KCB201 Week 4 Slidecast: Global / Local / Hyperlocal
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KCB201 Week 4 Slidecast: Global / Local / Hyperlocal

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Week 4 Slidecast for KCB201 Virtual Cultures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, semester 1/2008.

Week 4 Slidecast for KCB201 Virtual Cultures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, semester 1/2008.

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KCB201 Week 4 Slidecast: Global / Local / Hyperlocal KCB201 Week 4 Slidecast: Global / Local / Hyperlocal Presentation Transcript

  • Global / Local / Hyperlocal KCB201 Virtual Cultures Dr Axel Bruns [email_address]
  • Cultural Diversity
    • Beyond cultural uniformity:
      • culture exists on multiple levels:
        • geographic:
          • global level world-wide
          • national level e.g. Australia-wide
          • local level e.g. Brisbane-wide
          • hyperlocal level e.g. suburb-wide (or smaller)
        • social (‘virtual’):
          • universal level humanity as such e.g. music, Universal Human Rights
          • societal level cultural communities e.g. rock music, environmentally aware people
          • local level sub-cultures e.g. hard rock, environmental activists
          • hyperlocal level interest groups e.g. Led Zeppelin fans, Greens Party members (or narrower)
      • global culture highlights our similarity, local culture highlights our diversity
      • cultural memberships intersect and overlap (and sometimes conflict)
  • What’s a Long Tail?
    • Media industries:
      • much easier to cater to global than local tastes
      • lowest common denominator effect
      • 80-20 rule (Pareto’s principle): only 20% of major studio movies will be hits
      • especially where production, warehousing, distribution is costly
    • The Long Tail (Chris Anderson):
      • consumer interests beyond the mainstream
      • can be addressed more easily through digital formats and distribution
      • e.g. Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, …
      • applies to user interests beyond economic concerns
      • can be harnessed through participatory culture models
      • “ The Long Tail ” (article in Wired 12.10, Oct. 2004)
      • The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (Book, 2006)
  • Image from Wired 12.10 (Oct. 2004) :
  • Extending the Long Tail
    • Effects of networked information:
      • easier to explore the long tail and discover new forms of culture
      • easier to identify and join local and hyperlocal cultural communities
      • possible shift of users from mainstream to long tail:
        • mainstream media shrinking
        • niche media (including participatory, DIY media) expanding
        • (but both can co-exist and collaborate, too!)
        • from 80-20 to 99-1: even the “misses” make money
    • Rules for a long tail environment (Anderson pp. 3-5):
      • “ Make everything available.” (There will be people who want even the most obscure content.)
      • “ Cut the price in half. Now lower it.” (A full-scale shift to digital delivery saves money.)
      • “ Help me find it.” (Peer recommendation systems help users explore the long tail.)
      • del.icio.us works according to these rules! (and so does Google …)
      • but here, content is also created by the users – the long tail of participatory culture
  • Long Tail Culture
    • Participatory culture:
      • user-generated content (often building on and repurposing mainstream media content)
      • created by users in a multitude of local and hyperlocal cultural communities
      • which are connected by information networks
      • content can be discovered through peer recommendation services like Google and del.icio.us
    • Nouveau Niche ( Trendwatching.com , March 2005):
      • “ New producers … are adding niche content in text, audio, video by the tera bytes, to be purchased by micro audiences. For all the talk of new opportunities for established niche producers and marketers, the most interesting next development for NOUVEAU NICHE may be driven by ordinary consumers, doubling as producers. Equipped with professional hardware, software, skills and their own showrooms/shops at amateur prices, they're already producing an avalanche of new content …; thereby adding billions of new products and items to pickings that are already immense.” (n.p.)
      • “ But above all, it's a mindset. To continue thinking of niche as unprofitable or even worse, unpopular, may equal commercial suicide. Expect every significant field in business to succumb to the power of NOUVEAU NICHE. … Something that is really, really good or desirable will still be able to reach mass status. But it will be mass by choice, not mass by scarcity.” (n.p.)
  • Cultural Impacts
    • Beyond cultural uniformity:
      • shift away from broad communities (“the country”, “the audience”) and mass culture
      • shift towards narrower, local and hyperlocal communities and niche cultures
      • defined by shared experiences and interests, in the online or offline world
      • potential for cultural and societal fragmentation
      • (isolated niche cultures with little in common)
      • but community membership isn’t exclusive
      • (we’re always members of multiple communities, small and large)
    • Cultural transformations:
      • both large and small cultural communities will continue to exist
      • but the balance between them is shifting
      • cultural participation becomes more specific, more diverse, more active
      • user communities create trends rather than following them
      • media and creative industries will struggle to keep up with them
  • Hyperlocal
    • Return to (geographically) local focus:
      • increased user-driven repurposing and mash-up of local information
      • creating more local information and knowledge
      • emergence of hyperlocal information services
      • local effect of global information networks
    • “ The Rise of Hyperlocal Information ” (Alex Iskold, ReadWriteWeb 21 Nov. 2007):
      • “ The global grid is becoming ubiquitous. … With the spread of the grid we are observing the rise of hyperlocal information. User generated media, classifieds, and other local content is increasingly more tied to specific geography.” (n.p.)
      • “ Despite globalisation, hyperlocal information is very valuable both to people and advertisers. In the coming years, we will be seeing the rise of a new way to look at information – geography. Inspired by utility and the promise of hyperlocal advertising, startups are racing to build businesses that deliver highly relevant, local information to users.” (n.p.)
    • Potential for stronger local sense of belonging, despite the decline of mass culture