University of Queensland
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Communications and Multimedia
Within the last decade the Internet 'has emerged out of nowhere' (Barr 2000, back cover) to monopolise much of the domestic time, intellectual interest, and financial resources that had previously been lavished upon film, television, and (specialist console) game consumption. So far, research on the Internet appears to be following a similar evolutionary pattern to research on broadcast media-displacement studies (what have people 'given up' to make time for the Internet?), effects studies (is it addictive, bad, bankrupting, and why?), ratings data, and response to moral panics (Internet gambling and pornography). Arguably, applied research involving Internet partidpants treats users as 'audience/s'. Is this a legitimate perspective, however, when members are often content creators as well as consumers? The concept of the active audience recognises that all consumption is also production, but the production of meaning for the individual television audience member differs significantly from that which occurs when people engage in interactive exchanges on the Internet, creating content for themselves and others. This paper addresses these issues, suggesting possible research trajectories.