With the advent of the internet and the explosion of content, legacy media models have begun to flounder in the new information age. Where news used to be in the hands of the gatekeeper, it is now in the hands of the masses, the prosumers, also known as gatewatchers. What becomes valuable in this period is the endless cycle of massified information production, aggregation, and curation.
This cycle is characterised by Bruns when he talks about gatewatching, which he says is “conducted on a far more ad hoc, decentralised and crowdsourced basis than has been possible for gatekeeper journalism.” Like the permanent beta, this cycle is continuous and unfinished. This cycle lends itself to what Bruns describes as ‘deliberative journalism,’ where conversation is the vehicle for production, aggregation, and curation.
Take Twitter, for example, where meaningless individual tweets join together to create the resonant effect of a story unfolding as they are aggregated with hashtags and curated by comment and analysis. Johnson sums up this unfolding of a story by describing it as “a suspension bridge made of pebbles.” In a world where information is abundant, coherence is key. We gain this coherence through the valuable, and often scarce, services of aggregation and curation, which gives information value, because it suddenly transforms from being confusing to clear.
Bruns, A 2009, News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions For e-journalism, EJournalism: New Directions in Electronic News Media, New Delhi, BR Publishing, pp. 01-20.
Johnson, S 2009, How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live, TIME, viewed 19 September 2015, http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1902604,00.html
Mitew, T 2014, Bridges Made of Pebbles: Social Media and the Rise of Gatewatchers [part 1], online video, YouTube, viewed 19 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1wlVOQA8y8&index=28&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j
Mitew, T 2014, Bridges Made of Pebbles: Social Media and the Rise of Gatewatchers [part 2], online video, YouTube, viewed 19 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YugX5gZxNRc&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=29
Mitew, T 2014, Bridges Made of Pebbles: Social Media and the Rise of Gatewatchers [part 3], online video, YouTube, viewed 19 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgsf8cVKWo8&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=30
Israelson, N 2009, Bulgaria Pollution River, image, Flickr, viewed 19 September 2015, https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedxgp2/5143061821
Note: I have modified Israelson’s image.