The internet is constantly growing and becoming a part of our lifestyle. Over the years the internet revolved from a consumer culture to a participatory culture. Back in 1990s, the internet was limited to consumerism, a mere platform for NGOs and existing groups to network. (Lovink 2013) The main goal for this early generation of the internet, also known as Web 1. 0, was for consumers to view contents rather than to interact. Web 2. 0, introduced in 2004 by Tim O’ Reilly, is the second generation of the internet that revolves around user-generated content. It is a platform for anyone to participate in, therefore a participatory culture. (Lovink 2013) Participatory culture influences millennials in education and politics awareness.
Today, participatory culture allows everyone to easily access the internet to share new media and produce media. (Edutopia 2013) Henry Jenkins is the Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education at the University of Southern California and is an author of many books about new media and popular culture, including one titled “Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture”. (Jenkins, Ford, & Green 2018) He mentioned that participatory culture dated back to the Tory Printing-Press movement in 1850s where youths used toy printing presses to produce zines sending them across the country. Participatory culture then carried on to the 1920s where amateur radio operators such as students, boy scouts and even churches managed communications through their own radio stations in their neighbourhoods. These young activists took advantage of new technologies to share creations and to have a voice in the community. (TEDxTalks 2010) Web 2. 0 is easy to access, encourages sociality and is a platform for users to upload content for free. (Lovink 2013) Henry Jenkins noted, in the white paper for MacArthur, that more youths are participating in society. There are many platforms on the internet, such as YouTube, blogs and websites, available for youths in the cyberspace community to contribute and circulate ideas for learning and inspiring. This is folk culture. People are neither experts nor are they sharing for money, rather, they are participating because they http://www. usc. edu/http://www. usc. edu/have passion for sharing and learning new skills. A case study by Jenkin’s graduates revealed that students learn more efficiently and creatively online than in school.
The reason is that students tend to do what they love after school when they are at home such as making music or drawing. Hence, their interests bring them online where skills are shared for free (for instance on YouTube). (Edutopia 2013) With that much freedom on the internet, producing any form of new media is limitness, from a funny video to tutorials and even to sharing political views online. Activists utilise the internet to spread political awareness or to voice out social movements to make a change in the community. The network system in the internet has a huge impact on millennials regarding activism and politics today since information can be circulated a lot faster than posters and newspapers. (Lovink 2013) The “v Taiwan” is an example of participatory governance which resulted from the problems of legal online alcohol sales being made easily accessible to the public, including children. Activists and government officials took the initiative to raise awareness about this issue through a platform called “v Taiwan”. In March 2016, 450 citizens participated in voting and contributed solutions. Through participatory culture, they managed to make sales of legal online alcohol stricter. (Horton 2018) In conclusion, participatory culture is one where people contribute creations and new media in Web 2. 0 as a form of self-expression.
Social engagement influences millennials through self-learning and absorption of ideas and skills supplied by prosumers on cyberspace. As a result, youths can become activists in political movements and in spreading awareness of various issues.