As for the positive aspects of Facebook--increased social connection, seeing my friends act stupid or inspiring, communicating with people instantly from all over the world--I leave them with a heavy heart. It has become the main point of contact between me and my family, as well as between me and my oldest friends. But after much soul searching, I just can't have the temptation of putting my creative energy into Facebook. I find that no matter what, no matter how profound of an idea I find in my post, or how amazing or sincere the comments from my friends, I am left with a sense of disenchantment or disenfranchisement in knowing that a small group of people got very, very rich off of my hard work.
I've been reading a lot about participatory cultures for school, and I really think they are the wave of the future in education and social connection. According to Henry Jenkins, who coined the phrase, a participatory culture is one in which the people who are experiencing media participate in the interpretation, construction, and distribution of the media they are experiencing. It turns out, participatory media culture is the wave of the past, as it is what allowed a couple nerds like Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel to be able to create fanzines to spread the word about their new science fiction villain Superman. As history tells us, Superman became a hero, but not through the creator-owned fanzine version he originated in, but through a mass-media empire. And of course, Siegel and Shuster were heavily bilked out of a lot of money from that empire. But times have changed, and we are now able to control so much more of our media. But Facebook impresses too much control, control that has shaped every word I've typed there, and I am now aiming to participate in the internet in a new way. A way where I have a little more control.
I think that through our hard work--status updates, baby photos, visual gags, memes, and art--we have become the Siegel and Shuster of our time. We created Facebook. We made it what it was, and we didn't get anything for it. We made this generation's Superman, an idea that changed the way the entire world functions. But, there is a plus side, we have made participatory culture cool. We have made it the norm and the increasingly standard way to experience media. This blog is my attempt to experience a little more of that participation without any of the baggage of Facebook. Some posts will be long like this one, and others will be short. But I will participate fully in the creation and distribution of every one.