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New Media, Communication, and Society

A Fast, Straightforward Examination of Key Topics

Mary Ann Allison and Cheryl A. Casey

New Media, Communication, and Society is a fast, straightforward examination of key topics which will be useful and engaging for both students and professors. It connects students to wide-ranging resources and challenges them to develop their own opinions. Moreover, it encourages students to develop media literacy so they can speak up and  make a difference in the world. Short chapters with lots of illustrations encourage reading and provide a springboard for conversation inside and outside of the classroom. Wide-ranging topics spark interest. Chapters include suggestions for additional exploration, a media literacy exercise, and a point that is just for fun. Every chapter includes thought leaders, ranging from leading researchers to business leaders to entrepreneurs, from Socrates to Doug Rushkoff and Lance Strate to Bill Gates.

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2 Commoners Become Media Kings (Mary Ann Allison)

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CHAPTER 2

Commoners Become Media Kings

Mary Ann Allison

New media systems bring power to the people

In the past several decades, developments in communication technologies have given many ordinary people the ability to extend their reach beyond the limits of a letter, picture, or telephone call. Formerly the exclusive domain of businesses and governments who could afford radio or TV broadcasting stations, individuals can now make their messages available to millions around the world simply by posting a picture or showing a video, tweet, or Facebook status.

Whether others choose to get these messages is a different question. Many times, just a few people, one person, or no one, reads or hears the messages we send. But sometimes, even when we don’t expect a global audience, we suddenly have one. Imagine how surprised one of my students was when her picture appeared in a huge billboard advertisement in Eastern Europe. She’d posted the picture but then removed it and assumed no one had any further access to it. During the time it was up, someone copied it.

In addition to amplifying our power to send messages, for those with access to the phone and Internet networks, we have the ability to access a wealth of connections and information. In their book Abundance, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler (2012) give us an interesting way of thinking about this:

Right now a Masai warrior...

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