I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that online consumption takes up a good chunk of our daily time. (Especially in the wee hours of the night!) The other day I visited YouTube to check out a movie trailer, fast forward an hour and I’m on my fifth fail blog compilation video. How does this happen!? Part of the appeal with social media sites, most notably YouTube, is the constant stream of information. The related videos section helps to maintain this free flow of content because there’s always something else to watch, something that always seems to grab our attention. With YouTube, “the video sharing experience cues viewers in much the same way as the cinema of attractions. It confronts viewers with moments of novelty, curiosity, or sensationalism and invites them to stop and stare. ” (Rizzo). As the name YouTube suggests, there is a personal element involved in engaging in this kind of content. It is your ‘tube’, your interests, your selections. Another feature of this social media site that Rizzo goes on to explain is the capability to post your own content, which further emphasizes the idea of personalizing consumption.
Interestingly enough, I conducted research during my undergrad on this very subject. What I found out was that students, generally ages 18-22, don’t engage in posting videos or even commenting on YouTube. Of course it was a small sample, but I have to agree with these results. I use YouTube regularly, but rarely do I comment, and I’ve never even considered making my own video to post. I guess I don’t feel that two way communication is necessary in circumstances like this because I social media sites that involve sharing content can still be consumed without being a ‘consumer-producer’. This observation directly correlates to Manovich’s examination of user-generated media. In regards to the 0.5-1% of users that contribute their own content, Manovich asks, “Does this imply that professionally produced content continues to dominate in terms of where people get their news and media? If by “content” we mean typical twentieth century mass media – news, TV shows, narrative films and videos, computer games, literature, and music – then the answer is often yes.” I concur with this inquiry in that I think the information generation, for the most part, relies on the ‘big’ media sources for its content basically because that is what we have have always known.
In the grand scheme of things, this kind of technology and methods of interaction, are brand new to us. We really don’t know how to use these tools, and the potential they have. That being said, the generations that are raised with the internet, with an online identity before they even exist in the physical world, will live up to the consumer-producer title more so then my generation will. But for now, I stick to the one way communication side of life.