Participatory culture is the opposite to consumer culture, it is when the individual not only consumes but helps produce media. New technologies, specifically the internet have allowed individuals to produce media more easily – this links with web 2.0 The internet has allowed people to work collaboratively and create more sophisticated products, replicating those of professionals. – relating to wikinomics and we-think Barriers which before stopped people from producing products such as films have now been broken down by new technologies. Equipment is more affordable and websites such as Youtube allow you to post your videos, potentially allowing them to become well-known.
Henry Jenkins’06 wrote a paper named: confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the 21 st century.
In this paper he describes participatory culture as one:
With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement
With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others
With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices
Where members believe that their contributions matter
Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).
In relation to Web 2.0… Websites like Flickr, Wikipedia and Facebook encourages individuals to submit their own content and increases the ease in which you can do so. Social networking sites allow you to submit content even if you only have an internet browser, which means a widespread audience can contribute to the internet. Social networking sites also create online communities for the production of content. This is part of the concept of Web 2.0. People are increasingly likely to exploit new tools and technologies in 2.0 ways, cellphone’s can now engage “smart mobs” for political change worldwide.
According to Henry Jenkins… One result in the emergence of participatory cultures is an increase in the number of media resources available. In turn this increases the competition between media outlets. Producers of media are now having to pay more attention to the needs of consumers who can turn to other sources for information. Howard Rheingold says… The emergence of participatory cultures will enable deep social changes. A handful of generally privileged wealthy people control nearly all forms of mass communication. However in contemporary society tools for media production and dissemination are readily available and allow participatory media.
Participation becoming easier? The diversity of voices that can heard in the media increase. There are five mass media giants who control most of the information around the world. Because media is diverse it allows those who have control to influence the opinions and information that flows to public domain. It is debatable whether media concentration provides corruption or not, but as information continues to become assessed from more and more place it becomes more difficult to control the flow of information. It is said that participatory culture is a democratic form of communication. This is because it allows the audience to take an active role and shape the flow of ideas across media formats. The idea of participatory culture is that there is no hierarchy and the community is collaborative and self-organized.
Consumer Concern… Participatory cultures allow humans to be active contributors In personally meaningful activities. However it is a concern that they may force humans to cope with the burden of being an active contributory in personally irrelevant activities. The potential draw back of “do-it-yourself societies” is that individuals are now persuaded to do tasks themselves instead of the professionals. Although it provides power and control it also leads to poor quality and effective efficient products and production. The tools professionals use are core technologies and these technologies occasionally pass over to the customer. In doing this it passes over a new burden on customers. Individuals who are more comfortable with participatory practises and resources are at an advantage. These individuals are less likely to take advantage of the increased leverage inherent in engaging with businesses as a prosumer.
Digital Divide... Jenkins states how there is a concern over equal access of the availability of technologies. When looking at how the working classes use library computers, it shows the disadvantages they have. They have no opportunity for storage, they have to deal with filtering and use out dated machines which run slowly. The middle and elite classes have home computers which are unfiltered allow access to anything you desire, have high band-width and continuous connectivity. Schools attempt to close the digital divide however media literate student's are often robbed from advancing technologically, and some struggle to keep up.
Meta-design... Meta-design is “design for designers” representing an emerging conceptual framework aimed at defining and creating social and technical infrastructures in which participatory cultures can come alive and new forms of collaborative design can take place. It allows users to become co-designers and co-developers. It is grounded in the basic assumption that future uses and problems cannot be completely anticipated at design time, when a system is developed Users at use time will discover mismatches between their needs and the support that an existing system can provide for them, leading to breakdowns that serve as a source for new insights, knowledge and understanding.
1. Making changes must seem possible:Contributors should not be intimidated and should not have the impression that they are incapable of making changes; the more users become convinced that changes are not as difficult as they think they are, the more they may be willing to participate. 2. Changes must be technically feasible: If a system is closed, then contributors cannot make any changes; as a necessary prerequisite, there needs to be possibilities and mechanisms for extension. 3. Benefits must be perceived: Contributors have to believe that what they get in return justifies the investment they make. The benefits perceived may vary and can include: professional benefits (helping for one’s own work), social benefits (increased status in a community, possibilities for jobs), and personal benefits (engaging in fun activities). 4. The environments must support tasks that people engage in: The best environments will not succeed if they are focused on activities that people do rarely or consider of marginal value. 5. Low barriers must exist to sharing changes: Evolutionary growth is greatly accelerated in systems in which participants can share changes and keep track of multiple versions easily. If sharing is difficult, it creates an unnecessary burden that participants are unwilling to overcome. Meta-data supports participatory culture...