I could not agree more with Castells in "Communication Theory of Power," when he states that communication networks (social media) has the ability to shape minds through the formatting of a sender's message. The message has the power, true, but the formatting of that message in communication networks has the uncanny ability to make political rhetoric (bullshit) stick in the minds of citizens.
As Castells states, "it amplifies the diffusion of the message beyond anyone's control..."
He spends a great deal of time on how corporate media still holds the power of the original message, and how they have adapted to the digital world, but I tend to stray a bit, and disagree at times. I think to myself, "How often do stories shared through social media go viral, and end up as stories on talk shows, radio shows, media programs, etc?" While I think it grand that every news anchor on national television has a twitter account and a Facebook fan page to follow, I do not believe that the conglomerates who own these networks have the power to shield or spin news without social media users creating a substantial uproar. While my example above is a drastic one...we talked about this for weeks with our colleagues, in the classrooms and at the coffee houses. It was in the national news for days. It became a joke, and Romney became a joke along with it.
Social media breeds transparency in many facets, and the power rests with your ability to hide the truth, or to be honest with the world. We are in a day and age that very few things remain private (especially if you are a public figure, or often in the public light). My joke to counter Castells is that the Internet has the power. But alas, I honestly believe those that use the Internet, who engage in discussion of varying forms online, truly hold the power of communication in the 21st century (thus far).
In examining Castells piece, his research and analysis on Murdoch, I am reminded of a classroom discussion from a while back that I could not agree more with: Obama won both elections, because his team recognized and used the power found in social media online. Marketing and advertising is, or is becoming, the same way. Traditional forms of mass communication are much less relevant to the Generation(s) of today.
Got to the love the ending..."These are the networks of our lives." :)
(If you didn't catch the 90s reference in the title of this blog and the subsequent musical group name...I have no words for you).