Take this scenario:
“I don’t like wine.”
“Why? Wine is healthy and a glass a day is good for your heart.”
“Oh, yeah? What does it do to your heart?”
“Oh I don’t know, I have heard it from a lot of people.”
I am using this scenario as an analogy to what participatory media can be interpreted as. I think participatory media has paved the way for more critical thinking, but it has also put us back in a way. It has happened where we learn a very basic knowledge of a subject and we suddenly become experts on the subject without really doing our own research. People use links of news, videos, blogs, and etc. as their primary resource and then share them, either disagreeing or agreeing, on their social networks where other people are able to see their personal opinions. I think that that’s pretty impressive; the way that we are able to connect with people through similar perspectives. The question is: Where do we draw the line as to what is credible or not?
To believe or not to believe? Although participatory media is an encouragement for connection and understanding of others, it is also very superficial and not sustainable by facts and statistics.
Participatory media is about creating content, either it is credible or not, it is about “participating” in the gaining of knowledge of the people you share your constructed content with. Sometimes something that a friend or family member in your news feed posted is more credible and real than an article smothered in facts and statistics that you are skeptical about. As Leah Lievrouw said “Be the media.”
With that said, does that mean that journalism is declining? In my opinion journalism is not declining, but it is going through a rough patch of change because it is in between the tidal waves of the challenges of participatory media and the shift of medium (print to digital).
Going back to the wine analogy, my opinion is that only you can decide what to believe. It is up to you to just learn from media and not develop personal opinions and ideals or to learn from content that you stumble upon in your social networks and develop critiques and opinions . It is up to you to go deeper and really understand that the antioxidants in wine protect against any arterial damages and reduces the heart diseases by increasing the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.