As a member of this era where I am empowered to participate in almost anything I want because of the internet and social media, I almost feel as if I have the tools I need to overcome the world. I have always been aware of all the options out there in terms of participation but I didn’t realize that there lay power in these methods. Rheingold sums it up by saying that “knowing how to blog, tweet, wiki…and/or organize online can lead to political, cultural and economic value.” The web is such a concentrated place that the forming of individuals with a similar interests can vastly and rapidly grow crossing any geographical or physical boundaries. By being able to connect whether it be through a RT on Twitter or a Like on Facebook these individuals are empowered by the support of others.
Other than collaboration and empowerment, a participatory culture also is described as liberating by Rheingold. It breaks down all the walls of “I can’t” into “I can.” This is done through showing people how to make their own music, movies, form of entertainment, etc and not limiting it to the professionals in those fields. It also allows for the sharing of these artistic creations and the development/critique by others. It is what made Justin Bieber who he is today. He simply shared his singing talent online and was turned into a superstar because of his popularity as an online celebrity.
However while reading this chapter I couldn’t help but think of the millions of people that don’t have access to internet and the differences they have with us. Are they truly crippled or less ‘able’ to participate because they aren’t involved in the online community? The participatory culture that Rheingold describes is, after all, limited to us privileged people that DO have access to the internet. Are we at an advantage because we are exposed to other people’s ideas, groups and input? I’m not quite sure about that but it is definitely something to think about.