Friday, April 11, 2008

My thoughts on Jenkins' and Boyd's articles...

As I reflect upon these two authors' research and perspectives regarding on-line communities and the nebulous "public" creating its own media, I realize my own relatively limited involvement in that world. My "participatory culture" is limited to FaceBook, which I use primarily to stay connected to my friends both here at SC U and in various countries around the world. I admit I have added "Facebook" as a verb in my vocabulary and do a minimal amount of "stalking" long lost pals. I suppose I do feel part of a larger community when I am "poked" by a friend or someone writes on my "wall," and also just having a profile online; I have written myself into being! In regards to the skills he discusses (have I achieved these by means of an online participatory culture??), I think they are highly valuable and necessary in order to function in today's economic based society. Whether one multi-tasks, simulates, collaborates or networks online or in "real life," these skills are necessary to work with others to achieve anything. Having these skills gives one the power to develop in the progressive world in which we live. For instance, I am determined to understand DreamWeaver not only to succeed in this course, but also because it is a valuable and powerful skill that I can offer in whatever profession I choose. Once I have this skill, I will be a "media creator" in a more complex manner than simply having the ability to paste photos on my FaceBook profile (the current extent of my media creations). Though I do not intend on entering the technological professions directly, I realize that technological skills in every realm of our lives will soon, if not already, become integral; I see my role as a media creator unfolding as such skills become increasingly necessary.
I found Boyd's two articles both interesting and informing in respect to what online communities truly provide for the "youth." When she asked teens what they do in MySpace, she wanted to get at what the site provides for them, how they interact with the community and the results. That's hard to describe - just as the teens couldn't say more than "hang out"! Their participation brings them into a larger community, and even if they do not say or write anything on the sites, their presence communicates their membership. As I mentioned before, writing oneself into being (creating a profile that represents you) marks you as a member of a community, and this idea may extend to the idea that if one is pro-active or innovative, they have a stronger voice in this community.
Boyd wrote extensively about MySpace as a form of youth counterculture against adult culture; I am not sure I agree with this notion. I understand these online communities in their ability to unite people (in a sense) and to introduce people to the skills that Jenkins discusses. I suppose for many teens MySpace allows them more freedom and a form of rebellion in that many parents do not approve of it, but I do not think MySpace is against the adult culture. Am I considered an adult at 21??
Ugh. Sorry, that was a bit long. Hopefully I'll get better at these blogs - improve my online skills! - as the quarter progresses...

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