Coming to the end of this long and winding road that is COMM 2F00, I look back and reflect at all the different outlets that I have experienced in this course. I’ve started blogging, edited my own shark video that could potentially give Discovery Channel a run for its money, recorded a podcast, and complied a story through Storify.(All of which I’ve never done before, nor actively sought out). Now that I think of it, as a Media Communications, I’m really not as savvy with technology as one would think I should be.
So this brings up the topic of transmedia and the role of the audience. Bird points out that especially with advancements in technology that we see today, audiences are “interactive fans”. This term essentially embraces the idea that audiences are active as opposed to passive. We engage with technology in so many ways, enough to make it almost second nature to us. We are truly fans of these outlets, because, as we’ve discussed as part of this course, it becomes part of our identity, an extension of ourselves. We are produsers because these digital tools have opened up opportunities for two way communication. It is what Bird, who draws from Jenkins, claims to be a cultural shift. The way we interact with media now is the way we will continue to interact with media, and I argue, this relationship will only become increasingly significant rather than be considered a passing trend.
So do produsers actually have any power in this relationship? I definitely think so. I am a frequent YouTube user and a general enthusiast of the site. I think its a great form of social media and what a way to kill time! But I have always wondered, who has all that time to post these videos? Once I edited my own video, I realized the process is not as difficult as I thought, but it also revealed that audiences, or produsers rather, are really the fuel of this whole site.
Transmedia encompasses this cultural shift into media convergence. Media is the norm, it is mainstream! The term makes me think of a ‘black hole’. where all media just becomes one giant thing, a hypperreality. Rheingold uses the example of his students and what they claim to be ‘multitasking’. They admit that if they are using technology and engaging in forms of social media, they pay less attention in class. (An age old argument). Not too be eccentric, but maybe at some point it will be hard to tell the difference between the virtual world and the real world. This may be slightly similar to Sterne, and I may have mentioned this in other blogs. But I actually do have a very skeptical attitude towards the development of technology and the way audiences interact with it. I can’t understand why I don’t fully embrace it but I think part of it is that we have become too reliant on it and will only continue to incorporate it more into our lives giving it more value. I always go back to the animated film WALL-E. it depicts humans as overweight, unmotivated people floating in space because Earth has gone right down the drain. They sit in these hover chairs and talk to a screen all day even when the person they are communicating with is hovering beside them. It is an environment where face to face communication ceases to exist. It brings up some serious anxieties about venturing into a world that is digital. Are we really far off from this image?
Nevertheless, I do see myself becoming more of a frequent produser. Its really amazing all the outlets we have and that I’ve never taken the time to explore. The one outlet I most enjoy is blogging and I can see myself having an ongoing experience with this form of media. We are all becoming produsers, whether we like it or not, and I just hope that we keep this relationship a positive one.