The Internet As A Participatory Culture

921 WordsNov 21, 20154 Pages
The internet is populated by over 2 billion users across the globe (Ross, 2013, p. 10). The early days of the web, also called Web 1.0 are over; the internet is now in Web 2.0. Web 2.0 “is characterized by openness, participation, and sharing”, in other words, user-generated content (Kim, Jin, Kim, & Shin, 2012, p. 305). These terms underwrite the internet as a positive, democratic space. “Another list of words could be added, which has a somewhat negative sound to it: exploitation, losers, free labor, and enclosure.” (Peterson, 2008). Media corporations encourage users to view their contributions to the web as participatory and inclusive. However, user-generated content is more appropriately understood as exploitative. This paper will explore the ways in which user-generated content supports and deepens hegemonic power structures under the guise of a participatory culture. This essay will outline the ways in which internet users are empowered to perform labour for free and how this work is then exploited by companies which users are told to love and trust. Internet users populate websites and smartphone applications such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. These social media platforms are presented as tools to connect with other people in the online and real world by uploading, sharing, and liking user-generated content. The use of these networks is presented as advantageous and beneficial to individuals’ social lives. Users are also empowered

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