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People Power documents the affect social media has had on our lives and through interviews with the founders of Napster, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook explains the rise of Web 2.0 and the cultural, commercial, and social impact this means of two-way communication has had on society. The program also looks at how traditional media companies have alternately rejected and embraced the Web at different times, as evidenced by the recording industry’s suit against Napster and NewsCorps’s purchase of MySpace.

First coined in 1999, the term Web 2.0 describes web sites that have gone beyond the static pages of early web sites and utilised technology to allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis and video sharing sites

Australians are now some of the most active social media users in the world and much of the user content based sites have broken down the influence and power that the traditional forms of media once possessed, such as Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and the music industry

The latest Australian social media stats show that almost half of the Australian population is signed up to Facebook. Although it doesn’t stop there as we continue to embrace new social tools such as Instagram, a photo sharing network, which quickly grew to 100 million members globally. As social media use continues to expand across the country it imparts a new sense of social power upon its users known as the ‘people power’ concept, which was described in the documentary. It refers to the change from one way communication where in the past the media has dictated what we as consumers see and instead now relies on its users to provide content for their sites and to create ‘networks’ and engage in conversation with other users.

However critics such as Andrew Keen author of the 2007 book Cult of the Amateur argues that Web 2.0 has

“created a cult of digital narcissism and amateurism, which undermines the notion of expertise by allowing anybody, anywhere to share and place undue value upon their own opinions about any subject and post any kind of content, regardless of their particular talents, knowledge, credentials, biases or possible hidden agendas.”

Being a big user of social media myself I tend to disagree with Keen and instead think with the rise of social media and public platforms that it has very much given the world a new form of free speech. I believe the internet is now more relevant than ever and has become a more diverse tool for both research and entertainment.

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