Developments in new and digital media have undoubtedly increased user interactivity and helped break down the barriers between content provider and audience. With the advent of social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the average person can now make their opinion heard much easier than in previous years. These sites allow for fan pages to be created and allow people to voice their critiques both positive and negative in a much more open and democratic fashion, media institutions will often create these fan pages as they are now standard codes and conventions of marketing and they are convenient for the fans because they are easy and enjoyable to use because they allow you to discuss subjects much more easily. However the free and open nature of these fan pages on Facebook and Twitter means that discussions can easily turn into fights and 'flame wars' where peoples opinions are suppressed and one argument can dominate a debate. The same is true of comment sections on websites such as YouTube, a well known case of this 'flaming' would be the case of Amanda Todd, the girl who committed suicide after being abused for a lengthy period of time, on YouTube many commenter's actually criticised Amanda, saying that she was foolish and deserved what she got.
Recently the free and open nature of the internet has caused the internet itself to come under threat from various governments, the SOPA bill was introduced by US politicians to prevent illegal downloading of media products such as movies and music, a similar bill known as PIPA is still trying to be passed right now. Sometimes too much freedom on the internet actually has the opposite effect of its intentions, because people have the freedom to do what they want they will often push the boundaries of what they can do on the internet which includes illegal acts such as the illegal downloading of movies and music, in this way the internet still has a lot of limitations since the government will intervene when they feel their presence is necessary, Egypt and more recently Syria have completely disabled all internet access in their countries as a media blackout to prevent news of violent revolutions occurring, clearly some governments do not believe in a more democratic control of the internet as free speech and independent thinking isn't necessarily the best option for their regimes.
Google actually monitors all of the sites that their users search for to make sure that illegal material such as child pornography or pirated media is not being viewed, a perfect example of how surveillance is most prevalent on the internet, much like in real life there are always limitations to what you can legally do, during the 2012 Olympics a teenager was arrested for sending abusive tweets to Olympic diver Tom Daley. To some this would not seem democratic at all as online messages are rarely ever taken so seriously, this story was a shock to most people as arrests for abusive messages are still somewhat of a rarity, and if someone can be arrested for simply criticising someone on the internet perhaps this signifies that we are entering a period of increased censorship where the government in taking more control of the internet and imposing harsher rules and regulations.
YouTube is the one of the best examples of interactivity and and equal participation in new and digital media. YouTube allows people to post all manner of videos from simple vlogs made by one person in their home such as the hugely successful JennaMarbles to expansive networks such as TheGameStation. YouTube gets between 2 and 3 billion hits a day proving that there is a huge demand for original content on a website that covers everything from music and videogaming to comedy and sports. YouTube encourages expression and original content and the comments section with its functionality that allows users to 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' a comment signifies YouTube's emphasis on building a democratic community and although 'trolls' are still an occurrence on the website most users have learned to simply ignore them, perhaps much more than any other website. The channels themselves on YouTube often have grass-roots fan bases and channels are often operated by one person or a small group of people, much of YouTube's popularity comes from the fact that most content is not overblown and flashy with 'Hollywood' level production values, it has a certain earthy quality where individuals produce content and comment on peoples videos fairly and treat each other as equals purely for the joy of finding enjoyable content and interacting with each other.