Although the “democratization of media” on a corporate level sounds ideal, the actuality seems like it might just as often be novel at first and then overwhelming at best. Maybe I’m more cynical than a young library student should be, but it seems to be me that grassroots efforts work best when they start at the grassroots level–not when they are purposefully initiated in an attempt to revitalize an industry worried about its own well being. Grassroots efforts work because they are an organic reaction. When you present people with the opportunity to broadcast themselves for the first time, uninhibited, reality television happens.
Accepting the inevitable convergence of media is still necessary though, even if it’s silly to expect the average American to come up with enough newsworthy content to supply an entire television network, Al Gore. We have youtube for the exploits of all of those cute, cute kittens. One of my favorite media convergences is hulu.com, but I wish more consideration would be put in to what’s available and when. For example–if a series is not yet available to purchase on DVD, please put the back episodes on hulu! I definitely would have gotten into Dollhouse if I could have watched it from the start, but for whatever reason only the current two or three episodes were available. If I could have watched the series from the start, I would have inevitably gotten incredibly committed (I mean, it’s Joss Whedon…) and I would have been yet another viewer who may have contributed to the show not getting canceled. Additionally, by viewing the episodes online before they were available to purchase, I may well have gotten entranced enough to buy the series when it did become available. It worked for Firefly. In conclusion, convergence of media can be extremely beneficial when applied sensibly.