I'm sure David will have his own views on this, but here's my response to the strongly argued points posted in the comments below:
1. MEDIA STUDIES 2.0 REPRESENTS A PARADIGM WHICH HAS LITTLE USEFUL TO SAY ABOUT MEDIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY. IT IS FRAUGHT WITH QUESTIONABLE ASSUMPTIONS
WM: No, it is a paradigm that aims to explicitly confront and understand 21st C media.
2. 2.0 IS PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN AUDIENCE RECEPTION STUDIES, AND HAS NO INTEREST IN SELF-EVIDENTLY IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS OF THE RELATION BETWEEN TEXTUAL FORM/ CONTENT AND CONDITIONS OF PRODUCTION.
WM: Not necessarily. I have nothing to do with audience studies and I don't even think that a video game player, net user, mobile phone user etc., are even 'audiences'. I recognise that debates on the active audience have an important place in understanding new media (a far more important place than they did in understanding older forms of TV and film etc. where their claims of activity and resistance seemed forced) but as a theorist and fan of medium theory I balance that with an interest in the role technology plays in forming our lives and experiences. I think questions of form/content and production remain important and have to be included - but, like all other parts of media studies, they need to be rethought in relation to a new environment and rapidly changing forms.
From my perspective a Media studies 2.0 doesn't have to exclude anything (in fact it is mainstream media studies that has done that with its emphasis on broadcast media and audience studies leading to a neglect of different media, media history, newer media theory, technology, political economy, power etc.). My feeling is a media studies 2.0 is more interested in asking how these subjects should change and be revised to make them relevent to the present.
3. THE 'FUNDAMENTAL' CHANGE MIGHT BE NEWS TO THE OTHER HALF OF THE WORLD WHICH HASN'T YET MADE A PHONE CALL... AND THERE ARE MANY CONTINUITIES AS WELL AS SHIFTS (LOOK AT THE CORPORATE BUY-OUTS OF POPULAR WEBSITES LIKE YOUTUBE). THE OLD POLITICAL ECONOMY QUESTIONS ABOUT OWNERSHIP, CONTROL, ACCESS, AND INTERESTS ARE BECOMING MORE, NOT LESS IMPORTANT IN THE DIGITAL ERA. BUT 2.0 MAKES NO REFERENCE TO THESE ISSUES.
WM: When the first nuclear weapon was exploded we entered the nuclear age, regardless of whether or not you owned, used or experienced a nuclear weapon. We live under and are defined by the limit of our development in so far as it affects/encompasses us. Yes, large parts of the world haven't got these technologies but their countries are still affected by them - by the global transmission of information (media, money etc.), by their integration into world economies and media systems and - if nothing else- by the global reach of western spy satellites and electronic weapons systems. No part of this world is unaffected and we have to pay attention to the impact of new forms (as well as the old) across the world. The situation is actually more complex, as many poorer countries are using new media where they never fully developed old media - the mobile phone is popular in Africa, for example, vs. the older landlines which were expensive to build and maintain so had very limited reach ... (Incidently, the implicit argument here that we shouldn't emphasise new media because parts of the world haven't got it doesn't work. Large parts of the world aren't even literate so does that disqualify any academic interest in pictograms, ideograms, hieroglyphics and cunieform and phonetic alphabetic systems and anything coming after...? )
On the second point, for the reasons given above I don't see a reason why media studies 2.0 excludes political economy. If anything it allows us to move away from endless papers on Buffy and Sex and the City and pay it more attention again. In fact political economy is thriving in the new media literature - more so than in mainstream media studies. We do, however, have to look at how political economy has been transformed by new technology and how political economy employs new technology to do new things. As an example, I've just written an article on 'digital rights management' technologies in online music retailing, that argues that capitalism has both returned to an older form of traditional laisser-faire capitalism (fighting over formats for a monopoly position and refusing interoperability) and radically extended this traditional capitalism by using new DRM to monitor possession beyond the point of sale and control and direct one's relationship to one's legally purchased goods in the home (which it couldn't do before). This enables it to redefine 'ownership' and introduce a system of what I call 'digital user management' or 'DUM'. That's hardly a rejection of a political economy approach. Again, all I can say is the question is less about leaving things out than upgrading - about redefining and retesting all our knowledge and perspectives and discovering new ones in the attempt to keep up with the changes around us. I started my Media Studies 2.0 blog so I could keep track of the news stories associated with new media so I could keep my lectures up to date. It was only when I did that I realised how much is actually happening - entire industries and relationships between media and with media are being fundamentally transformed before our eyes. The only way to deny that is not to look.
