What is the difference between the media environment of the past and now?
In the past, people gathered together around a radio or queued up for the cinema to watch and listen to programmes at scheduled times. The media controlled these schedules and audiences play a more passive role.
Content creation and distribution required large equipment, plenty of manpower, and big business backing. Nowadays, content can be created using cheaper personal computers and mobile devices, and programmes can be watched via YouTube at a time that suits the audience. Typically audiences on the internet are individuals rather than families or groups of people, and they play an active role in both the content that is consumed and created.
What is the place of the Internet amidst these changes?
The Internet has facilitated distribution for everybody and everywhere, cheaply and freely. It also provides mechanisms for feedback channels, and as we power along with Web 2.0 collaboration methods. People are no longer subject to receiving stories from media moguls, we can create our own and share them as we like – as in “folk culture”. Take a look at this collaborative effort http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mjn7K6sl8M