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The Negotiation between Dual Roles of New Media Audiences in Online Video Sharing Sites


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This slide was presented at the conference IR9.0: Rethink Community, Rethink Place in Oct 2008, Copenhagen, Denmark. I am Johnny Jie Gu, currently doing the phd on the YouTubing practices at The Australian National University.

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The Negotiation between Dual Roles of New Media Audiences in Online Video Sharing Sites

  1. 1. The Negotiation between Dual Roles of New Media Audiences in Online Video-Sharing Sites Johnny Jie Gu 16 October 2008
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Theoretical frameworks ― reception studies </li></ul><ul><li>practice theories </li></ul><ul><li>Case study ― an American user Aubreykins31 </li></ul><ul><li>How new media audiences coordinate their dual </li></ul><ul><li>roles as producer and consumer on YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Examine the meanings behind her YouTubing </li></ul><ul><li>practices and related media texts </li></ul>
  3. 3. New Role, New Practice, New Question <ul><li>Persistent attempts to denominate new audience </li></ul>prosumer (Toffler 1980) user (Livingstone 2002) viewser (Harries 2002) player (Marshall 2004) you-user (Van Dijck 2007) produser (Bruns 2006)
  4. 4. <ul><li>Implications </li></ul><ul><li>highlight the audience’s new role as a producer </li></ul><ul><li>too much emphasis on the aspect of audience as a producer </li></ul><ul><li>any relation between the roles as consumer and producer? </li></ul><ul><li>stress the significance of new audience practices </li></ul><ul><li>how, if at all, do these new practices contribute to their new </li></ul><ul><li>roles? </li></ul><ul><li>Existing research </li></ul><ul><li>Possible questions </li></ul>
  5. 5. Research Questions <ul><li>What sense do YouTube users make of their dual </li></ul><ul><li>roles? </li></ul><ul><li>How are their dual roles represented? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they negotiate their dual roles? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Theoretical Foundations <ul><li>‘ audiences as co-producers rather than merely consumers of the </li></ul><ul><li>meanings of media’ (Press and Livingstone 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>audience roles are represented through meanings </li></ul><ul><li>behind relevant media texts or media use practices </li></ul>consumer producer meanings media practices media texts media qua objects media qua texts
  7. 7. <ul><li>Combining reception studies and practice theories </li></ul><ul><li>relevant theories of practice (Shatzki 1996; Swidler 2001): </li></ul><ul><li>personal roles are acquired by a set of social practices in which </li></ul><ul><li>individuals participate in various social contexts </li></ul><ul><li>reception studies: cultural meanings circulating between </li></ul><ul><li>consumed and produced videos </li></ul>— impliation: position the acquisition of roles in particular contexts
  8. 8. <ul><li>there exists an ‘anchoring practice’ which organizes and governs </li></ul><ul><li>a person’s whole practices in a particular situation </li></ul><ul><li>practice is a set of activities organized by a pool of constitutive </li></ul><ul><li>elements including understandings, rules, and things like goals, </li></ul><ul><li>emotions and investments,etc. </li></ul>— impliation: examine key elements behind production and consumption practices — impliation: identify the ‘anchoring practice’ among YouTube users’ overall practices
  9. 9. <ul><li>YouTubing Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Consumption, production, social interaction,… </li></ul>Consumption and Production Practices on YouTube <ul><li>Consumption practices </li></ul><ul><li>activities like video browsing, searching, viewing, commenting, </li></ul><ul><li>rating, sharing, subscribing, and ‘favouriting’ </li></ul><ul><li>one exception: video responses ― text comments </li></ul><ul><li>Production practices </li></ul><ul><li>activities like channel designing, video making, posting, tagging, </li></ul><ul><li>promoting </li></ul>
  10. 10. Case and Methods <ul><li>Case study: no common role of ‘consumer’ or </li></ul><ul><li>‘ producer’ on YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly random sampling </li></ul><ul><li>Under the tab “Most Recent” videos for all the categories, every two </li></ul><ul><li>hours, analyse the first five videos by looking into those personal users </li></ul><ul><li>text analysis & online interviews </li></ul><ul><li>An ordinary American user Aubreykins31 </li></ul><ul><li>descriptive statistics up to early July, 2008 </li></ul>
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Intentional Consumption and Accidental Production ‘ Since I’m going to school for Radio/Television production, it’s interesting for me to see what kind of techniques people use … it’s interesting to see how the general public takes advantage of it, and how that is going to affect my career.’ <ul><li>Watching YouTube as a mediated student </li></ul><ul><li>Watching YouTube as a dedicated and routinised </li></ul><ul><li>fan audience </li></ul>‘ I had fallen in love with the idea behind a video community…I wanted in on the fun as well.’ ‘ It’s a weekday, and today is awesome because it’s a weekday. And I mean the Fiveawesomegirls’s video.’ Results
  13. 13. <ul><li>Accidental video production </li></ul>‘ So I made this video in about 5 minutes. And I don't even know why. … But it has become a recent addiction that I am not too terrible proud of.’ (quotes from video information)
  14. 14. stratification model of agent (Giddens 1984) motivation of action (unconscious video making) Reflexive monitoring of action (reflexive monitoring of her consumer role) rationalization of routinisation (routinised consumption) unintended consequences of action (her first video)
