The Shifting Sands of Creative Writing: Authors Embracing Fan Fiction

Anybody that has ever studied in the field of media and culture studies has read the works of Henry Jenkins, most importantly, his works regarding participatory culture and convergence culture. One of the topics that Jenkins often touches on in his writing is the concept of consuming culture vs participating in culture vis-à-vis fan fiction.

Though I assume every single person reading this knows what fan fiction is, because it’s 2017 and we all have the internet, in case you stumbled upon this while time-traveling from the past, fan fiction is when the audience members of any type of media (usually books, television, or film) write their own stories based off of the characters from the work and share them with like-minded fans.

Though many of Jenkins’s most popular works among professors are a little outdated these days, he has mused at length on the legality of fan fiction and its cultural significance, value, or lack of either in his works for almost the duration of my entire life (Textual Poachers was published in 1992, I was born in 1991). The question of whether or not fan fiction falls under the protection of fair-use regarding copyright law is one that has plagued the world since the beginnings of fan fiction, and it is one that Jenkins has tried his best to reason through.

In 2006, Jenkins posted on his blog in response to a critique from a law professor about how he tried to derive a definition of fan fiction and participatory works as well as their place in the law. In “Fan Fiction as Critical Commentary” Jenkins approaches fan fiction as a method of critical commentary about a work just as relevant as a critical essay:

Just as a literary essay uses text to respond to text, fan fiction uses fiction to respond to fiction. That said, it is not hard to find all kinds of argumentation about interpretation woven through most fan produced stories. A good fan story references key events or bits of dialogue to support its particular interpretation of the character’s motives and actions. There are certainly bad stories that don’t dig particular deeply into the characters or which fall back on fairly banal interpretations, but the last time I looked, fair use gets defined in functional terms (what is the writer trying to do) and not aesthetic terms (what they produce is good or bad artistically). Fan fiction extrapolates more broadly beyond what is explicitly stated in the text than do most conventional critical essays and may include the active appropriation and transformation of the characters as presented but even here, I would argue that the point of situating the characters in a different historical context, say, or in another genre is to show what makes these characters tick and how they might well remain the same (or be radically different) if they operated in another time and place. Fan fiction is speculative but that does not mean that it is not at its core interpretative.

I find Jenkins’s idea very interesting and something quite relevant to the modern author. I think it’s important for authors to notice what he is saying, even if they may not agree. Most of us are old enough to remember the days of Anne Rice’s crusade against fan fiction based on her works, and these days there are still some authors who are harshly against the idea of fan fiction, but for the most part, fan fiction is something that has become more accepted and normal by many authors.

Why am I even talking about all of this, you ask? I ask because many of you, my followers, are authors. Whether you are a published author or a prospective author like me without any published works, I would hazard a guess to say at least 75% of you are authors in some fashion. And because of that, I find myself curious!

What do you think about fan fiction in a legal sense or just in general? Would you be against people writing fan fiction about your works? Would you dislike it enough to seek legal action? Would you embrace it? Would you celebrate that as a measure of status (as in, “I’m so popular people write fan fiction about my work!”)?

I’m really curious to see how you guys feel about this, so let me know in the comments!

The Curse of Copyright

Anyone who has ever looked for something on YouTube has inevitably ran into a video without audio because there’s a song playing in the car while the person is filming, or it’s a video of a child dancing to some song, and these videos were flagged for copyright violation. While these things are frustrating, copyright becomes a real problem when it comes down to amateur artists being sued.

Lawrence Lessig writes about something called Read Only culture and Read/Write culture in his book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Lessig tells us, something most of us already know: the strict rules of copyright laws are both annoying and a big hindrance to amateur artists’ creativity.

Picture this: A fledgling filmmaker with no budget finds the perfect song to use in their film, they put it into their film, they upload the film on YouTube – no monetary gains, just personal accomplishment – so that they can eagerly watch every time the views number jumps up… and then the film gets flagged for copyrighted content and they’re ordered to remove it. A film studio wants to use the same song in a blockbuster movie to make tons of profits, so they can afford what to the average person would be an exorbitant licensing fee to use the song in their movie, but this first-time-filmmaker suffers because using a song, even not for any gain, is illegal because of our copyright laws.

