Transforming Audiences Keynote

[crossposted at the Mapping Online Publics blog.]

On the 1st and 2nd of September I was in London at the third Transforming Audiences conference, hosted by CAMRI at the University of Westminster. I was one of four keynote presenters – alongside Nancy Baym, Patricia Lange, and Adriana de Souza e Silva. I had a great time, and I’m very grateful to David Gauntlett and the other conference organisers for inviting me. The keynotes were all video-recorded, and I’ll post the video of mine here once it becomes available. In the meantime, here are my abstract and a copy of the slides (mostly pictures, as is my practice when giving these kinds of talks).

From ‘Broadcast Yourself’ to ‘Follow Your Interests’: Social media five years on

When YouTube started to become popular in 2006, it had little functionality beyond the uploading and sharing of videos, and the invocation to ‘broadcast yourself’. Around the same time, Twitter first invited users to share everyday updates with friends and colleagues in response to the simple question ‘What are you doing?’. In 2011, YouTube is a central player in the contemporary media ecology, extending well beyond amateur videosharing; and Twitter plays an increasingly central role in the origination and dissemination of real-time news, largely as a result of social, cultural and technological innovations originally introduced by the user community. At the same time, the ongoing commercial evolution of these and other ‘social media’ platforms has gradually repositioned us – as ‘users’ – in new ways. In this presentation I trace some common trajectories across several social media platforms, and discuss their consequences for the future of participatory culture.