Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

From Consumer to Prosumer

My learning continues into week 8 of 12.

In week eight my learning curve moved significantly upward as I explored the many programs that can be used to become a prosumer of my own cultural content. Such programs as Picasa and Windows Movie Maker or iMovie can lead anyone into the vast possibilities of creativity and innovation. To steepen my learning curve even more was the rather weighty article on “Semiotics for Beginners” by Daniel Chandler and a part of my course reading. Clearly if a person is going to be an effective prosumer of cultural content and messaging/story-telling, I gained a heightened awareness of the importance of how signs can be used and how essential it is that signs are clear enough to help the intended audience receive the intended message. This means being aware of the cultural norms and understanding of the intended audience and beyond. Here is a ToastMasters presentation that I thought was very clear on what you can do to learn more about your audience.

And just for fun, I threw in this YouTube video with the characters from the Big Bang theory. Sheldon is doing want you want to avoid sharing with your audience.

What strikes me in particular is the realization that when I post something to the world-wide web, I have to recognize that my message might go far beyond my intended audience and my cultural compatriots. I was reminded of the incidents within the last year where a political cartoon that deeply offended those of the Islamic faith which caused riots thousands of miles away almost instantaneously. We must be very aware of the power and possibilities of signs and choose our messaging, visuals and stories with the global village in mind. In short, I learned this week of how I can develop my own cultural content and the need to understand the power of semiotics.

Here is a quick clip showing a “world of images” right outside ones urban door.

As more and more people gain the ability to produce cultural content, at what point will there be an oversaturation of content on virtually every topic imaginable and how will people who do not understand an individual’s ability to manipulate images and messages ever gain accurate information? Will this lead to an even deeper cultural and digital divide?

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