Since the days of AOL chat rooms and instant messaging, I’ve been an adopter of using the internet as a way of socialization. I found it fascinating that I could have conversations with kids my age from all over the world. Many would argue that social media has made people introverted, but I think it was the idea of making all of these connections that drove me to be such a social person. Chatting away with my friends on AIM, then making connections on MySpace and Facebook, opened a huge opportunity for me to network. I’ve only become an even more avid user with Twitter, which is probably my favorite social media site/platform. There’s something about the idea of a microblog that causes me to be concise and to the point. There’s no room to stretch the story out, which is much different than my writing background bred me to do.
I feel with the freedom of the internet, people can share anything and everything in the blink of an eye, and it also opens up opportunities for people to come up with content and ideas that no one would ever dream of. Before the internet, people would have to record mix tapes or buy bootleg albums in order to really share music, but with file sharing sites like Napster, people shared millions of songs, for free. The idea of this free sharing turned the music industry on its head, and opened up the huge discussion of copyright law.
The band NoFX foreshadowed the decline of the big music industry in a song called “Dinosaurs Will Die,” which was recorded in 2000, just about the time the debate on Napster and copyright laws were at their peak. It really showcased the disdain of listeners, as well as musicians, with the stronghold of the music industry, and that, inevitably, it would all come crumbling down, and we, the people, could take back our art to do what we want with it.
It also gave way to the Creative Commons movement, which allows artists to give anyone the opportunity to remix, edit, change, cut, their music, without having a team of record label lawyers suing these users for millions of dollars. The idea of Creative Commons was perfectly explained in the documentary, Rip: A Remix Manifesto.
I’m excited to be taking a course that discusses new media, instead of just creating websites and using social media. I find it important to understand the different forms of new media in order to appropriately incorporate these medias into their lives. Knowing how to use these various medias allows people to put themselves out onto the net in the image they want to display. You can create a professional online portfolio using web content management systems like WordPress or Drupal, or connect your resume with hundreds of other professionals using LinkedIn. You can use Twitter and Facebook to open a simple line of contact with potential employers or businesses, artists you enjoy, as well as friends. Social media is a great compliment to actual socializing, like using the internet as your own personal business cards, and I believe more people need to realize and embrace this idea.