Paper presented at the Creativity & Cognition conference in Washington, DC, on 14-16 June 2007. For more information (including the full paper), see http://snurb.info/node/720. This paper outlines the concept of produsage as a model of describing today’s emerging user-led content creation environments. Produsage overcomes some of the systemic problems associated with translating industrial-age ideas of content production into an informational-age, social software, Web 2.0 environment. Instead, it offers new ways of understanding the collaborative content creation and development practices found in contemporary informational environments.
Text of Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation
1. Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation Dr Axel Bruns Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia [email_address]
pro-am production (Charles Leadbeater & Paul Miller)?
customer-made products, produced by a new Generation C ( Trendwatching.com )?
corporations harnessing the hive (J.C. Herz)?
5. Beyond Products
traditional value chains rely on key assumptions:
products exist in discrete versions, and producers decide when these are to be released
the distribution of products is controlled (and controllable) by producers and distributors, not by consumers
consumers are relatively isolated only producers have access to the whole community
the core business lies in the sale of copyrighted products
but in a user-led, digitalenvironment, this is no longer true:
the latest update is always immediately available e.g. open source,Wikipedia
content is available for direct access online users become producers, and the Net replaces the distributor
consumers join together in enthusiast groups, interest groups, developer groups
the core business lies in providing value-added services around freely available content
6. Common Characteristics
shared across these environments:
Open Participation, Communal Evaluation the community as a whole, if sufficiently large and varied, can contribute more than a closed team of producers, however qualified
Fluid Heterarchy, Ad Hoc Governance produsers participate as is appropriate to their personal skills, interests, and knowledges; this changes as the produsage project proceeds
Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process content artefacts in produsage projects are continually under development, and therefore always unfinished; their development follows evolutionary, iterative, palimpsestic paths
Common Property, Individual Merit contributors permit (non-commercial) community use and adaptation of their intellectual property, and are rewarded by the status capital gained through this process
7. A New Value Chain?
content content 8. Produsage
anyone can edit users become producers of content
content is no longer a distinct product it is a temporary artefact of an ongoing process
usage and production are increasingly, inextricably intertwined
strict distinctions between producers, distributors, and consumers no longer apply
a new Generation C of content produsers?
9. Breaking the Chains content development space set up by community or company to harbour produsage (e.g. Wikimedia Foundation; Google; SourceForge) commercial / non-profit harvesting of user-generated content (e.g.The Sims ,Wikipediaon CD-ROM) commercial / non-profit services to support produsage (e.g. Red Hat, SourceForge) commercial activities by users themselves, harnessing the hive (e.g. support services, consultancies, content sales) initial IP contributions from individuals, the public domain, or commercial sources collaborative, iterative, evolutionary, palimpsesticuser-led content development valuable, often commercial-grade content is created Produsage Environment (populated by produsers) 10. Collective Intelligence
Questions and answers:
creative potential of distributed collaboration
grassroots, vernacular creativity; shared folk culture
sustainability of voluntary labour
reliance on interest communities and enthusiasts
intellectual property issues
building a new creative, information, knowledge commons
trust, authority, responsibility, liability
communal evaluation of content quality
emergence of new cultural, social, economic structures
towards a new collective intelligence?
11. Produsage Economics
cheap workforce for commercial producers
but also post-Fordist production/produsage models
possible opposition to traditional business, and opportunity for new businesses
harnessing the hive by produsers for produsers
harvesting the hive by produsers for wider community
helping the hive promoting and supporting produsage
harbouring the hive providing the spaces for produsage
hijacking the hive locking users into spaces of produsage
12. Political Implications
Towards post-Fordist politics?
growing effect of produser news on political process
towards more dialogue and deliberation,
or more argument and conflict?
rear-guard battles by governments and news organisations against citizen journalists but not only in authoritarian regimes
conflict between alternative and mainstream media coverage (e.g. Howard Dean campaign)
digital divide opening between traditional audiences and new produser-citizens?
Is it possible to harness produsage to support a move of citizens from being a passive audience for to being active produsers of democracy?