With Facebook over a decade old now and blogging even older still, it can be easy to forget how recent it is in human history that you, the group formerly known as the audience, have had access to media platforms that put you on an even playing field with the world’s most powerful media entities. That’s not to say most of you will ever reach the power and influence of a Bob Woodward or a Miley Cyrus, but as Scott Rosenberg explains in this essay for his blog, that’s not the point:
One thing we can say with some certainty is that, for the first time in the still-short span of human history, the experience of creating media for a potentially large public is available to a multitude. A good portion of the population has switched roles from “audience” to — speaker, creator, participant, contributor, we don’t even have the proper word yet.
Forget whether this is “good” or “bad”; just dwell with me for a moment on its novelty.
Millions of people today have the chance to feel what it’s like to make media — to create texts or images or recordings or videos to be consumed by other people they may or may not know. Whether they are skilled at doing this is as beside the point as whether or not I can play “Sweet Jane” well. What matters about all this media-making is that they are doing it, and in the doing, they are able to understand so much more about how it works and what it means and how tough it is to do right — to say exactly what you mean, to be fair to people, to be heard and to be understood. If you find this exciting, and I do, it is not because you are getting some fresh tickets to the fame lottery; that’s the same game it’s always been. It’s because we are all getting a chance to tinker with and fathom the entire system that surrounds fame — and that shapes the news and entertainment we consume every day.