Review: The Virtual Revolution Episode 1

For a Media homework, my class and I were asked to watch the Virtual Revolution. This was a 4-part documentary series hosted by Aleks Krotoski, an American media journalist. I originally watched this a couple of weeks ago when I was doing a million other things and when no one else in the class watches it... it makes blagging that day a little harder (sorry Mr R).

With a documentary like this you really need to pay attention because otherwise you will not gain nearly as much from it. Because I was doing English work at the same time as watching it the first time I completely missed the point of this episode and when asked could not think of what The Great Levelling was.

That is what episode 1 focuses on. Though there is no real definition for this media movement, it is something that has a massive impact on our everyday lives. It is a fight for democracy within media. Krotoski looked at websites such as Blogger, Wikipedia and Youtube when analysing its impact on empowering us as an audience.

There is an in depth look at the origins of the web and the Internet (I had no clue they were separate entities but they are), even interviewing the creator of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee. It seems that the Internet was created way before I originally thought and was not instantly a fully functioning machine. Details of its importance in the 60's and the first social media sites, such as The Well, are also detailed with interviews from those who have played a major role in its evolution.

Theorists were also giving their points of view on this, each one contradicting the other. Theorists like Andrew Keen and Lee Siegel offered more cynical views of the use of social media and sites, such as Wikipedia. Siegel went on the say that he is "appalled" by Wikipedia but uses it daily.

This series also contrasts the use of media sites, such as blogger which has a range of content from blogs about cats, movements, such as feminist frequency, and world events such as the blog Ushahidi (meaning witness in Swahili) reporting on the corrupt election in Uganda in 2008.

This series has given me knowledge about debates and has introduced me to both sides of multiple arguments. Is Wikipedia worth sacrificing accuracy for? Is it fair that we are spied on if we have the ability to use this amazing creating?

I will be watching the rest of the series. The second episode does not want to work at the moment for me but I cannot wait to see what other areas they cover. If I am truthful, this has made me a little paranoid...

I believe that the next episode focuses on the power balance and with the Edward Snowden/ Bradley Manning case being so recent I cannot help but feel it will enlighten me further into something that we seem to take for granted everyday.

Rating: 4/5 - highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the impact of media and any media students.

Watch the first episode here:


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