One of the things Lessig advocated for in his book was to reform the copyright laws in the US to allow a separate measure of access for amateur creative use without being held to the same expectations as those who can afford to buy the full rights to things. This goes for people making fan videos of their favorite TV shows, or young artists sampling beats from a song for their new song, to the filmmaker who wants to use a piece of music in their film.

I am sure most would agree that the future for creativity in the digital age will have to involve some type of this kind of reform simply to ensure creativity manages to flourish.

 

How Virtual Is Your Reality?

One of the things that was once a term related to science fiction that have now become real life is the term “Virtual Reality”. When I was a kid, virtual reality brought about images of giant goggle helmets and gloves with wires on them. These days, VR headsets are things you can get for a relatively low price and just plug in your Samsung smart phone to experience virtual reality. However, that is really the most basic, simple product when it comes to the idea of a “virtual” space.

Have you ever known someone or have you ever played games such as Runescape, World of Warcraft, or Guild Wars? Or even Dungeons and Dragons? These things are all a sort of virtual reality.

Games in which people play a character of their creation and fulfill a role in the gaming world are in every way virtual reality. In her article, “Constructions and Reconstructins of Self in Virtual Reality: Playing in the MUDs”, regarding online PC virtual reality games, Sherry Turkle tells us,

“[These] worlds exist on international computer networks, which of course means that in a certain sense, a physical sense, they don’t exist at all. From all over the world, people use their individual machines to access a program which presents them with a game space-in the high tech world such spaces have come to be called “virtual”- in that they can navigate, converse, and build.”

And while games like this as virtual reality are not something most of us would struggle to imagine, I’m using those as an example to paint a picture of what virtual reality games are for the people who play them. As Turkle told us, these are international networks without any physical location where people can interact and build their own ‘self’ for the world.

Think about your online life. How many of us have a carefully cultivated presence online behind which we build a persona for the world to see? I confess, as a kid I was a HUGE fan of Harry Potter. I’m talking not just reading the books, but going to all the websites and being active on all the message boards. I can’t even remember what my username was, but I remember that I used the same username on every website (this was pre-twitter and tumblr, so I didn’t find just one location to be active on). Remember those little ‘build your own doll’ avatar makers that existed in the early 2000s where you designed a little cartoon version of yourself to use as a userpic? I had the same one of those on all my accounts. Because I was so active on all these websites, people recognized me from other sites they were on.

This was a virtual reality. My little 12 year old self has a virtual persona that wasn’t at all related to my real self. At the time, you had to be 13 to be on any website, so I was 15 to the websites. My avatar was redheaded when I have black hair. My name I do not remember, but it was nothing even remotely related to my real name because I grew up in the era of “never tell strangers online your real name”. I made guesses about what would happen in the next Harry Potter book and discussed these theories with people from all over the world. I would spend several hours each week talking to people who only knew that I was a 15 year old girl with red hair and a different name who loved Harry Potter as much as they did. This was its own reality. I’m sure most of those other people were also too-young-for-the-website kids with fake names and made up features on their avatars, but we all played these roles in our own nerdy fandom reality.

These days, social media allows us all to live in a virtual space. One of my best friends in my whole life, who has been my friend for the past decade, is a lady from England that I have never met in person. For the past ten years, we’ve shared not just correspondence almost daily, but life events, family tragedies, secret hopes and dreams, support, and love. She is just as any friend is to me, even though we have never been on the same continent. Our entire relationship, you could say, is therefore “Virtual Reality” rather than regular reality. Everything we have done together has been virtual by nature of space and time.

But it’s real. Our friendship is inescapably real. That raises the question, is virtual reality necessarily something that’s not real? Do the personas we build that depict a version of ourselves differ from the personas we build face to face with clients at work or relatives we don’t want knowing our secrets (I’m bisexual and very few relatives know this, for example). Though I am my genuine self with my friend, there are still parts of my life she doesn’t witness just by nature of the distance (think how she’s never seen inside my shoe closet, for example, so she may not realize I’m a shoe-addict).

