Free flowing content or locked appliance; Control or protection?

How often do we use the internet? Realistically, with our current unlimited access, the number of times would astound. Previously accessing the ‘internet’ involved waiting patiently for it to connect. Nowadays we are constantly logged on; linked from laptops, phones and iPads. We can now be connected wherever we go, but with access comes choices. (altered paragraph)

Clay Shirky explains that social networking creates global unity where society can take action together and create change. Media circulates information, helping consumers engage and communicate and as a result “strengthens the public sphere”. These platforms allow users to network human thoughts and design around each other. Alternatively, there are locked appliances which are successful for having total control over the content and their users. (altered paragraph)

The success of contributing ideas is evident in Evan Williams‘s video regarding Twitter. By tweeting petrol prices and locations, users work together by sharing information and ideas. Twitter (the original concept) through convergence has developed and demonstrates features that it wasn’t originally designed for by this public intervention. Wikipedia’s ten year success is also attributed to these free flowing network principles.

Free flowing digital content is shown in the Android mobile phone where there is an abundance of applications available. Digital freedom can have  negative consequences, as Jonathan Zittrain warns consumers about viruses, spam, delays  and crashes. So really, is this freedom worth it?

Skype has also experienced media convergence, where the original idea has grown from just communicating with friends and family, to expanding into the world of business and education. Though it has changed in these areas, Skype is a locked and highly restrictive platform where audiences don’t have the power to choose how it develops. Consumers are given a successful product which cannot be changed by outside forces.

So I’ll leave you with this dilemma, regarding our infinite relationship with the internet. Do we choose a media platform with free flowing content which is open but may be susceptible to viruses and security problems? Or a platform which is closed, restrictive and incapable of utilising the new ideas of consumers? The choice is yours!

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