First of all, in order to discuss about alternative media, it is needed to indicate why this type of media are categorized as “alternative”. Name on it, alternative media are the ones which do not belong to mainstream. In this sense we may ask, what is mainstream media and why people need this alternative media concept?
Mainstream media are accepted as they serve to general interests of a society, mainly. However, mainstream media can be used as a manipulative instrument to direct people accordingly to the purposes and intentions of those who have the media tools. Fuchs (2010) points out that “Content and form of traditional media are ideological. Content is strictly defined by what is considered as popular and sellable. The drive for profit can result in a lack of quality, complexity, and sophistication (as e.g. yellow journalism that simplifies reality and is focused on singular examples, emotionalism, and sensationalism)” (p:179).
This shows us that media owners can pick up the news or arrange and edit them accordingly to their intentions and change people’s mind as they want. At this stage, audience could be considered as passive, because they do not take place in choosing their agendas actively; they just take what is given to. On the contrary, alternative media provide space for people to express their ideas in an active way. Not only to express but also to choose what they wish to hear and be informed about.
In my opinion, mainstream media have started to lose importance; correspondingly, alternative media have started to become a major tool to keep up with the latest events. As indicated above, thanks to alternative media tools, people are now able to discuss about the latest events and trends free from mainstream control mechanism. Certainly, developing communication technologies play an important role in this stage; thanks to these technologies, people are now able to contact with each other no matter how far they are (time and space compression). That brings us to the “Global village” concept which was conceptualized by McLuhan. As we know, there is a huge transformation in communication technology. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and these devices provide people chance to stay in contact with each other. These technologies goes hand in hand with software technologies. The last decade, social media become so popular that there are 1 billion of social media users estimated; in other words, there is a huge network of users has been established around the world. Thus, there are no more spatial distance between people. These people share their ideas and opinions for a particular issue with the others just in a second. I can say that, communication technologies allowed Habermas’s “public sphere” concept worldwide. The reason for this, people are so connected to each other that they can discuss about the events without leaving their homes; they are no longer have to meet phisically like it was used to be so in the past.