Reflection paper: The impact of user-generated content

by Koree S. Monteloyola

 

             Being a web programmer, my work is closely tied to what the new media has to offer. The great amount of time that I spend in writing programs and browsing the internet puts me at a favorable situation to discuss second orality and its effects in the social construction of reality, ideology, power and domination. My reflection about the aforementioned subjects and concepts would be mostly based on Walter J. Ong’s book, Orality and Literacy.

            Ong stated in his book, Orality and Literacy,that a “second orality” is arising in Western societies with the advent of telephone, television and new electronic technologies”. I’d like to believe that Ong had successfully predicted what we are all experiencing at this day and age on the web, which is the profound publication of user-generated content.

I was also surprised that Ong included writing computer programs in his study, and considered it to be a performative literature. I agree when he expressed that although writing programs is not seen as a form of writing by the current literary tradition, it has subgenres that make up the performative works which most education people today encounter most frequently. [1]

After reading Gidden’s formulation of the dialectic of control as a process of enablement as well as constraint [2], I have come to realize that yes, the web applications that I create provoke human interaction and somehow there’s power and domination in my creation since my software defines the scope and limitation of usability, especially if internet users would rely on my application because it offers some information or interactivity that they would find dependable or addictive.

Affirming in a study entitled, “The Media Construction of Everyday Reality”, it stated that “media operates upon several levels in influencing and shaping both worldview and cultural and psychological patterning of human behavioral response”[3], Considering that new media has adopted the presentation and content of traditional media, at least to some extent, I believe that the current state of the World Wide Web is now almost equal in changing and shaping the point of view of those people who are considered to be free thinkers. To prove this point I remember how President Barack Obama, the first African-American president, launched an evolutionary campaign on the web, which immensely influenced and convinced internet users in the United States to vote for him. He was one of the first successful politicians to harness the potencial of the web.

Ong affirmed that with the development of print, Western culture moved event further away from a hearing dominated sensory world to one governed by sight [4], I suppose this has been more compelling in the advent of Web 2.0. He also goes to great pains to indicate that he feels that neither orality nor literacy is superior[4]. I agree with him. I believe that an idea is still an idea, regardless of whatever form an idea is presented. It doesn’t matter which medium is superior or inferior, what’s important is how both technology or method promotes growth and helps human beings in reaching their full potential.

 

 References:

[1] Orality and Literacy; Walter Ong; http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~mhalber/Research/Guides/ong-oral.html

[2] Communication and Power in organizations: Discourse, Ideology and Domination; Dennis K. Mumby; http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/570/476

[3] The Media Construction of Everyday Reality;  Feb 2005; http://www.lewismicropublishing.com/Publications/SystemsEssaysIII/MediaConstructionEverydayLifeSEIII.htm

[4] Review of Walter J. Ong's Orality and Literacy; http://www.engl.niu.edu/wac/ong_rvw.html

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