Week 3 Reading Response

Do it yourself, get engaged, and participate in the digital space. As I read,  Lankshear and Knobel’s chapter on DIY media I couldn’t help but reflect on the notion of “produser.” We must actively participate and produce media, rather than just consume it. As I woke up to the new ticker yesterday and the Brexit decision flying by, I was struck with the discussion of DIY economics and democratic debate. My social media pages were fully of statements, discussions, and a sense of sudden change into the unknown. As a consumer it is easy to passively engage and observe what is going on. However, as Lankshear and Knobel (2008) suggest, “the concept of produser captures how digital, distributed networks make possible non-hierarchical and open participation in online communities, the rapid sharing of ideas and resources, how users are able to tap into the collective intelligence of a group or community to contribute in small, modular ways to larger projects, and how knowledge can be used and shared among peers and experts” (pg. 10) . When we engage online and create meaning through text, image, video, sound we are no longer merely consuming information we are actively using it.

The concept of affinity spaces as generative environments where we can pull learning from those who are participating, challenges the traditional approaches to learning and the pushing of information. This weeks reading and the international political landscape made me want to dive into deliberative discourse. According to Donald Ellis (2010), “ The tendency for citizens to identify with larger groups and direct their loyalty to organizations such as political parties is destabilizing to pluralistic democracies. The internet can play an important role in the decentralization that is necessary to ensure that small discourse communities are included in the deliberative process” (pg. 4). In a direct democracy we vote and hold elections however it has issues as, “it fails to inform and actualize its participants. Nothing ensures that citizens will have informed opinions or that they will give thought to the impact of the decision on others” (Ellis, D., 2010, pg. 6). In a deliberative democracy mutual reason-giving is required . In a “ddeliberative social system moves people out of their parochial interests and contributes to a broader sense of community mindedness, as well as providing new information that clarifies and informs opinions” (Ellis, D, 2010, pg. 7).

Identity widening can be influences through, “participation in digital media affinities for doing identity work can be understood as an integral and radically coherent dimension of being a contemporary person living a contemporary life” (Lankshear and Knobel, 2008, pg. 14). Digital media and being a produser within this space allows for deliberative discourse evolve.  Ellis (2008) suggests “as in any deliberative or dialogue group there must be equality with even access to speaking,transparency so no rules of the public space are secret or biased, and accountability” (pg. 11). The anonymity that can exist in digital discourse has to be removed in order to be deliberative. It requires that the participant be authentic and vulnerable when participating in the digital public sphere. Rather than hidden and promoting ones beliefs from behind a shield. I’m not sure I am there yet myself, but it’s interesting to consider this type of courageous conversation. 

Ellis, Donald G. (2010) “Online Deliberative Discourse and Conflict Resolution,” Landscapes of Violence: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 6

http://scholarworks.umass.edu/lov/vol1/iss1/6/

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