'Anyone Can Edit': From Users to Produsers


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Guest lecture at the Sino-German School of Governance, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, 25 Mar. 2009. (English version)

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'Anyone Can Edit': From Users to Produsers

  1. 1. creative in d u stries „Anyone Can Edit‟: From Users to Produsers Dr Axel Bruns ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology a.bruns@qut.edu.au – http://snurb.info/ – http://produsage.org/ creativeindustries.qut.com
  2. 2. creative in d u stries The Produser ‒ No, it‟s not a typo… ‒ Produsers are involved in: • user-led content production – produsage ‒ In a variety of „Web 2.0‟ environments (Image: http://flickr.com/photos/stabilo-boss/93136022/) creativeindustries.qut.com
  3. 3. creative in d u stries Beyond Production ‒ decline of the traditional value chain: producer  distributor  consumer (producer advised by consumer  distributor  consumer) (customer-made ideas  producer  distributor  consumer) creativeindustries.qut.com
  4. 4. creative in d u stries What‟s Happening Here? ‒ Trends towards: • Prosumer (Alvin Toffler)? • Citizen-Consumer (John Hartley)? • Pro-Am Production (Charles Leadbeater & Paul Miller)? • User-generated products, created by a new „Generation C‟ (Trendwatching.com)? • Commercial interests „Harnessing the Hive‟ (J.C. Herz)? creativeindustries.qut.com
  5. 5. creative in d u stries Beyond Products ‒ ‒ key assumptions about „products‟: but in the digital world: • • products exist in discrete versions, and the latest update is always immediately available – e.g. open source, Wikipedia producers decide when these are to be released • • the distribution of products is controlled content is available for direct access online – users become producers, and (and controllable) by producers and distributors, not by consumers the Net replaces the distributor • consumers are relatively isolated – only • consumers join together in enthusiast producers have access to the whole groups, interest groups, developer community groups • • the core business lies in the sale of the core business lies in providing copyrighted products value-added services around freely available content creativeindustries.qut.com
  6. 6. creative in d u stries A New Value Chain? (as producer) produser content content (as consumer) creativeindustries.qut.com
  7. 7. creative in d u stries 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 Meritocracy – 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 of their intellectual property, and are rewarded by the status capital creativeindustries.qut.com
  8. 8. creative in d u stries Produsage ‒ emerging in various domains: • open source software • multi-user gaming ∘ e.g. The Sims, Everquest, development • online publishing Second Life, Spore • media sharing and creative ∘ blogs practice ∘ open news – e.g. Slashdot, ∘ e.g. Flickr, ccMixter, Indymedia, OhmyNews YouTube, Jumpcut, • knowledge management Current.tv ∘ wikis – e.g. Wikipedia • reviews and viral marketing ∘ social bookmarking – e.g. ∘ e.g. Epinions, IgoUgo del.icio.us, digg • automatic aggregation ∘ geotagging – e.g. Google ∘ Google, Amazon, Technorati Earth, Frappr creativeindustries.qut.com
  9. 9. creative in d u stries Produsage ‒ beyond production: • „anyone can edit‟ – users become producers of content • outcomes are no longer distinct products – they are temporary artefacts of a continuing 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? this is produsage (dt. Produtzung) creativeindustries.qut.com
  10. 10. creative in d u stries Breaking the Chains commercial / non-profit Produsage Environment harvesting of user- (populated by produsers) generated content content (e.g. The Sims, development space Wikipedia on CD-ROM) set up by community or commercial / non-profit company to services to support harbour produsage produsage (e.g. Wikimedia (e.g. Red Hat, Foundation; Google; SourceForge) SourceForge) valuable, often commercial-grade content is created initial IP commercial activities by users contributions from themselves, harnessing the hive individuals, the (e.g. support services, public domain, or consultancies, content sales) commercial sources collaborative, iterative, evolutionary, palimpsestic user-led content development creativeindustries.qut.com
  11. 11. creative in d u stries Collective Intelligence ‒ Implications of produsage: • emergent community structures? • creative potential – grassroots, vernacular creativity? • (e-)democratic potential? • new applications for collective intelligence? • sustainability of voluntary labour? • commercial approaches ∘ JC Herz: „harnessing the hive‟ ∘ how far removed from exploitation (i.e. hijacking the hive)? • intellectual property issues? • trust, authority, responsibility, liability? creativeindustries.qut.com
  12. 12. creative in d u stries creativeindustries.qut.com (http://www.research.ibm.com/visual/projects/history_flow/capitalism1.htm)
  13. 13. creative in d u stries Produser Economics ‒ Economic potential: • ambiguous response by affected industries: ∘ opposition: e.g. software industry, journalism industry ∘ interest: e.g. tourism, computer games,advertising, product design • cheap workforce for commercial producers • but also post-Fordist Pro-Am production/produsage models • Important inputs to process and product innovation • increasing focus on creativity and innovation in international business development ∘ e.g. move from „made in China‟ to „created in China‟ creativeindustries.qut.com
  14. 14. creative in d u stries (http://freebeer.org/blog/archives/134) creativeindustries.qut.com
  15. 15. creative in d u stries Intellectual Property ‒ Ambiguous relation of produsage to IP: • innovative use of new IP licences (e.g. Creative Commons) • complex IP relationships in massively multi-produser environments (e.g. Wikipedia) • participants not necessarily aware of legal rights and obligations • conflicted response from established industries ∘ both “Rip. Mix. Burn.” and p2p persecution ∘ both take down notices and YouTube advertising • potential stifling of produser innovation by heavy-handed IP legislation ∘ potential economic impact ∘ China‟s growth helped by lax IP enforcement creativeindustries.qut.com
  16. 16. creative in d u stries creativeindustries.qut.com (http://jpgmag.com/issues/19/full)
  17. 17. creative in d u stries Political Implications ‒ Towards a post-industrial 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 2004, Australian federal election 2007, Obama and McCain 2008 • 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? creativeindustries.qut.com
  18. 18. creative in d u stries Viral Marketing Axel Bruns Senior Lecturer ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia a.bruns@qut.edu.au http://snurb.info/ http://produsage.org/ http://gatewatching.org/ Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (Peter Lang, 2008) Uses of Blogs, eds. Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs (Peter Lang, 2006) Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (Peter Lang, 2005) creativeindustries.qut.com