I’ve been struggling for a while now to incorporate a meaningful, interesting segment on crowdfunding and crowdsourcing into one of my social media theory classes. So far, those efforts have resulted in middling explorations of Trinbagonian Kickstarter projects and reiteration of the “social media empowers audiences” theme. It’s a topic I was beginning to dread covering, but this semester, I have an opportunity to add a lot more substance to my illustrations.
Category Archives: Social Media
(This week’s post is a guest column by my colleague and fellow COMM 351 lecturer, Ms. Nikita Yorke.)
A wise man once said “One of the greatest challenges companies face in adjusting to the impact of social media, is knowing where to start.” Social media is an ever-changing, multifaceted, collaborative medium that can either make or break you. It can be the greatest evil or the most beautiful advantage; it depends solely on how you choose to use it.
One of the greatest benefits of social media is the relaxed environment of communication. It creates a voice for the voiceless, an image for the invisible and confidence for the shy. Is it any surprise that organisations want to capitalize on this magic medium?
Social media has now come to be one of the main building blocks of a company and allows them to strive as an organization. Here are some essentials to making sure your business is social media ready and can gain a wealth of attention.
As media studies students, you’ve no doubt encountered the concept of commodification. It refers to the tendency to regard items, ideas, services etc in terms of their monetary worth, rather than for any other sort of value. In mass communication, the concept is applied to media messages and, as McQuail points out, audiences themselves, both of which can be primarily (if not exclusively) regarded as revenue sources by media owners.
One of the recurring themes in our class is the idea that social media removes the barriers to entry in mass media, affording audiences access to the tools of media production and distribution that were once only available to those with much greater resources. However, this more leveled playing field has not changed the realities of commerce. If anything, it’s intensified the monetisation of media.
Judging by the nature and scope of some of the project ideas I’ve received so far this semester, it’s clear that a lot of you are enthused by the opportunity to create something. To put your work, and thus part of yourself, out there, and control a tiny piece of this vast mediasphere. To connect with an audience of people who you can both teach and learn from. Good! That’s the perspective you’ll hopefully gain or maintain by the end of this course. More than any other medium, social media is about empowerment.
Empowerment, however, can be a double-edged blade.