Design for Media Environments: Our Free, Participatory, Online Culture

With the emergence of New Media interacting and engaging with modern day society, growing more and more the more people use it, has now created new modernised participatory cultures in which almost all of us take part in. The Internet and video games are the biggest facilitators contributing new forms of interactivity and narrative to the industry. “A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created)”.

Forms of Participatory Culture include:

Here is a video brought to you by the Big Thinker Series:

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a universe of its own one could say and has grown into a large network that is becoming increasingly popular by day connecting many more devices that didn’t exist in the past (smartphones/mobile devices, tv’s and tablets). Web 1.0 was used prior to Web 2.0, the only difference between them is the incorporation of interactivity. Web 1.0 consumers used the internet for basic information with little user experience. Web 2.0 on the other hand directly encourages the user to engage with the content they’re viewing, whatever that may be. The various  web applications available to name a few are Youtube, Reddit and WordPress. Applications like these are the ones that make the most of a specific platform and they get better the more people use them. The developers behind such applications benefit just as greatly as the user who experiences them themselves. They are constantly delivering and updating software consistently to enhance the user’s experience.


The web, just like the Universe, is vast and absolutely enormous. The possibilities are virtually endless and is continuously growing. ‘The Internet Map‘, which is just visually incredible, maps every website on the web on a single page as its own virtual universe, with space-like graphics. Each circle represents a website and based upon their size it shows you how popular the website is by the amount of visits it gets. Facebook, Google and Youtube are all the big ones but as you zoom in more and more into this ‘universe’ space, or the web let’s say, the smaller sites start to appear. This is an interesting user experience, it just shows you how enormous the web actually is.

Here’s a screenshot:

Google Internet map screenshot Internet map screenshot


So as you can see from the two pictures above, when having clicked on a site’s representation of a planet a window pops over it with a brief description of what the site is and it’s global ranking, as well as it’s country’s ranking.

The internet is open which means its free for everyone to use. It may not be as openly accessible in some countries than it is for us, however this means that using the technologies of Web 2.0, we (the people) have the power to contribute and participate in this cyber space with no boundaries. Just like the universe, the possibilities are endless.

Wiki is a database or a website, depending on how you look at it, was developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content. Like Github, it allows users to collaborate and modify content plus including the ability to expand it’s structure and/or delete content. A Wiki is a large database for creating, browsing and searching through information.

Wikipedia or Wikimedia ,or any of the others, all fall under a content management system (CMS) called Wiki. It’s not the same CMS as WordPress because no one owns or holds any right to a Wiki. Wikis have a unique way of structuring information too. For example a Wiki page can be created from multiple authors.

Wikipedia invites any user to edit a page or create a new one in the most simplistic way possible in terms of the front-end side of things (design and user-experience).

Have a look at Remember, all the information you see from this organisation is written by people like you and I. It is free, it is open and it is powerful!



‘Creative Commons Licenses’ gives way to a more flexible management of exclusive rights offered by copyright protection. This allows the creators of the content to choose the various kinds of protections and freedom that they wish to apply to their work.

So they key license terms are:

  • Others can copy, distribute, display, perfume and remix your work if they credit your name as requested by you.
  • Others can only copy, distribute, display or perform verbatim copies of your work.
  • Others can distribute your work only under a license identical to the one you have chosen for your work.
  • Others can copy, distribute, display, perform or remix your work but for non-commercial purpose only.

These terms combined (within Creative Commons) will allow others to use your work whilst still protecting your property. This has created a free, shared internet culture.  In other words, what’s mine is yours, only if you comply to the  terms of the licensing agreements that I have chosen.

WordPress, which you are currently on, has been built using open source software. Just like:

  • Firefox web browser
  • Git
  • VLC Media Player

The open source softwares I have used so far are:

  • PHP
  • MySQL (Databases)
  • Processing
  • Adobe Brackets (to develop my code)
  • FileZilla (to upload my code files to a server).

Here are some other FREE, open access, User Generated Content (UGC) websites that you might find interesting:

  • – FREE e-books
  • – digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form
  • – Free books such as recipes.
  • – Open data content.
  • Open Hardware:





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