These days, the question between what is virtual reality and what is ‘real’ reality is one that’s much harder to answer than it once was.

Is Open Source Really The Future?

Most of us at some point have used open source software, whether we knew it or not. You’re using open source software right now. WordPress is an open source software. Currently I’m typing this on a Firefox browser. Firefox is also open source. I’m sure at some point you’ve been recommended to use Open Office if you can’t afford Microsoft, and I’m sure you’ve heard of Linux and Ubuntu if you haven’t used it yourself. In some of my IT classes we even used things like GIMP and Blender for image and graphic design stuff. At some point, all of us have used Open Source software.

How many of us know what that means, though?

What is Open Source?

According to the Open Source Initiative, there are 10 points that must be met for something to truly be Open Source.

1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

4. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of “patch files” with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program’s being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program’s license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Why is this significant?

Robert Steel tells us in his book, The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth and Trust,

“We are at the end of a five-thousand-year-plus historical process during which human society grew in scale while it abandoned the early indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making. Power was centralized in the hands of increasingly specialized ‘elites’ and ‘experts’ who not only failed to achieve all they promised but used secrecy and the control of information to deceive the public into allowing them to retain power over community resources that they ultimately looted.”

Steele’s point is a valid one if we look at society as we know it. In the prehistoric past, societies were reliant upon the idea of working together for a communal good. This was the only way a group of people could survive. This all changed over time as the concept of power and a division of power arose from the advancement of societies to a point that it wasn’t absolutely necessary to have a ‘communal good’ for the society to continue to function. The idea of how society works became one about class and separation of powerful from the powerless. Even though we in today’s modern, democratic societies claim ‘equality and freedom’, there is no denying that there are the powerful elites and the less powerful lower members of society.

Steele tells us that,

Sharing, not secrecy, is the means by which we realize such a lofty destiny as well as create infinite wealth. The wealth of networks, the wealth of knowledge, revolutionary wealth – all can create a nonzero win-win Earth that works for one hundred percent of humanity.

What Steele says is true. The only way to truly combat inequality in the future and work towards a common good for all of humanity is through free exchange of ideas and access to technology.

Now we get to the ‘but’…

But, as expected, Open Source doesn’t make the type of money that people want to make, and instead, it takes away from the paid software if the Open Source alternative is comparable in quality. Take a look at the past Microsoft has had with Open Source. There will always be a large amount of blow back against anything that challenges the status quo and threatens capitalism.

The question we’re left with is the same one that I asked: Is Open Source really the future?

According to the annual Future of Open Source Survey, the uphill battle may be leveling out just a little, because the use of Open Source software is growing and growing with very little to suggest this upward trend will be stopped by the makers of proprietary tech.

Overall, the use of open source software (OSS) increased in 65 percent of companies surveyed. The reasons given for using OSS include: quality of solutions, competitive features, and the ability to customize and fix the software. Additionally, 90 percent of this year’s respondents say that open source improves efficiency, interoperability, and innovation.

The results also show that,

Looking ahead, respondents say that, in the next 2-3 years, the main revenue-generating business models for open source vendors will be: software-as-a-service (46 percent); custom development (42 percent), and services/support (41 percent).

It seems that the answer to the initial question is yes. Open Source is the future, and little can be done to change that projection.

 

How Literature Impacted The Internet As We Know It

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When I say the word “hypertext” what’s the first thing you think of? Most likely, you thought of HTML, right? Hypertext is defined as, “a database format in which information related to that on a display can be accessed directly from the display.” For most of us, the reason the word “hypertext” doesn’t even connect for us, is because we grew up with computers, so the idea of selecting something on a display and accessing other information is so commonplace. We just think of it as, “Well, duh, you click the link.” In reality, Hypertext has a far more interesting history than most of us would imagine, and it links back to writing.

