The first thing I will be taking away from this class is that I am a produser. In many ways I am a stereotypical product of the information generation that systematically engages in the cycle of consumption that is social media. However, I am not only a consumer. I am also a producer of my own creative content, and the first couple weeks of this course forced me to analyze my own identity as a participant in social media and to deconstruct the ways I engage and participate. This distinction is important for me moving forward because I am starting a new marketing coordinator job and it is important for me to be knowledgeable of how I interact online and what others respond to.
The second thing I have learned is how my actions online and interactions with media can seem insignificant to me, but can be perpetuating negative, macro-level issues. We learned about how participating online is arguably participatory and can seem like it is for our benefit, however our participation makes sure someone gets paid, and perpetuates capitalism. Last week’s assignments also had me thinking of how my actions online reinforce social segregation and inequalities, which is something that can only be realized once you stop seeing your online participation as an individual situation. One week’s readings were on e-waste and the disposal of our old media devices. Although I am not so guilty of this, it still opened my eyes to how what may seem like just throwing an iPod to us, is multiplied by thousands of individuals and is devastating to those who live across seas beside the incinerating materials. This knowledge will definitely keep me more mindful of how I recycle my devices in the future and make sure others are aware as well.
The third thing I will remember from this class is the importance of being an informed consumer or participant. Similar to the things mentioned above, we need to be aware of how our individual actions affect macro-level social phenomena, but also of what we are actually consuming. We need to research the companies we buy products from, and deconstruct common sense thinking that tells us things such as Wikipedia being an open encyclopedia. We should know by now that almost everything we hear from top-down companies only works to serve profit and capitalism as a whole, without our best interests at heart. Therefore, we need to do our best to do our research before forming an opinion and investing in certain products and their corresponding lifestyles.