4. TEACHING CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY IS NOT ABOUT IMPOSING PREDETERMINED POLITICALLY-CORRECT IDEOLOGIES ONTO STUDENTS BUT HELPING THEM ASK INTELLIGENT, PERTINENT QUESTIONS SO THAT CAN UNDERSTAND HOW MEDIA FORMS MIGHT SHAPE, ENABLE AND CONSTRAIN THEIR LIFE-CHANCES. SO IF TECHNO-SAVVY ADOLESCENTS NEED NO GUIDANCE FROM ACADEMIC FUDDY-DUDDIES THEN WHY EVEN BOTHER WITH 2.0? IN THE CONTEMPORARY MEDIA ENVIRONMENT, STUDENTS NEED MORE HELP IN UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THEIR MEDIA ENVIRONMENTS, NOT LESS.
WM: I don't disagree. Its about teaching tools of analysis suitable for our contemporary world. For me this is why theory is still so important. I like the fact that 'theory' is from 'theoria' meaning 'vision' or 'to see' and I teach a range of theory to give students different ways of seeing, to translate their existing, often superior knowledge of many media into a broader understanding. Interestingly, media studies 1.0 doesn't teach theory very well at all. If you were a sociology or cultural studies student you would do historical modules in the development of theory in that discipline, taught by lecturers who specialised in theory and wrote books on particular theorists. Media Studies rarely does this. Only Stevenson's book makes any attempt to offer an overview of a history of ideas/key movements and thinkers. Instead our field got stuck on Hall and audience theory and has missed the boat theory-wise. The most interesting new media theorists have been explored better in sociology and cultural studies. They're barely mentioned in media studies text books; instead you have to go to 'cyberculture' to find them. For me a media studies 2.0 should embrace newer theory to help understand new media forms plus it should broaden our historical knowledge of theory by considering other thinkers or authors who have discussed technology and media and who have been neglected in the field. We need to read Ure, Butler's Erewhon, Kapp, Jarry's Supermale, Muybridge and Marey, Forster's The Machine Stops, Marinetti's manifestos and his Mafarka the Futurist, Spengler, Sombart, Mumford, Giedion, Weiner, Innis, Ellul, Toffler, FM-2030 (add whomever you can think of too) ... As usual, you'll search in vain in the mainstream media textbooks for a mention of any of these. In fact if you want a laugh then look up Innis in McQuail's Mass Communication Theory - in the edition a student showed me he couldn't even get Innis's name right ...
5. IS THERE REALLY A NEW MEDIA REALITY REQUIRING NOT ONLY EMPIRICAL UPDATING BUT NEW FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE AND METHODOLOGIES?
WM: Yes! McLuhan said it best when he said we live in 'the rear-view mirror': travelling at speed forwards but looking backwards, interpreting what we see through the comfortable tropes of what we are familiar with - of the past. He also said he wasn't interested in predicting the future - that was too easy; he was interested in the hard one - in predicting the present. This required a speculative theoretical method - 'the probe' - to push interpretations forward to reach a possible insight. Ok, you don't have to buy into McLuhan but the broad point seems more relevent than ever: the key problem of media studies today is predicting the present - of seeing what is actually happening and making sense of it. We need a radical 'presentology'!
6. 2.0 APPEARS TO BE A CELEBRATION OF THE OSTENSIBLE CREATIVITY OF THE ON-LINE COMMUNITY IN PARTICIPATING IN MEDIA CONTENT PRODUCTION. THIS OVERLOOKS QUESTIONS OF ACCESS AND ABILITY TO MAKE USE OF NEW MEDIA.
WM: No it doesn't. That can be easily recognised without overturning the point that an increased participation/activity is possible today. Growing up in the 70s my only media output was a couple of drawings in 2000AD and even until recently the most I could manage was a run of letters in The Guardian - all of which depended upon an editor liking them. Now when I press 'publish' here I have more broadcasting power than any media institution or corporation in history prior to the web: none of them could publish instantly and globally and I now can. That, to me, seems worth thinking about. I know that 5 minutes from where I live is an estate in which PCs and broadband connections and IT skills are undoubtedly rare and that has to be explored but it doesn't detract from the democratisation of media power that has at least taken place. Again underdevelopment can't be used as a reason not to look at what is happening.
