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It is now an old fashioned idea to meet new people face to face. We recognise individuals in online communities or virtual spaces, and our expressions and interactions are taking place on computer screens. It is no longer about the content the consumer of media obtains, but the interaction "between media consumers and media texts and between media consumers and media producers"* that allows cyber culture to be so extensively participatory.
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are only the pinnacle of fans, and as pioneers of Cyber culture, we have now become online gurus where online interaction and virtual gaming is a pass time.
Networking sites are media platforms for fans to communicate and reiterate their opinions, it’s all about being connected and to up-to-date with information of the consumerist product they are a fan of. We are a need-to-know society, and want everything at the speed and click of a button. It is a means of expanding our storytelling experience for all to see.
Though the origin of participatory culture was not a product of the internet, it has evolved for fans and media consumers to now create and participate in do-it-yourself media. What happened before YouTube, Facebook and Twitter? What was life before these online communities?
Modern cyber culture is traced back to the 1960’s, including people’s radio, early video activism, underground newspapers and comics. Participatory consumers have evolved through popular culture into the internet and cyber age. No one though could have known or predicted the enormity of YouTube or Facebook as a mass media.
As internet users, we seem to get lost in its navigation somehow. With all its distractions, we somehow always find a way back to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. It is now embedded in our everyday lives to be in the ‘know’ and we are caught in a Wonderland world where can’t escape the virtual world.
I once read that, life in the real world is far more interesting, far more important, far richer, than anything you’ll ever find on a computer screen.
We immerse ourselves into an online cyber space for so long that we lose sight of what reality is. It is fair to say though that in the virtual world, there is a space to escape reality and that could be the reason why many fans and media consumers are choosing to be part of and produce their own world in cyber culture.
*Jenkins, H. (2002). Interactive Audiences?; The ‘Collective Intelligence’ of Media Fans. In Harries, D. Ed. The new media book. London, British Film Institute.