In this digital age, the role of the audience is changing and evolving. Audiences and users are now not only observing the content, they are controlling it. User empowerment is becoming a powerful force. Users are now generating and contributing to the content that they interact with, which is one of the trends in convergence that Henry Jenkins has identified.
This has been recognised by creators of social websites and has influenced the infrastructure of websites such as Pinterest. User’s not only interact with the website but also determine it’s content by pinning and sharing.
The growth in social media websites, such as Pinterest, shows the growing popularity of user empowerment. In 2013, Pinterest’s international growth rate was 125% (Smith 2014). Now with more than 70 million users world-wide (Slegg 2013), Pinterest has even surpassed Twitter in popularity (Chan 2o13). Users want to be in control of their online identity, and participate in the creation of the content in which they interact with. Social media sites, such as Pinterest, allow for this, and this is evident in the time spent on the website.
No longer is the audience simply their to observe. Sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Youtube promote citizen journalism; giving users a multitude of forums to voice their opinions, ideas and feelings. This is a very powerful tool, in which the power is held by those who have a voice. For a deeper look into this issue, check out Clay Shirky’s: How Cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history.
Users of social media sites are not just observing the world around them but creating a virtual presence that leaves a digital fingerprint. Social media users are controlling and creating the content in which they interact with. In this digital age, the audience has more power in what they consume then ever before.
Smith, C 2014, By the Numbers: 59 Amazing Pinterest Stats, Digital Marketing Ramblings, 31.03.2014 <http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats/#.UzkHKK2SyPU>
Slegg, J 2013, Pinterest Tops 70 Million Users; 30% Pinned, Repinned, or Liked in June, Search Engine Watch, 31.03.2014 < http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2282835/Pinterest-Tops-70-Million-Users-30-Pinned-Repinned-or-Liked-in-June-Study >
Chan, E 2013, LinkedIn, Pinterest more popular than Twitter: study, Reuters, 31.03.2014 < http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/30/us-twitter-study-idUSBRE9BT0QO20131230 >