I am very active on the Internet and participate regularly in social media platforms. I contribute a lot to the online communities I am a part of with frequent posts and online actions. My participation however involved is still limited to the recycling of media already on the Internet and to the format of participation that the social media platform I am using lays out. As the user I am forced to confine my input of media to the structure of the online platform I am using. The social media platforms also create many easy ways to passively participate in the online community by adding features such as “liking” and “reblogging” or “retweeting”. These actions satisfy the users need to contribute with no knew ideas being shared.
True participation takes extra effort from the participant and many times real life experiences to couple the online experience. This is in many cases seen as too much or too inconvenient for those with a busy lifestyle. It is also shadowed by the far easier and less time consuming actions such as “liking”.
The more micro blogging platforms like twitter grow the more the focus are put on quick effortless social participation. This will decrease the quality social interactions that people have with each other and create a sense of dependability on the small social inputs on platforms like twitter and facebook. The share of ones own media is an important part of online social communities and can only be positive if the user puts effort and focus into their online input and participation. Real life interactions and experiences are required for quality online media input.
Furthermore the seemingly helpful intuitive features of the online social platforms continue to take control of what is viewed from the participant. Sites such as Youtube that take your viewed videos and create suggestions of what to watch provide an easy way to become increasingly passive in participation and the links are usually highly sponsored video sources drawing attention away from original media contribution from the public. This concept is used in a similar way on platforms like facebook, although post location on the dashboard is time sensitive it is also controlled by facebook and the personal information you view is primarily controlled by the website. There are ways to customize your dashboard or feed however the passive interaction has become so familiar that it is hard to break from the habit. The increase of passive participation under the guise of helpfulness and convenience allows the online platforms to progressively take control of the media we view and the media we contribute to the online world.
Personally I stared as a very passive user. The online platform I most commonly use is Tumblr, and on this site I rely on the “reblogging” function to fill my blog with other peoples content. My actual content input on platforms like twitter and instagram started slowly as well. The more I have used the platforms the more I try to contribute my own media. I am far more active on twitter and instagram providing my own media as well as adding media to Tumblr and Youtube. I have also used the social networking platforms to share my content throughout different sources. A video I post on Youtube may be blogged or tweeted, and many pictures I post on VSCOcam I will also post on instagram and or Tumblr. My participation is still limited and tends to be primarily passive, however I am continuously increasing the personal media content that I add to the online communities I am a part of.
The main responsibility of an online participant is to be aware of their participation and the limitation of their participation. It is okay to passively interact in online communities, but this cannot be the only source of social interaction and if one is going to heavily rely on online social communities to fill their social needs then the effort must be made to contribute personal media and ideas to the online communities as actively as possible. I believe a balance between passive and active online interaction can be found and most commonly it is found by creating social, and personal experiences in the physical world and then sharing them or sharing thoughts and reflections about them in the online communities.