“Like” this

12Sep11

While reading the end of Chapter 2 on the topic of convergence culture, I started to think about how this concept applies in my everyday life especially when it comes to “active or passive spectatorship of mediated culture” (Deuze 74). What came to mind was the implementation of “Like” or “Recommend” Facebook buttons on virtually any website or news story you read online nowadays (not to mention the dozens of other ways one can share content via other social media outlets). I recall when this feature was first employed, a little over a year ago, and how foreign it seems to be linked between my Facebook account and the other websites I was visiting. Today however, it seems like second nature to see who “recommends” a certain news story along with what friends share articles on my daily newsfeed. For the past few years, people have already been engaging in news media online to some extent with the ability to post comments or questions. Now people are given the option to login and be part of a greater community conversation or as the text put it “consumers are learning how….to bring the flow of media more fully under their control and interact with other users” (Deuze 74-75).

On a related note, the ability to “Like” websites has created some controversy for Germany recently. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, the data protection commissioner in a northern state of Germany “declared that Facebook’s ‘Like’ button violated German data protection laws” and “order[ed] that the button be removed from websites in the German state.” You can read more about how the German Minister urges the government to quit Facebook here. It will be interesting to see how other countries, such as Germany, tailor themselves in this way with new technologies and social media while still being party of the larger global community’s “cultural conversation.”

-Sarah Dresser

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