There was an attempt at a literary revolution led, arguably, by a person called Ted Nelson. Nelson is credited with being the person behind the concept of hypertext, hypermedia, and hyperlinks. In his writings in the sixties, Nelson saw the future of hypertext as a way to bring literature back into fashion in the 21st century as a way to take people away from television and its stagnation of creativity and make reading the new big thing again. The concept was that through the use of hypertext, books would be published online in an interactive way so that the reader moves on to different parts of the story by clicking links, basically.

Though nobody in the reading I’ve done calls it this, it sounds to me like an internet version of those Choose Your Own Adventure books I used to read as a kid.

While the idea was ambitious, as we all now know, Nelson’s dream of an interactive novel online as the next revolution of entertainment didn’t, in fact, work out in the end. There are multiple reasons for that, and some of them are pretty simple to work out the cause. One of the main issues was just the timing of it all. Another was the formats through which hypertext was meant to become a reality.

Before the internet, Apple came out with one of the first platforms for hypertext in a program called HyperCard. From what I can understand, HyperCard was a lot like a powerpoint platform, but rather than doing a presentation with it, it was meant to link slides together so that the user could explore a multimedia artifact via hyperlinks. In his look back on the HyperCard, Matthew Lasar tells us,

Even before its cancellation, HyperCard’s inventor saw the end coming. In an angst-filled 2002 interview, Bill Atkinson confessed to his Big Mistake. If only he had figured out that stacks could be linked through cyberspace, and not just installed on a particular desktop, things would have been different.

“I missed the mark with HyperCard,” Atkinson lamented. “I grew up in a box-centric culture at Apple.

This goes back to the issue of timing that made hypertext miss the mark, so to speak. Before the broad release of internet connectivity, everything created was installed on a single computer. That meant that only the users of the computer the HyperCard was created on could access it. This was the same for a lot of computer programs at the time. There was no thought process leading up to the idea that one day soon, computers would be interconnected, so the creators didn’t anticipate needing that ability.

Though there were some attempts at making hypertext novels the Next Big Thing™, such as Douglas Cooper’s Delirium, Steven Johnson tells us why it was that hypertext stories just never took off.

It turned out that nonlinear reading spaces had a problem: They were incredibly difficult to write. When you tried to make an argument or tell a journalistic story in which any individual section could be a starting or ending point, it wound up creating a whole host of technical problems, the main one being that you had to reintroduce characters or concepts in every section.

As you could expect, such a difficult and complex medium for telling a novel-like story wasn’t successful. It would have created some really interesting stories, no doubt, but nothing that complicated would have ever been the next revolution to replace TV and change the way literature as we know it is experienced.

However, what we did get out of these revolutionary ideas was something equally as important: blogging! Yes, the very platform you are experiencing right now hails from the idea of hypertext fiction. And it wasn’t just blogging that came out of the hypertext revolution that never was, as Steven Johnson outlines in the same article.

It’s not that hypertext went on to become less interesting than its literary advocates imagined in those early days. Rather, a whole different set of new forms arose in its place: blogs, social networks, crowd-edited encyclopedias. Readers did end up exploring an idea or news event by following links between small blocks of text; it’s just that the blocks of text turned out to be written by different authors, publishing on different sites. Someone tweets a link to a news article, which links to a blog commentary, which links to a Wikipedia entry. Each landing point along that itinerary is a linear piece, designed to be read from start to finish. But the constellation they form is something else. Hypertext turned out to be a brilliant medium for bundling a collection of linear stories or arguments written by different people.

What may have started as an attempt at a literary revolution failed to bring about a new literary form that would bring literature back to the masses and dethrone the entertainment king that was television, but from the ashes of a failed endeavor rose basically the entirety of new media as we know it now. News, social interaction, education, communication, all of our common forms of new media that we utilize every single day is only made possible by hypertext.

Post-New Media: Cynicism and Modern Media Culture

As some of you know, I am taking a class in which we are encouraged to express our thoughts and opinions about New Media and specifically cultural shifts in New Media related in large part to the rise of Social Media and the digital age.

