In this global village where information is shared from one part of the world to the other through the internet medium we are seeing the rise of open source movements through online collaborative projects. By making all kinds of data such as books, movies, software, and music, accessible online, all members of the online communities are working hard together striving to make the best out of the internet world. When competing to bring all kinds of information to the table, communication becomes much easier and more affordable. By communicating on a much higher and complex scale, online communities are not just limited to conversations and synchronous meetings but they constitute the place now where free information is exchanged across the border.
According to Clay Shirky, “…as all media gets digitized, the Internet also becomes the mode of carriage for all other media, meaning that phone calls migrate to the Internet, magazines migrates to the Internet, movies migrate to the Internet. And that means that every medium is right next door to every other medium. Put another way, media is increasingly less just a source of information, and it is increasingly more a site of coordination, because groups that see or hear or watch or listen to something can now gather around and talk to each other as well.” Starting from Shirky’s statement, why would anyone spend a lot of money in paying for phone and cable services, movies, books, and magazines while they can get them on the internet for less or even for free? New phone companies such as Vonage, Ooma, Fonality, Grasshopper, and RingCentral are now offering VOIP (voice over IP) service through the Internet for lower prices compared to the traditional telephone network companies like Verizon or AT&T which charge an arm and a leg. Today, we can even make free phone calls all over the world through applications such as Skype, Viber, Tango, and Oovoo. We can watch movies and shows through the internet on websites such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon for a nominal fee. Sling TV even offers live TV services through the internet for a $20 a month. Open source media such as Kodi (previously known as XBMC) actually offers an unlimited library of movies, shows, music, and pictures absolutely free, and Wikipedia covers different arrays of articles, news, and definitions online for free as well.
The collaborative efforts of each member of our online communities are absolutely making the telecommunication sphere more affordable and more competitive. However, does this mean that internet providers (such as Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner) will put restrictions on the internet flow or make it more expensive to offset the loss in other services? Does Wikipedia offer accurate and reliable information since anyone can modify its content and share it online? Will applications such as Sling TV, or Kodi change the way we watch TV and movies forever and make it more convenient and affordable to the public?
Shirky, C. (2009, June). How social media can make history. From: http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cellphones_twitter_facebook_can_make_history