Monday, October 19, 2009

Sooo...Castells is my new fave scholar!!

This week I decided to view some other posts from other groups, and I found a very interesting post about a character named Johnny who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for winning his political campaign of world domination. It was absolutely intriguing because it presented Castells' article and views in a clear, understandable, and entertaining manner. Nonetheless, it further emphasized how I have truly grown to enjoy Castells' scholarly work. Much of what he discussed in this week's article related to communication (duh!) and the ever-constant convergence of media. He also touched on power relations and media politics. To touch breifly on power relations, his understanding of power was the capacity of a social actor to impose his will on another social actor. He discussed counter-power, which was the social actor's capability of resisting the imposition. He made many common truth points about society using media as their political platform informants. Therefore, in a sense, media has a power of importance becasue politics depends upon media politics. However, the power is not in the hands of the media.

The part of Castells' reading that was overly interesting to me was the section discussing mass self-communication. This was intriguing because mass self-communication is the way many of my mentors and idols in my line of work (media entertainment) remain relevant, brand themselves, and stay afloat in the ever-changing global world of media. Horizontal networks of interactive communication are imperative nowadays. Radio listeners and music fans alike want to be able to actively communicate with the celebrities. Fanmail and generic email responses do not cut it anymore. People want the personal feel. (i.e. blogs and social networking sites). In another aspect, mass self-communication offers a medium for social movements. Protests can be arranged in a matter of minutes if the right medium is chosen and the right amount of people view the message and respond accordingly. To this day I still cannot recollect the point in my life where facebook, twitter, youtube, ireports, etc. became such a hot commodity and a "medium" themselves. These forms of mass self communication are also testament to America's existing culture. It "emphasizes individual autonomy, and the self-construction of the project of the social actor." With that, maybe there is hope to holding on to a national identity!! Mass self-communication is making a significant impact upon the media and its traditional practices because the large media conglomerates have even joined the movement by acquiring MySpace and YouTube, to name a couple.

In closing, Castells was very clear in stating that "the autonomy of newtorking sites does not imply competition against the mainstream media." This is a very important point because everytime society moves toward new forms of media, others debate about the extinction of past media. (i.e. radio to television, television to internet). The media must remember that convergence is the future! Mainstream media and new technologies are co-existing. Personally, and I may be wrong, but on the surface with all things held equal; media convergence is a positive for all forms of media. It brings rejunvenation to the older, more traditional forms and creates new ways to market young people like me!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that convergence is overall a positive thing for media. It definitely offers so many opportunities for new forms of expression, especially for younger people who are more open to learning new technological interfaces (new types of cell phones, laptops, etc). There's also a lot of potential for developing countries to benefit from convergence. Of course, as we've discussed, convergence can lead to issues with conglomeration and concentration of media power as well. However, it will continue to happen regardless, so I think more policy and governance is needed so it will happen in the best way possible.