We are currently living in an era where consumers are producers of their own blogs, videos, and news. The emergence of the Internet has allowed each and every one of us to comment on and provide feedback to almost anything in the world through blog posts or vlogs, which are becoming more popular with the inception of YouTube. People can post blogs about matters that concern them, and update their content several times a day (example: Arianna Huffington, huffingtonpost.com). Others can post blogs about things that interest them and their small group of loyal readers, such as blogs about celebrity gossip (Perezhilton.com). Still, others just write blogs for the sake of writing them, and only choose to have them read by a select few people. The point is that the Internet has been used as a tool for freedom of speech in the U.S. and we are not only using it to comment on politics, celebrities, world affairs, businesses, environment, economy etc., but we are using it as a tool for fact-checking and accuracy. The most interesting thing I read in Chapters 3 and 5 was how the Internet has affected the craft of journalism. In my opinion, journalists are being held to a higher standard of ethical behavior, especially since ordinary citizens can fact-check and find inconsistencies in reporters' published stories whenever they want. For reporters, this may sometimes be a nuisance, to have everybody and anybody willing and able to comment on stories. However, opening up the dialogue between citizens, media and government is essential in this day and age. This also causes editors to be more vigilant of reporters. In my opinion, they have to be vigilant otherwise they run the risk of an average Joe finding inconsistencies or erroneous facts in reporter’s stories, and thus ruining the reputation of their respective publications. Journalists aren’t the only ones who have to worry about being criticized by the public. Politicians are in the public eye 24/7 now (especially during this election). Since each of us have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips through the Internet, it is easy to find hypocritical statements in politicians speeches because we can compare them with past public speeches. For example, when Hillary Clinton recalled last year that she had to “duck under sniper fire” during her life-threatening trip to Bosnia in 1992, reporters soon found that her statements were completely untrue. In fact, they played clips of her speech and the actual footage from Bosnia back to back in an ABC newscast that proved that she landed safely, never once was in danger, and was even having a good time singing songs with some of the soldiers. This had to be a major embarrassment for her and her campaign, especially since that clip is on YouTube for everyone to see again and again and again. Open source politics is even more prevalent today, too. Gillmor was right in saying that “net savvy campaigning will be the rule by 2008.” One can easily see this is true by looking at the web sites of both presidential candidates. They have tons of information about issues, voting, vice presidents, and they also have an area for donating money online. One can also view every speech they’ve made in their entire campaign in video. Obama has even gone a step further, by sending personal e-mails (well, at least they seem personal when they have your name at the top), to supporters about issues and upcoming events. It is evident that we are living in a world where voyeurism and being connected 24/7 is the norm, and we can either adjust or fall into the abyss.
In the book We the Media chapter three addresses the issue of how immensely web technology has transitioned our communication. A shock came to many newsmakers that with new forms of online connections, communications have aspired between humans and “Information is an ocean, and newsmakers can no longer control the tide as easily as they once did.” (45) With this new rules evolved. Primarily any citizen can venture into others lives and give a voice about it. Also information flows rapidly, and not necessarily be truthful. In the following pages the chapter explores many cases in which communication technology has altered the way we live, especially in the business sense, as well as how we consume information. Moreover, weblogs, SMS, and e-mail all perform the function of a forum. Here an exchange of ideas occurs, allowing communication to fly.
In chapter five, “The Consent of the Governed” the book delves into how the web has altered how politicians mange their campaigns. They had factor into creating a name for themselves on the internet, as well as using it to their advantage, realizing that the internet was a progressive way into people’s homes and heads. The book states that Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s recall campaign began online, it even says that Ross Perot suggested in his 1992 run for presidency that there should be “electronic townhalls. In addition, since bolgs allows anyone to be a journalist, information true of false could be posted and in fact create a rise. “Big Media, and the candidates, also started to realize that some of the best political journalism was coming from outside their ranks.” (103) Overall it seems that the internet has blown up in people’s faces and with many not knowing how to handle it.