Recent developments in web applications have drastically increased levels of participation on the Internet. This trend is characterized by the ability of users to actively share and create content. Henry Jenkins has conceptualized this shift as part of a participatory culture now shaping the Internet. This shift has also been referred to as Web 2.0, a term denoting an updated or improved version of the web, centred on interactivity and user-generated content. Given this restructured version of the Internet, much of the discourse surrounding its use entails accounts of agency and empowerment. Despite the beneficial, user-centred rhetoric surrounding participatory culture, the extent to which new mechanisms of power permeate this interactive environment continue to be under-investigated. Certain characteristics inherent in Web 2.0 open doors for power and control to operate in ways that need more attention. The willingness of individuals to divulge vast amounts of personal information is troublesome, particularly in light of those attempting to manipulate this free flow of information, essentially capitalizing on the participatory nature of the Internet. Thus, before embracing the benefits of participatory culture, it is necessary to consider the forces that threaten it.
"Participatory Culture and the Hidden Costs of Sharing,"
The McMaster Journal of Communication:
Vol. 7, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/mjc/vol7/iss1/4