I agree that social media platforms predetermine how we participate. From my daily life, an example is of Face-book. We are limited to not having an option of making our cover photos private. And, while YouTube would not allow to comment on videos unless one has connected their Google Plus to their YouTube. This again predetermines our participation disregarding consent of participants/viewers.
I believe Bird’s purpose of writing the paper is to throw light on different types and levels of media consumption. She considers tow things at a time. One is the levels of participation and the other being media vs audience. She mentions different types of people who may or may not act as participants or produsers given the circumstances. Firstly, it is mentioned about active produsers who would contribute by for example writing for Wikipedia or participating in multi-user online games like PS3, X-box and such. There is, however, a common misconception among us. We consider only those who participate on various social media forums to be called produsers (which is not always true). An example of produser would be where individuals record something interesting about their life and make videos about it on regular basis on YouTube. In this way they are not only consuming but also producing by contributing to the world of social media. In fact, Bird (2011) argues and states that this is not the case. Various examples from different countries like India and Nigeria, to name a few, demonstrate varying patterns of participation and thus acting as produsers but not through internet. This means although majority of the western world has enough resources reflecting their level of participation online via internet, the definition may not only be applicable to online participation. Many people may choose not to indulge in some online platform or like mentioned above may not have internet access to do so, if even they would want to. To give a personal example, on YouTube or Face-book I am myself a type of individual who would be a silent watcher/viewer. I rarely comment on videos or participate in a conversation on Face-book. But, that does not mean I am not a participant, I am still participating by viewing a video etc.
Along the same lines, Rosen (2006) writes about audience turned active who now have power in their hands. Rosen’s writing style contains many metaphors (like boat, ship, camera), uses sort of a sarcastic attitude and examples somehow relating media to the truth he wants to disclose about the present audience. It’s all about telling media from a point of view of us, the people. He compares the past and present of media and addresses both the audience and the media to convey his message. For example, he writes, “Once it was your radio station, broadcasting on your frequency. Now that brilliant invention, podcasting, gives radio to us. And we have found more uses for it than you did.” (Rosen, p.11, 2006). This sentence explains how the audience has gained more power than what the media used to have meaning that things (radio broadcasts, in this case) used to work the way media wanted in the past but now everything is in the hands of the audience. Another example would be maximizing reading news online while gradually minimizing the use of newspapers. As Rosen mentions, “…’former audience’…refers to the owners and operators of tools that were once exclusively used by media people to capture and hold their attention”. (Rosen, p.14, 2006). On the other hand, Bird (2011) not only discusses types of produsers and levels of participation but she also talks about media vs audience. I agree with Bird (2011). In supporting Bird’s argument I’d like to give examples such as common reality TV shows. My personal opinion about them, a lot of times is that they are scripted while they are not meant to be since they are ‘reality’ TV shows. This is one example of how media would be still in power against us being audiences, uses us to gain popularity while we, the audience is just the consumers and victims. It seems like we see what media wants us to see. An example is the news. A lot of times we rely on news to keep us updated on everyday issues however again, many such news may not be shown to us because it might be disadvantageous to somebody’s reputation and such.