7. MOREOVER, IT OVERLOOKS THE PROBLEM THAT CERTAIN TYPES OF MEDIA FORM PRESUPPOSE SOME FORM OF PROFESSIONAL TRAINING- IF ONE CONSIDERS NEWS MEDIA, HAS THE NEWS BECOME MORE ACCURATE AND RELIABLE BECAUSE OF AMATEUR BLOGS? ALTHOUGH THERE IS PLENTY WRONG WITH MAINSTREAM JOURNALISTIC PRACTICES, THIS IS UNLIKELY TO BE AMELIORATED BY COLLECTIVE AMATEURISM. THERE IS STILL A NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDIA TRAINING- AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS.
WM: Read Gillmor's We the Media. Big media corps and technologies and journalists aren't going away, they're just being supplemented. And yes, the news has become more accurate because of blogs and new media - the 'long tail' of amateur writers has fact checked the news' claims and broken and continued with stories that the mainstream press have not seen or ignored. The insult 'collective amateurism' is comical and the product of fear - plus there's more than enough amateurism in journalism itself.
I'll give you an example. Last year I saw an ITV news story about a Youtube clip of kids on a roundabout being thrown off and injured as they span it round with a motorcycle. The 'professional' journalist was outraged and actually called for the UK government to intervene to police the web (all of it presumably). It was moronic. He didn't call for teenagers to be policed, for motorbikes to be policed, for parks to be policed or roundabouts to be policed, or the mobile phone camera that filmed it, no it was just the medium it was shown on ... Also anyone with any cultural knowledge would immediately recognise it was a copy of a stunt in the film Jackass so presumably film should be policed by the British government too? Plus it was a logical extension of the 'you've been maimed' clip TV shows that ITV itself helped pioneer in the 90s where you get to watch people hurting themselves for your amusement, so presumably TV should also be policed by the British government? No, only the net should be policed, he concluded. And this is a 'professional' journalist? Another example. I saw a breaking news story on SKY news about a woman who'd been killed. They suspected she'd met her killer over the net so headlined it 'INTERNET KILLER' and discussed the dangers of the net. By the next day they'd arrested the man in the flat above. Interestingly they didn't headline it 'FLAT KILLER' and call for controls on who you rent next to. In conclusion, I agree with you. There is a need for professional media training: in Media studies 2.0 and journalists should be made to sign up first.
8. OF COURSE THAT ASSUMES SOME RATHER OLD FASHIONED NOTIONS SUCH AS THE PUBLIC'S NEED FOR INFORMATION CORRESPONDING TO AN EXTERNAL REALITY. PERHAPS THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THIS IN THE POSTMODERN HYPER-REALITY WHICH MEDIA STUDIES 2.0 CLAIMS AS ITS SUBJECT DOMAIN?
WM: Great, let's call media studies 2.0 postmodern and throw in 'hyperreality' so we can scare people off it without having to argue anything substantial, read anything or know what we're talking about ... If you're interested (and you won't be), the concept of 'hyperreality' has a much longer history and can be applied to many earlier media forms - for example the perspective boxes of the renaissance artists and later peepshows, phantsamagoria shows, the panorama, the stereoscope ... so it has no necessary relationship to postmodernism. In fact the flat, screen-based 'realisms' of photography, the cinema and TV etc. were specific replacements for earlier modes of media experience and entertainment that had an extra quality of realism, or a hyperrealism; one that many contemporary new media are trying to reproduce (see Merrin, W. 'Buckle Your Seat-Belt Dorothy ... Cause Cinema is Gouing Bye-Byes', in Furby/Randell (ed.) Screen Methods. Comparative Readings in Film Studies, Wallflower press, 2005, pp. 167-74).
9. ULTIMATELY, 2.0 REPRESENTS A CHARTER FOR DEPOLITICISING MEDIA STUDIES. AT BEST IT REPRESENTS A NARROWING OF THE FIELD AND AN UNCRITICAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE 'POPULAR' CULTURAL PARADIGM.
WM: Hornswoggle. See all of the above.