What a lot of you may not know, and it is something I never expected, is that there are a large amount of people in my age bracket studying New Media like I am who are extremely cynical towards the digital world. I half-jokingly think of them as ‘Post-New Media’ since a lot of people seem to have moved beyond the are of embracing New Media and moved on to disdain. I seem to be the wild and free optimist of a fairly large group of young people because I embrace the digital world and I see far more net-positives in our future due to the rise of digital communication and social media. I find myself often being one of the lone voices in the crowd who doesn’t seem to think in terms of ‘who controls what we see and hear’ and ‘The Man is still pulling the puppet strings’. I half expect someone to use the word, ‘Sheeple’ at some point half the time in that class.

However, in the reading for this class, I found something really interesting that I think mirrors the strange preponderance of digital cynics in my current class in a very funny way.

One of the things in our text book is an essay by Hans Magnus Enzensberger called “Constituents of a Theory of the New Media” that was written in 1970. In this essay, which is actually more like a collection of smaller essays, he has a section called, “Cultural Archaism in the Left Critique” in which he talks about how the New Left movement of the sixties likened media and the advances of media to a new form of manipulation. Enzensberger says that, while the basic idea is correct – “the means of production are in enemy hands” – he calls this cynicism towards new methods of communication an issue of self-defeating archaism, by which he means if people buy into the idea that the game is rigged, they give up, thus falling for the very manipulation they proclaim to be the problem.

The manipulation thesis also serves to exculpate oneself. To cast the enemy in the role of the devil is to conceal the weakness and lack of perspective in ones own agitation. If the latter leads to self-isolation instead of mobilizing the masses, then its failure is attributed holus-bolus to the overwhelming power of the media.

With respect to my peers, I somewhat feel like I’m witnessing the same phenomenon in which this cynicism is manifesting in a self-defeatist manner. Obviously, it isn’t just something attributed to my classmates, this is a far widespread phenomenon than just amongst a group of twenty-five college students, but I feel like this is something we’re all seeing lately.

Enzensberger attributed a rather interesting form of archaism to this cynicism in the sixties, as he outlines in the same section when he says:

At the very beginning of the student revolt, during the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, the computer was a favorite target for aggression.

That is reflected today in the distrust to not just the traditional media, but towards Social Media as well. There is this push back against Social Media in constantly pointing out the negatives and talking about all the harm that Social Media does to interpersonal communication and to the culture of communication as we know it by highlighting aspects such as the ability to bully and the lack of accountability that the internet provides rather than by championing the new avenues to communication that Social Media has opened to people all over the world.

Perhaps I am being the crazy naive one of the herd, but I really feel like this is a self-defeating level of cynicism just like Enzensberger talked about seeing in the sixties, especially since I’m a New Media major. To reject and demonize the very progress in communication and democratization of access to information that allows less control by ‘the man’ just because there is still a platform in which the information is contained is to basically say all that we have striven for in terms of progress hasn’t been achieved, so we may as well give up.

I embrace the digital world and all the different forms of communication available to us, because I feel like the world as a whole always benefits from broader access to information. And it isn’t even just the platforms, like Social Media, but the culture around how we view communication that makes me feel so optimistic about the future. Like I said in a previous post about New Media,

New Media has managed to affect global changes in the very idea of communication because it has lowered the barrier to entry to what is and isn’t possible when it comes to communication regardless of location, wealth, or status of privilege.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 75
This lady could tweet about her farm’s hay yield from rural India right now! How cool is that? Thank you technology!

Though New Media and the digital world is not a perfect system by any means, and while there are a lot of theories about why people are so cynical in the digital age, I just still absolutely fail to see how allowing more people the access to information and the ability to share ideas faster, easier, and in a better organized fashion can possibly a net-negative in the big picture.

What about you guys? Are you a cynic? Are you an optimist? Are you like me and didn’t think you were an optimist until you realized most people you meet are cynics? You can always let me know here or on Twitter. I welcome a conversation!

