Since the dawn of it’s existence, the Internet has provided individuals the opportunity to communicate in a way that is undeterred by both time and space. The Internet has revolutionized everything from shopping to the way we watch our favorite shows. The most important thing about this medium, however, is the way we choose to use it and the tools that it provides for us. The best example of this is seen in the culture that emerged from self-publishing and online collaboration. Internet users have found ways to use digital tools to their advantage. When referring to digital tools, I do not limit the definition to the technology itself. I am also referring to people, more specifically, other Internet users. By reaching out to other Internet users, individuals are able to find- not only people who share their same interests-but possible supporters, or even partners that can help them advance their goals. This type of teamwork is in no way unique to just the Internet, but the Internet clearly offers users a better opportunity to advance their goals. Lets take, for example, composition. Composition can have a broad range of meanings. It can mean anything from writing a paper to creating a piece of music. Regardless of the type of composing one is doing, it is likely to be both enhanced and facilitated through the use of the Internet and all its resources. Many people, especially those of a younger generation, have found success by using different social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Tumblr. Not only are they able to use these websites to produce media, but they have access to a unique system of feedback that is unlike any other. The Internet has also changed the type of work that can be published in terms of composition. (There have even been guides created to help people navigate the Internet effectively.) People are no longer limited to just books or music, but they can now publish blogs, videos, and even status updates. The Internet, or more specifically social media, has given everyone the opportunity to become author, composer, and producer.
Mac Miller and His Rise to Internet Stardom
Mac Miller is one of the greatest examples of Internet success. This now successful rapper, whose name is actually Malcolm McCormick, used YouTube to create his fan base. His videos work as a sort of timeline for his success. Users are able to see how Mac Miller has changed from his very first videos, recorded in the cafeteria of his high school, to the now professional rapper. Miller’s success came about because of his Internet savvy. In an effort to grow his fan base, Miller created a short series of music videos, each one connected to the other. Miller hoped this would keep his viewers interested and attract more attention to his music—and it did. After years of using YouTube as a source of self-publicity, Miller was able to secure a record deal. Mac Miller’s success can be attributed to his Internet savvy. He was able to make the most of the digital tools he had available to him. He used these tools, not only to produce his music, but also to distribute it to those most interested in listening to it. Which brings up a few questions: Who listens to Mac Miller? And how was Miller able to use the Internet in order to appeal to them? The culture of YouTube itself seemed to be one of the main reasons Miller was able to find success. He found a medium that would draw attention to him in a way that another website, lets say Facebook, could not. Why is that? YouTube, being a network that is solely focused on videos, not only presents Miller’s music, but it allows viewers to put a name to face. YouTube also allows viewers to comment. This form of feedback is priceless. Miller is able to know what his fans like, what they do not like, and what they expect to see from him in the future, all because of the comment section YouTube has provided. This phenomena is something that is seen all throughout the internet. It is not just specific to Miller’s case. By creating an online group that is based upon common interests, users are able to create an entire community. It is clear that this community is not one sided. And that it has the potential to grow to something outside of the Internet. When I say that this community is not one-sided, I mean to say that there is a system of feedback. The fans respond to Miller, either negatively or positively, and Miller can take this into consideration. He can respond to the comments directly, or simply show that he has made changes based on the music that he has produced. Using this system has allowed Miller to become a worldwide success.
Another success story that is attributed to social media and the community it helps create is that of Perez Hilton. Perez Hilton used a relatively new medium to enhance an older trade. He kept up with the lives of celebrity and blogged about it. His sense of humor and way of writing are obviously what attracted his users, but his experience is unique because of the methods he used. Although the Internet is something that has become sort of mythic in our everyday lives, it is a very unique medium that has become a part of our lives very recently. Perez Hilton, who has a net worth of about $30 million, built his empire around creating a following of individuals who were interested in his work. He now considers himself a writer, actor, and blogger. This is all because of the fame he gained through out the Internet. Not only did he use the Internet to build his own fame, but he uses as his source of information. His blog focuses on the lives of celebrities and he uses what he finds online, or in the general media, to provide commentary on it. Other media sources, such as TMZ, magazines, and newspapers, cover the lives of celebrities but they do not go about it in the same way as Perez Hilton, which is what makes his blog so unique. It is likely that Hilton has inspired many other bloggers, who may or may not have found he same success as he has, which only adds to the culture of blogging that has been created online.
It is obvious that composition has changed radically through the use of the Internet. It has allowed people many unique opportunities to create, build, and maintain a following of people. The best, and perhaps most unique, part of composition in the online world is that there are no specific guidelines. Individuals are allowed do as they please, and to share their stories and interests in whichever way they deem necessary. In this way, they are able to build a following. Newscast, for example, have a large following of people, but they are much too structured and standard. People like Perez Hilton and Mac Miller appeal to a niche audience and create a special place for those who share their interests, or who take interest in what they are doing, on the Internet. Not only are they creating a name for themselves, but they are providing their fans with what they want. The online world is a unique experience, which many can shape and use to their liking. Those who find a way to effectively use the digital tools available to them, often times find the most success.