Reading the first few chapters of We The Media by Dan Gillmore was very enlightening as I never truly understood how the internet and all of it components found its way into existence. I liked the flow of the chapter in which he described more or less in a historical time line events that shaped the internet and media in general into what we see it as today. Gillmore wrote about Hearst’ yellow journalism tactics and how in the past, stories would only be deemed newsworthy by the catchy phrase, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Gillmore seems to be very wise regarding information about different media, I agreed with several of his statements through out the chapters.

As Gillmore jumped into radio, it was interesting to think of talk radio also as an innovator in the world of audience involvement in the creation of information. For the first time, the audience could call in and add to the content of the radio and not only listen passively.

It was shocking to learn that the initial spreading of knowledge regarding  the SARS disease was by SMS. Sending messages through phones was the initial way the public was informed of the situation! I cannot believe that the Chinese government wanted to not leak information out to the world. I agree with Gillmore that although big companies can attempt to control the audience and censor what we say, over the internet, the public cannot be silenced, and especially should not be ignored.  An example of this would be the Microsoft/ Macintosh situation that sparked angry bloggers to protest a phony post.
Then hearing about all the weblogs that began popping up and the affects that came from their creation and support was surprising. McDonalds actually sued people who were creating negative publicity about the company. Although the company won the legal battle, they absolutely lost the public opinion battle as even people supporting the defendants sprang up.

I agree with Gillmore that the world would have been a much different place if we had the types of technology we do now in place in the past. Imagining the 9/11 attacks with even more graphics and recordings thanks to technology that would have been more wide spread a few years ago is shocking.

Regarding the “hackers” of today that take a product and manipulate it fix the problems that exist, Gillmore stated that large companies should not dislike or be threatened by smart consumers. When they tamper with a product and create something better, the company should simply say thank you. Trying to outlaw hacking and whatnot will not only produce negative feedback from consumers, but could hinder the development of a product. I completely agree with Gillmore regarding this idea as well. Be thankful of the consumers who are smarter than your developers.

Gillmore also spoke about the positives and negatives regarding the idea of constantly being under surveillance by the media, regular citizens, etc. In the case of Rodney King media and the surveillance by a citizen ended up being positive. He supposed it would hinder police malpractice. But at the same time, there is a bit of negatives that go along with that. With every hand held camera phone or recording device there are people who will use this at inappropriate times. Perhaps it is in the locker room, or dressing room of a store, etc. I agree with Gillmore in these cautionary words. Along with these developing technologies one must be responsible to ensure these new developments are not abused.