Contemporary digital culture involves a great deal on participation. People can access the information they desire within a few moments because of the variety of digital platforms available to them. Participation can range within these platforms because there are so many ways to use them. For example, my participation within Facebook involves browsing down my news feed and looking at what my friends have shared and posted. I can also post or share photos, videos, and comments if I choose to so. However, this form of participation differs when looking at LinkedIn. This social media platform allows me to scroll down my news feed looking at information colleagues of mine share, however the content is very different. This platform differs from Facebook due to the content because they are used for business or pleasure, not both. The tools that I have used in this New Media Literacy course have taught me that each media tool is very different. Taking this course will prove to be an advantage to me because I will gain a true understanding of each platform. Contemporary digital culture is used in business to target the consumer that is desired and businesses can succeed when using particular platforms correctly.
I do perceive myself to be a participant within contemporary digital culture. I use these applications and websites to benefit my life in various ways. From an entertainment aspect to a career building opportunity, I choose to participate. The digital culture is beneficial to all participants because they will always acquire knowledge. In addition, participants are able to share this knowledge with others within their digital culture.
In the future, I know that I will no longer be as much as a participant with media as I currently am. This is because the rate that the digital community is growing and evolving is allowing my life to become less and less private. As a participant, I am subjecting myself to sharing my information with whoever wants access to it. From the perspective of a business communications student, I know that it is beneficial to organizations for consumers to participate and share their information online. The ideas of “trade-offs” come to mind when looking at the disadvantages of participating in the contemporary digital culture. Facebook will ask for your favorite movie, show, celebrity or clothing brand and many participants will answer truthfully. This information is sent to various partner companies and is used to better understand certain markets. However, consumers understand that when they like a certain band or television show, they will be recommended something similar to their liking. This comes across as Facebook is doing the consumer a favor. Which brings me back to the idea of a “trade-off.” I feel participation results in a trade off because organizations know that this information is significant, yet they find a way to make consumers participate more and more.
Participation can be measured by organizations in various ways. Jasper Visser from The Museum of the Future says, “In a quarterly internal report we try to quantify these intangible concepts for the sake of decision-making and project design.” (Visser, 2014) He proves that there is an equation used to calculate the reach their website is attainting and how this information can benefit them. However, from a consumer’s view of how to measure participation, I measure it through a view of information that is available to me. I am able to measure participation of the people I have on social media platforms based on what I can see. When I can see that friends or contacts of mine are sharing information that means that they are actively participating. When I look at a friend or contact that has not shared information frequently, I have an understanding that the individual is not an active participant.
Participation is not emancipatory to consumers because information that is shared on the Internet is not private. Consumers are not free from sharing information to only one individual. The information that is put on the Internet stays there forever even if users decide to delete it. Although the information shared by consumers is not free from legal, social or political units, the information can be used for many different purposes. Contemporary digital culture involves users to participate on platforms and that information that is shared goes to more cultures than they think. Consumers need to be aware that the contemporary digital culture that they participate in is evolving rapidly and there are precautions to take before posting and sharing information.