Social networking sites have transformed communication between us and the mainstream media into a conversation (Drezner & Farrell, 2004) by allowing us to become both producers and consumers of information. With 100 million videos uploaded daily by users 15 months after its launch (Haridakis & Hanson, 2009), Youtube echoes the voices of an active audience discussing topics ranging from politics to emotions. Through its comments function, Youtube utilizes the uncertainty reduction theory (Dawkins, 2009) to bridge relationships between information producers and information consumers, further promoting an active media ecosystem. Strangers are empowered to deepen their relationships with one another (Dawkins, 2009) by posting comments and receiving feedbacks. Vocabulary variety and grammatical errors in such communication also engender authenticity (Tolson, 2010), and hence, trust among strangers and information producers. This trust forges unity among the users, empowering them to challenge mainstream media for the role of agenda setting.
Cooperating with the uncertainty reduction theory in forming a new media eco-system, is the disintegration of the spiral of silence – fear of a minority group to voice opinions due to fear of ostracism (Matthes & Morrison, 2010). The globalized user-ship and the absence of content restriction allow anyone to say anything on Youtube, making it the modern public sphere. The 2008 American elections saw thousands of Americans articulating political opinions on Youtube that engendered democratic arguments online (Holbert & Geidner, 2009). This decentralizes power from mainstream media, corporations, and government. Eventually, this altered media landscape will give rise to absolute democracy and liberate the world from hegemonic oppression.
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