Design for Digital Media Environments – Lecture 1: Participatory Culture

I had my first lecture of the Design for Digital Media Environments unit. The lecture was all about Participatory Culture and defined key terms for Digital Media, particularly to the web. 

Web 2.0 

Web 2.0 is a term popularised in 2004 by Tim O’Reily. Web 2.0 refers to a much more interactive and engaging web experience. It allows communication between users to be much simpler and much more accessible. Web 2.0 allows User Created Content. which is much more participatory content which means that users can shape the web and have control. Services such as Youtube, Facebook and Twitter are run on the idea of user created content, because it is the users that post their content on the sites. 


Wikis are an online application and content management system, which allows users to actively collaborate and participate in editing the websites content. A well known example of a wiki is Wikipedia, an free online encyclopaedia created by the WikiMedia Foundation.  It’s pages and it’s contents are created by the people who use the website. Wikipedia as a service is useful for finding information quickly, however suffers from a major disadvantage because you can’t always trust the reliability, because the information can be edited by anyone. To get around this problem, source lists are used at the bottom of the page. 

Marshall McLuhan


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a media theorist that described “hot and cool” media.  He described “hot” media as media that requires little participation, such as photographs and doesn’t require much effort to understand meaning. 

“Cool” media on the other hand requires more effort by the consumer to find meaning and are much more participatory. An example of “cool” media is the comic book, as the user has to put more effort into finding a meaning in the very simple drawings of a comic. 

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons Licensing is a license that helps protects a persons own material online, according to what the owner wants. 

For example, if a person was to publish their own material online, they would have the choice how free their content is to copy, edit or publish by others online. 

Free open source software

Free open source software, is software that is available to users for free to download and use, but also free to view, copy and edit the source code. I have used Inkscape, which is a free open source piece of software in order to complete my assignment for the previous unit, Development and Realisation. I have also used Adobe’s Brackets software in workshops and in experiments of my own to help build websites and Processing to create graphics. 

Other examples of free open source software include:

– Mozilla’s Firefox web browser

– WordPress


– Filezilla


– VLC Media Player

– Ubuntu Operating System (An Alternative to Windows or Mac OSX) 


For the next Lecture, I have been asked to contribute to a community based User Generated Content platform. 


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