  15. 15. Consuming and Producing a Real Self ‘ Most of the people I subscribe to or favourite seem a lot like me as well as the kind of people I would get along with.’ ‘ It allowed me to communicate with other people who had similar interests and interact with them in a way very different from the real world.’ ‘ The people on YouTube should present themselves as who they really are rather than morph themselves until they think they should be.’ (quotes from ‘FiveAwesomeGirls Are Awesome’) <ul><li>Meanings behind her consumed texts </li></ul>
  16. 16. ‘ I try and keep the number of people I’m subscribed to down because it makes it easier to stay up to date with all of them. I refuse to take any “sub 4 sub” Offers… I’m not what you could call (for lack of a better term), a subscriber whore…I only subscribe if I truly like a channel.’ <ul><li>Meanings behind her consumption practices </li></ul><ul><li>media texts (objects of fandom) as an extension of her real self </li></ul><ul><li>(Sandvoss 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: </li></ul><ul><li>distinctive consumption pattern as a consequence of a contrasting </li></ul><ul><li>understanding of consumption practices on YouTube </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Similar meanings behind her production practices </li></ul>‘ Some day, something I do may catch on and I’ll become more popular. And if that happens, than that’s fantastic! But it’s not necessarily a goal of mine.’ ‘ sorry for the shaky camera work!’, ‘except for the crappy music editing’, ‘the video quality sucks’… ‘ So obviously, when making a video, I’m very conscious of ensuring that it is entertaining...But other than that, I simply try to be myself (even though I sometimes feel ridiculous talking to a camera).’ (quotes from her video information)
  18. 18. <ul><li>Negotiated meanings behind her media texts </li></ul>aubreykins31 cutmanfilms
  19. 19. ‘ The original videos struck me as funny in the first place, despite being quite vulgar which I am not typically drawn to’ ‘ In writing my own script, I was particularly careful to maintain that irony. You’ll notice that both the Most Awkard Boy and the Most Awkward Girl never do anything “awkward” themselves… They are simply the victims of other peoples’ constantly awkward behavior.’ <ul><li>Conclusion: </li></ul><ul><li>a ‘negotiated code’ between her produced and consumed texts </li></ul><ul><li>(Hall 1980) </li></ul><ul><li>dual roles largely merge with each other as the representation </li></ul><ul><li>of a real self </li></ul>
  20. 20. From Production back to Consumption <ul><li>No clear sense of audience </li></ul>‘ I have never really thought about how my audience effects me before.’ ‘ I have never really done any kind of research into the kinds of people who have already subscribed to or commented on my videos.’ ‘… is rather similar to the way you would handle yourself in a room full of people you do not know.’
  21. 21. ‘ But I do search by tags when I’m looking for something specific, or checking to see if something has been done before.’ <ul><li>Sense of audience manifests itself when watching other people’s </li></ul><ul><li>videos and leads to a reflexive evaluation of her own work </li></ul>‘ I wanted to let viewers know that it was not my idea. I also wanted to put a link to the original videos in my description so that people who enjoyed mine could easily find the originals (which, in my opinion, are still infinitely better).’ <ul><li>Sense of audience rooted in practical consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>What to produce </li></ul>How to consume What to consume
  22. 22. <ul><li>Role as producer anchors the overall practice </li></ul>
  23. 23. ‘ And I only did that because I wanted to get a lot of feedback on it since I had worked so hard.’ <ul><li>Conclusion: </li></ul><ul><li>atypical video consumption activity as a credit to her role as a diligent </li></ul><ul><li>producer </li></ul><ul><li>In such a situation, her production practice, qualified as the ‘anchoring </li></ul><ul><li>practice’ of her overall YouTubing practice, is not a result of her individual </li></ul><ul><li>preference for a real self representation, but of the difference in investments </li></ul><ul><li>between consumption and production practices. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>New media consumption can be understood as a self-reflexive </li></ul><ul><li>negotiation between the dual roles of audiences in a particular </li></ul><ul><li>situation </li></ul><ul><li>Counter-intuitive findings: </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube consumption is initiated and sustained by the role as consumer </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic self representation takes precedence over performance in public </li></ul><ul><li>influences from the practice itself and the field override individual tastes or </li></ul><ul><li>preferences contingently </li></ul>
  25. 25. Thank you for your attention! Johnny Jie Gu Ph.D Candidate School of Humanities Australian National University Canberra ACT 0200 [email_address] Lecturer Faculty of Television Communication University of China Beijing 100024 [email_address]
  26. 26. Cited References Livingstone, Sonia. 2002. Introduction. In Handbook of new media: social shaping and consequences of ICTs, edited by L. A. Lievrouw and S. Livingstone. London: Sage. Harries, Dan. 2002. Watching the Internet. In The new media book, edited by D. Harries. London: British Film Institute. Dijck, José Van. 2007. Television 2.0: YouTube and the emergence of homecasting. Paper read at Media In Transition 5, April 27-29, at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bruns, Axel. 2006. Towards produsage: Futures for user-led content production. In Proceedings Cultural Attitudes towards Communication and Technology 2006, edited by F. Sudweeks, H. