Welcome to the Neighborhood. Tweet Us for Dinner. Sincerely, The Jetsons

Do you remember watching The Jetsons cartoon as a kid? And how everything was so technologically ‘cool’ and we were amazed and in awe of what they could do and what the year 2000 and beyond would bring? Well, this week’s readings gave me the impression that we have become the Jetsons - the world just doesn’t look as differently as we would have thought, but all of the technological advances are happening and we, as a society, are capable of so much more. Metaphorically, the world (well, majority of the people) is walking out of the cave and realizing that they can accomplish a lot more than they believed. No more sticks and fire; now we’re onto tweets and pokes. 

For years we were under the impression that if we wanted to watch a funny video then we had to wait for the newest episode of America’s Funniest Videos, unless of course we recorded it onto a VHS and then we could watch the same clips over and over. But now we’ve taken that waiting process into our own hands with YouTube. If we wanted to know what was going on in the world, then we had to wait until sunrise to get the newspaper at our doorstep. Now – log onto Twitter and get updates by the second of what’s going on across the globe. This, in a sense, is the “groundswell” that Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff are speaking of during their appropriately named book.

In chapter 3 of Groundswell, they discuss the social technographics ladder/profile. I would have to say that I’m positioned mid-climb between the ‘critic’ and ‘creator’ steps. If it weren’t for this class, I wouldn’t be creating a blog, unless you classify Twitter as a sort of microblog. And while I do upload audio or video content, it’s not because I created it, but merely because I enjoy it and want to pass it along to those in my social network. I was also thinking that maybe they need to update their qualifications on what gets you into one category over another. Instead of it being if you've done one of the following in the past month, it should now be based on weekly or daily usage. I mean we have some people who are even updating hourly - what would they be extremist creators living on the edge in cyberspace 140 characters at a time?

Also in chapter 3, there is a case study about Japanese PC buyers and their computer usage. My mind didn’t settle well with this example because I don't think a person’s computer defines how much they use the Internet and how they use it. Buying a certain computer brand is a matter of choice for some and a matter of price for others, not always what they’re going to do with it on the Internet.

I like how Daughtry et al. (2008) attempt to examine the core relationship between a consumer's motivational sources for creating UGC (user-generated content) and how these sources affect perceptions of UGC. This is such a new topic and little research has been done, which is only hurting the tools’ potential and possibilities. Once we understand the relationships we can then fine-tune the mechanisms that are utilized by them. As also mentioned by Howe (2006), the media is becoming more and more consumed with UGC via emerging outlets and the convergence of traditional ones.

The public wants what they want and if the media isn’t going to give it to them then they’ll create it themselves. We are now part of a participatory culture, which “increasingly demands room for ordinary citizens to wield media technologies – technologies that were once the privilege of capital- intensive industries – to express themselves and distribute those creations as they seem fit” (van Dijck, 2009).