Produsage and Beyond: Exploring the Pro-Am Interface


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Staff Seminar

Thursday 29 Oct., 2-4 p.m.

Seminar Room, Journalism & Media Research Centre, 1-3 Eurimbla St (corner High St), Randwick

The concept of produsage (Bruns 2008) describes the user-led collaborative approach to content creation which is prevalent in open source, citizen journalism, and the Wikipedia, as well as many other social media spaces. While many produsage projects have emerged initially to challenge dominant players in industry, their successful establishment as viable and sustainable alternatives also opens the door for an exploration of manageable cooperative arrangements between industry and community. Many challenges remain for such Pro-Am (Leadbeater & Miller 2004) models, however - not least an often deep-seated sense of mutual distrust -, and successful Pro-Am models may be most likely to succeed when sponsored by trusted third parties (public broadcasters, NGOs). This presentation explores pitfalls and possibilities in the Pro-Am space.

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  • Produsage and Beyond: Exploring the Pro-Am Interface

    1. 1. Produsage and Beyond: Exploring the Pro-Am Interface Dr Axel Bruns Associate Professor ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Queensland University of Technology [email_address] – @snurb_dot_info
    2. 2. User-Generated Content <ul><li>Widespread trend in media practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>social media, social networking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>new, collaborative forms of content creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>across many interests and practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has Toffler’s ‘prosumer’ arrived? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The word is a combination of producer and consumer that perfectly describes the millions of participants in the Web 2.0 revolution.” ( Techcrunch , 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Image: </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Professional Consumer? <ul><li>What do we mean by ‘prosumer’? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On-demand production initiated by consumers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On-demand production of customer-submitted / modified designs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involvement of customers in design processes? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or simply conventional high-end consumers? E.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hi-fi fanatics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Car enthusiasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer nerds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual ‘lead users’ (as described by von Hippel) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prosumers remain dependent on industry production </li></ul><ul><li>Is that all there is? </li></ul>
    4. 4. (Image:
    5. 5. (Image:
    6. 6. Toffler’s Prosumer <ul><li>Dreams of a “ customer-activated manufacturing system”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the end, the consumer, not merely providing the specs but punching the button that sets this entire process in action, will become as much a part of the production process as the denim-clad assembly-line worker was in the world now dying. ( The Third Wave , 1980: 274) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Producer and consumer, divorced by the industrial revolution, are reunited in the cycle of wealth creation, with the customer contributing not just the money but market and design information vital for the production process. Buyer and supplier share data, information, and knowledge. Someday, customers may also push buttons that activate remote production processes. Consumer and producer fuse into a “ prosumer.” ( Powershift , 1990: 239) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. (
    8. 8. <ul><li>Decline of the traditional value chain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>producer  distributor  consumer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(producer advised by consumer  distributor  consumer) </li></ul><ul><li>(customer-made ideas  producer  distributor  consumer) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Prosumption’ not enough: more than just ‘professional consumers’ </li></ul>Beyond Production prosumption
    9. 9. (
    10. 10. Toward Produsage <ul><li>(as producer) </li></ul><ul><li>produser </li></ul><ul><li>(as user) </li></ul><ul><li> produsage (gradual, continuous, incremental, iterative, never complete, …) </li></ul>content content
    11. 11. Key Principles <ul><li>Shared across collaborative social media environments: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluid Heterarchy, Ad Hoc Meritocracy: produsers participate as is appropriate to their personal skills, interests, and knowledges; this changes as the produsage project proceeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process: content artefacts in produsage projects are continually under development, and therefore always unfinished; their development follows evolutionary, iterative, palimpsestic paths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common Property, Individual Merit: contributors permit (non-commercial) community use of their intellectual property, and are rewarded by the status capital </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Pro-Am Frameworks for Produsage? <ul><li>Commercial opportunities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User-led innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crowdsourcing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viral marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boost to brand recognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved brand perception </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New business models </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Commercial threats: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community backlash </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency tyranny </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Success in the Share Economy <ul><li>Engaging with produsage communities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be open. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For users (access) and with users (transparency). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seed community processes by providing content and tools. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model desired behaviour, assist productive participation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support community dynamics and devolve responsibilities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage promising community leaders as they emerge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t exploit the community and its work. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making money is fine, but you don’t own your users. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapted from Axel Bruns and Mark Bahnisch. &quot; Social Drivers behind Growing Consumer Participation in User-Led Content Generation: Volume 1 - State of the Art. &quot; Sydney: Smart Services CRC, 2009. </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. 1. Be Open <ul><li>Access: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow broad participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t build artificial barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enable community to highlight quality / sanction disruptions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transparency: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be honest about your aims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve the community in your planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss proposed changes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Be Wikipedia , not Facebook .) </li></ul>(
    15. 15. 2. Seed Community Processes <ul><li>Content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Produsage builds on initial inputs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Linus Torvald’s first Linux kernel, Wikipedia ’s first articles, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These set the further trajectory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure that you have great staff creating this content (and acting as role models) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tools: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Available tools determine the solution horizon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User toolkits must be simple and powerful (cf. Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Track and incorporate user needs and wants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepare for unexpected demands </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. 3. Support Community Dynamics <ul><li>Community dynamics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gradual definition of rules and values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing process of mutual evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergence of community structures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support, don’t stifle – aim for self-regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan to devolve management responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community leaders: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Benevolent dictators’? ‘Micro-celebrities’? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dependent on continued community support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partners in innovation processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve, engage (employ?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But don’t turn into ‘community managers’ </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. 4. Don’t Exploit the Community <ul><li>Content ownership: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual property is dead </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing can be profitable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enable content spreadability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipate user-led content distribution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>User lock-in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Hijacking the hive’ is lucrative at first, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… but will seriously damage your brand. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support content and service mash-ups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepare to lose some control over your brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipate the new opportunities this creates </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Pro-Am Produsage Research Opportunities <ul><li>Questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When are participating institutions perceived as ethical and trustworthy? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. problems with comment functions in mainstream news media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. Government 2.0 developments – g4c2c model? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. David Bello on problems with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do the internal dynamics of social media communities work? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. Leesa Costello and Lelia Green on the HeartNET community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. ACID and CCi research on ABC’s </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Large-scale social media dynamics tracking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What technological / social / economic configurations facilitate pro-am models? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cf. John Banks on Trainz , Spore , and other gamer communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OhmyNews , myHeimat , and other pro-am citizen journalism projects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>non-profit and for-profit models for pro-am produsage projects </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Pro-Am Produsage Models seed content and toolkits provided by commercial operators crowdsourcing of inputs to R&D and innovation processes commercial services to support produsage commercial activities by users themselves, harnessing the hive (and promoting the brand) professional staff, kick-starting community processes user-led content development by produsage communities (supported by commercial operators) valuable, often commercial-grade content is created Produsage Environment (open to all comers)
    20. 20. Viral Marketing <ul><li>Axel Bruns </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Professor </li></ul><ul><li>ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Industries Faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Queensland University of Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Project Leader for Social Media (Horizon 1 – 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: http :// </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: @snurb_dot_info </li></ul><ul><li>Produsage: http :// </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn: </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond:From Production to Produsage (Peter Lang, 2008) </li></ul>