Women’s March 2017: A Textbook Example of New Media’s Contribution To Global Progress

By now, over a week later, we have all heard about Women’s March 2017. On January 21st, the day after President Trump’s inauguration, there was a planned Women’s March on Washington to protest the new president. The organizers of the event expected approximately 250,000 attendees the day of the event in Washington. Instead, as sister marches sprung up around the US and eventually around the world, January 21, 2017 will most likely go down in history as the second-largest global protest event in history.

The reason that what started as a single planned event, the Women’s March on Washington, became a globally successful series of protests not only about women’s rights, but also about queer rights, immigrants rights, civil rights, and just the general idea of human’s rights being threatened in the wake of the inauguration of President Trump, is because the way people communicate and the dynamic ways in which organization is possible has changed so much in just the last decade due to the rise of what we consider New Media.

While the total number of marchers around the world may never be known exactly, the count in the United States has been reported by Daniel Dale, a Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, in a tweet linking to a table compiled by a professor from the University of Connecticut, Jeremy Pressman, with the help of Erica Chenoweth from the University of Denver.

(Though it must be emphasized that this table is unverified, all numbers on the table have sources linked, and it does match other reports regarding the turnout to the Women’s March events around the nation.)

The estimates reported by Dale and compiled by Pressman and Chenoweth only provide details to the reports since that day that the Women’s March events not only were a success, but far outreached any expected participation. Though there was a large amount of celebrity participation, which garnered a large amount of attention and may have encouraged more people to attend, but even with these things planned ahead, nobody ever expected to see seas of pink taking over American cities.

Los Angeles expected up to 80,000 participants and instead, there were 750,000

Chicago expected up to 50,000 participants and instead there were so many attendees (up to an estimated 250,000) that there wasn’t enough room for them all.

Even in cities that hadn’t prepared for such massive crowds, the turnout was a moving mass of pink as far as the eye could see.

Here in Georgia, there were at least four times as many marchers than had been expected at the Atlanta, Georgia Women’s March, and that isn’t counting the several other protests in other Georgia cities.

What made these events so successful, not just in America, but globally, is the ways in which New Media has changed not just the ability of how we can communicate, but the culture around communication that has shifted with these new methods of communication.

Traditional news spent most of the weeks leading up to President Trump’s inauguration talking about his cabinet confirmation hearings, his plans for the first days as president, and the plans regarding the actual inauguration. This makes sense, because that’s what most people in America and around the world would be talking about. Because of that, the plans for the Women’s March on Washington were casually mentioned through traditional, mainstream media sources, whereas they were broadly discussed, shared, and built upon via social media.

On November 23rd, 2016, Christina Cauterucci wrote about the potential for disaster regarding the planned Women’s March in Slate:

They weren’t professional organizers, but they knew how to make Facebook events. Eventually, a handful of different actions (one was to be called the Million Pussy March) collapsed into one: Originally dubbed the Million Woman March, it’s now the Women’s March on Washington, it’s scheduled for the day after Trump’s inauguration, and, as of this writing, 116,856 people from all over the country have said on Facebook that they are “going.” What they’re “going” to—and when, and where—nobody knows. Not even the people in charge.

She also added:

Right now, it looks like some form of the march and rally will happen, though probably not as first advertised. Without any experience planning large-scale events and without anticipating the potential scope of what they were starting, the original creators promised a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, followed by a march to the White House.

As we now know, the Women’s March on Washington, which was just one month ago still seemingly a disjointed collection of ideas that had no real sense of organization and was being planned by individuals without professional experience organizing large events, ended up being a massive success not only in Washington, but around the world. The reason for this is simple: broadly accessible and easily coordinated communication all made possible by the rise of New Media.

So while the original goal of having a larger number of people attend the Women’s March on Washington than the inauguration of President Trump was successful, with scientists saying that three times as many people attended the March than they did President Trump’s inauguration, the unintended results of an attempt at a standard counter-protest to a new presidency amounted to one of the largest global protest rallies in history, and it was all due to the ways that our perception of what communication is and the methods through which we communicate to large audiences instantly has been forever altered by New Media.