Our digital avatars, our digital communities, and the paradox of participatory media.
long gone are the days of the one-way street of consuming media; now we site ourselves and those we choose to interact with in an online medium as storytellers, reporters, influencers, and trolls.
Communities of practice theory and our involvement in both professional and personal usage of social networks has dawned a new area of media presence. Within almost all aspects of our life, we choose to utilize the apparatus of network organizations and analytical techniques to relay what we choose to say or sell via the set of interconnections amongst nodes that permeate the foundation of online communities.
When viewed from a perspective of pure network analysis we recognize that our ‘professional’ and ‘social’ participation within the online sphere derive from the same systems. Yet, when we view these two forms of online participation from a results-based analysis, we recognize that thier structure incorporates differing modes of sharing and hierarchical positioning. What I gain from ‘professional’ use of social media is determined by gains in economic return and social connectivity which better sustains market presence and consistency. I recognize my professional use of media substitutes any contextual form of emotion from myself, and instead implicates an assumed emotional response from the audience. In example, the use of familiar and favorited foods alongside cherished family or community-based environments are commonly used in not only my own Cooking Wine advertisements, but almost all culinary advertisements worldwide. This is Advertisement 101 and can be recognized and recycled even by the likes of someone like me with no training in advertisement.
It becomes evident when recognizing my ‘social’ online participation that it is entirely dependent upon my demonstration of my emotional self and the interests which spark emotional or informational interest. My ‘social’ media presence is not determined by fiscal or market-based incentive but by the further reinforcement of social connectivity, devoid of hierarchy.
The interconnection of these two forms of my online participation is that they involve network organizations that have well defined points of access that explicitly decide to include and exclude participants. They also involve associative clusters and communities that have no criteria-based access and allow the involvement of all. My experience of social and professional online platforms reflects the nature of participatory media, as it paradoxically sets to inform an audience whilst that audience simultaneously has the operative ability to transform, endorse or revoke the released information.