The 3Ds- triple axle of Participatory media

Posted: October 9, 2011 in New Media

Mainstream commercial media have failed to meet its objectives to report truthful events and serve as a forum of the exchange of comment and criticism while providing a representative picture of constituent groups in society. As a result, there was an uproar of the development of various forms of community media or alternative media in the second half of the twentieth century. Examples of alternative voices in media are  community radio. It is often in association with low-powered stations set up on university campuses  to promote access, participation, and openness to perspectives not covered in mainstream media because the the press has lost its credibility of being responsible and trustworthy.

Atton defines alternative media as being characterized by:
1. De-professionalization: the capacity to write, publish, and distribute news, ideas and comment that is not contingent upon a set of professional skills, values, and norms that make a potential contributor ‘qualified’ to disseminate such material
2.  De-instituationalization: the ability to get such material into the public domain, which is not contingent upon the decision-making practices of large-scale media institutions, whether in the commercial or public sectors
3. De-capitalization:  the willingness to distribute media in all forms through mechanisms that require low-up front investments and low recurrent costs, so that the capacity to disseminate media content is not thwarted by the prior need for market viability of the distributing venture

It doesn’t take someone with a degree in Computer sciences to distribute something on the Internet. It doesn’t require a team of marketing professionals to make a digital product have a worldwide recognition. All it requires to put something in the media is a computer and an Internet access and this is exactly what Atton means with the 3Ds. Having the ability to de-professionalize means that anyone and everyone can post something on YouTube or write a blog (just as I am right now). You don’t have to hold a degree or a certificate that proves that you are a ‘professional’ in such an area. The ingredient lies in your opinion and values. Sometimes, a  famous video or a website can be produced by an amateur (s). Check out the YouTube video, ‘David after the dentist.’ That was shot by an average dad with his average kid who just happened to be hallucinating due to the anesthetic effect after the dentistry. There was no marketing, advertisements or famous celebrities to make this one short clip have millions of views. What they just had was a camera and a hilarious kid and with public websites such as YouTube or Flickr that enables user-generated content to be put up on the mainstream media, everyday people have the ability to de-institutionalize. Also, with the contemporary society so technologically advanced, there’s cameras in everything, so it is very easy and cost-efficient to distribute media that does not need sponsorship or investments, allowing you to de-capitalize as well.

So go out there and start filming interesting stuff, and allow your contents to be put on the Web for the whole world to see and share. Who knows? You might become the next Justin Bieber. All he did was post videos of him singing on YouTube. 

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