It links directly to our conversation here regarding the impact of and our personal engagement with online content.
Using the “ladder” that Bernott references as a form of measurement, I see that my enforced (now happily) participation in the blogosphere makes me one of the 24% who are Creators (albeit minimally). In truth, I have been until this semester an active member of the 70% who have been dubbed Spectators. Manovich (2008) presents online social media use statistics that cohere with this information, and speculates about the huge incremental increases to be seen in 2012, which has of course, occurred.
Relating this occurrence to information in this module’s readings, Jenkins (2004), explains that convergence in media is significantly altering the relationships between “existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences” (p. 34). I am part of this cultural shift as I move from a passive consumer of social media to an active (sort of) participant.
Prior to this I have been a far larger consumer of online content. I use YouTube in my classrooms, Google Scholar and Books in my course research and in my class preparation; Google Docs to work cooperatively, and use a LMS for my own course materials. I have produced presentations and course lectures in SlideRocket which have then been uploaded to the web. Wikipedia is often the starting point when I need a quick and dirty explanation of something and don’t want or need to do a comprehensive search. As Jenkins notes, consumers of online media are assuming more control and I am becoming part of that phenomenon.
However, I have previously had an inherent aversion to embracing all things in the online social media realm. I feel a decided lack of expertise which is inhibiting – I will not post something with which I am not fully comfortable. I fear being overly visible, even with privacy settings, since as Manovich (2008) states, information that was originally intended to be transient, may now have a permanence and presence that is unwelcome. I have a resistance, perhaps unfounded, to news information that comes from an source that may not be accredited, and have concerns that if information comes from bloggers who have a particular agenda or perspective then a true(er) understanding of the issue might be impacted (Manovich, 2008).
I can see a slow evolution in my consuming and ultimately producing habits, as I acquire more confidence and expertise in using tools in ways that I control and can master.
BTW, I watched a very good SlideShare presentation today (another example of converging material in accessing content online) with a very good explanation on the concept of the “long tail”. Take a look if you have a minute.