To each his own. Within the context of singular states, there exists dominant popular cultures that define unique mass ‘structuralism’ (Barker, 2003), leading eventually to codes of social governance – societal norms. Karl Marx’s theory on ‘ruling ideas’ (Barker, 2003) can be drawn parallel to present-day hegemonic structures whereby culturally accepted forms of behaviour do much to safeguard the insecurities and interests of the ‘ruling class’.
In a build-up from the previous post – I Am The “Paper” In My Hand – , the ‘ambiguous middle class’ (AMC) undoubtedly feels compelled to excel and fit in with these unspoken rules of conduct. But why? It has everything to do with the need to be recognised. By who? None other than the ruling class who are viewed as symbolic tickets to affluence by the AMC.
STOMP carries with it several stereotypical notions of self-expression.
- ‘Barbaric’ journalism – in reference to the civility of language and motive
Its viral spread since its creation in 2006 has made the media channel almost synonymous to the term ‘citizen journalism’ within the Singapore context. One would argue of the lack of similar localised channels given a highly saturated market run by state autonomous media corporations. Nevertheless, the fact remains that STOMP provides an avenue close to the heart of Singaporeans, allowing them to be partakers of a participatory culture in the making.
The AMC feels a strong need to stand out from the masses in an attempt to beef up one’s vernacular status. What better way to start than in the country’s most heavily patronised social opinionated portal. Talking about sense, Henry Jenkins’ accurate portrayal of participatory culture in this instance is proof that this highly globalised world is progressing collectively (Jenkins, 2006).
- “Where members believe that their contributions matter”
- “Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created)”
There is a bitter irony of the situation present at hand. Individuals who work hard to get themselves heard end up relying on the people they set out to ‘outclass’. For example, a guy who discovers the best FREE scenic site to catch the new year fireworks and takes a photograph of it will only be publicly recognised for his resourcefulness if fellow netizens on STOMP lend their support via comments. His efforts would be deemed worthless otherwise.
Take all that’s been said, cross reference it with an unintentional community bond forged as a result of being a frequent STOMP reader or contributor, and you get an even greyer irony. To put it in simple illustrative terms, it is like a group of narcissists who come together and become the best of friends – sharing views and fresh insights with one another.
STOMP, thus can be represented as a channel that fuels individualism in an effort to carve one’s unique identity, accompanied with the accidental creation of closely-knitted communities which itself carry an identity of belonging.
Barker, Chris (2003) Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice, London, Sage Publications, pp. 48 & 51
Jenkins, Henry (2006) Confronting The Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education For The 21st Century, Chicago, The MacArthur Foundation, pp.7