Five and two. Numbers that are insignificant on their own but, when considered in the billions, mean quite a lot. Mass Media 12/3 Article 6 states that there are over five billion people throughout the world who have access to some sort of cell phone, and over two billion with access to the Internet. That means that about half of the world has access to cell phones. (Mass Media 12/3 Article 6) The article points out that mini-rebellions to challenge governmental authority will start occurring, and the people taking part in them will be “armed with cell phones.” This immediately took me back to the Occupy movement, and how their meetings and protests were organized and advertised through social media. The movement caused people to get arrested, maced, and thousands of tax dollars were spent trying to control it. No one thought it would catch on the way that it did, and for a while the government had no choice but to ride it out rather than get rid of it.
The media covered the Occupy events, but much like any major event today, the best reports and photographs came from those participating and posting photos they took themselves. The current media has embraced what the article has referred to as “Citizen Journalists” by doing things like CNN’s IReport and having budgets to buy exclusive photos from average citizens, but I wonder how long they can last in this arrangement. After taking an ethics class last semester I noticed that even as a Journalism major, most of my daily news comes from Social Media updates or google alerts, and not the 6pm or 11pm newscast. This article confirmed my fears that as we progress with technology the gap will widen between the true media and the “Citizen Journalist.” More research shows that people have trouble trusting the media and are more likely to now trust bloggers. The article states that “Connection technologies will… empower individuals for both good and ill.” I’ve come to realize the five billion people in the world with cell phones certainly hold all the cards. But when armed with social media and technology, they can organize events, begin to wear down an industry, and make sure their voices are heard- all by clicking a few buttons on a cell phone.