A Challenge to Mass Media

03 Oct

This post will focus on two prompts from the class Multimedia Storytelling: Digital Distribution & the Story. The questions raised are:

How does YouTube help us to confront some of participatory culture’s challenges?
How would you describe the complex relations between producers and consumers?

For the past century mass media had a stranglehold on consumers. Now, instead of being at the mercy of large corporations to produce entertaining and educational content, people now have YouTube. YouTube has shifted the balance of power and created a major challenge for traditional media. Content distribution, one of the many reasons why it was difficult to produce material in the past has now become extremely easy. YouTube allows people to have control over what is produced. There will be little need for major media corporations to distribute content if people are able to do it themselves.

YouTube has also destroyed the barriers between people who produce content and those who consume it. A very complex relationship has formed between old and new forms of production and consumption. For example, television was a form of one-way communication that did not allow any user engagement. YouTube allows content consumers to comment, respond with a vlog, rate it, or become engaged through their network of friends. The complex relationship between producer and consumer is the model for the future. The relationship between the two will be rough at first, but it will create a more engaged and committed user base in the future.


Posted by on October 3, 2010 in Uncategorized


5 responses to “A Challenge to Mass Media

  1. Drew Keller

    October 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I think the jury is still out whether online video will increase engagement in content. Once the novelty wears off I wonder how they will respond. Will we go back to a few make content for the many or we reach a tipping point for truly participatory media. I honestly don’t know which way it will go. If I did that is where I would throw all my money.

  2. Elizabeth Noagi

    October 5, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I think it’s interesting that we would all agree that mass media has ‘had a stranglehold on consumers’ and yet at the same time…they were just doing the same thing we now see on YouTube. The difference is transparency. We can now see what people like, share, etc. In the past, it was mass media that controlled the data and shifted our content based on we liked.

  3. sara1beth

    October 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I agree that corporate media organizations have had one-way power to create and distribute content, and they are confronted with a major dynamic shift with YouTube-type sites. But I wonder how much influence YouTube has to control or supplant what is actually produced by these organizations (as opposed to the distribution model). YouTube cannot be the forum to view entire movies or newscasts, etc., and so consumers here can edit, comment on, or highlight the professional content (a redactional role) or even create their own videos–but they are still at the mercy of the major media corporations to create and distribute the long-form original content.

  4. Derek Walker

    October 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    I’m not sure if You Tube will eliminate the need for professional content, but it certainly will force those major media corporations to up the quality of the content they distribute. If the content they create falls short, they’ll be certain to hear about it.

    • evanwestmedia

      October 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      I don’t think YouTube will eliminate professional content. There will still be major productions like American Idol that millions watch. Once funding and better ways to target media to those who care about it have been refined small producers will have a better chance competing with major studios.


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