Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Web 2.0 part 3

Posted by jasendavis on February 15, 2017

I don’t like referring to spreadable media “gifts”. The idea of a gift is based on altruism; something has to be lost for someone else’s gain. In the era of Web 2.0, information that a person shares is not lost. They do not forfeit access to media once they spread it with other people. I do agree with using the word “commodity”. The reason I would call it a commodity is that people do have differential access to media and information. This could be a result of socioeconomic status or diminished connectedness or a lack of technological prowess. Therefore, some people possess a commodity that others seek to obtain. I like to use baseball analogies, and the best example I have of this is the twitter accounts of baseball insiders. People, including myself, that seek to stay up to date on the goings on of Major League Baseball depend on people such as Ken Rosenthal to get new information and breaking news. He has the connection to find the information that others seek. He can then choose to capitalize on his status, both financially and socially. I don’t see this as an issue in Web 2.0; I see it as history repeating itself. Just as some people have access that others don’t today, new technologies have always been available to some earlier than others. The issue really becomes policing the response that consumers give. Eventually, consumers and producers of information will develop a symbiotic existence that benefits both. For that reason, my argument would be that the title should be “What Web 2.0 has corrected . . . yet.”


6 Responses to “Web 2.0 part 3”

  1. adusheck said

    I like the idea of it being a gift. I like this because media truly is a gift, especially on the internet. If we did not have this gift most of us would not know what to do with our lives and would probably be failing all of our classes.

  2. I don’t know, I think Jasen brings up a good point. I would agree that it is more of a commodity than it is a gift. But it does say in the reading that both commodity and gift cultures are “complexly interwoven.”

  3. emilychildress329 said

    I agree that I do not like the term “gift” when talking about media. Gifts remind me of happy things and honestly media does not. Gifts are giving and receiving and with media I look at it that you are only receiving information.

  4. nathanpowers22 said

    I don’t really think anything needs to be “lost” for an act to be considered altruistic; that’s more of a sacrifice. If you take the same stance on what constitutes a “gift” as the book does, gift-giving can really be considered more of an obligation than an altruistic deed, anyway. Even if someone gives you a gift “out of the goodness of their heart,” I would argue that they expect some sort of positive response. While you wouldn’t exactly be required to give them a gift too (especially if it came out of nowhere), I would say most people would at least want a “thank you” and for you to see them as a nice or good person. I think this is the same sort of social expectation media producers have when they provide content for “free” and is thus why the book describes such action as part of a gift economy as opposed to one based purely on financial gain.

    • jasendavis said

      The way I see it, a gift requires the forfeit of some type of opportunity cost (money spent on the gift or time spent making or finding it). In that way it differs. Most shared media isn’t the result of a person searching with the specific motive of finding media others will enjoy. Most people only seek something to benefit themselves.

      • nathanpowers22 said

        That’s a fair point about the “investment” side of a gift I wasn’t really considering in my response. I also agree that most, if not all, people are only seeking their own benefit, entertainment, etc. when spreading media. However, just because the motives are selfish does not mean that the consequences are only beneficial at an individual level.

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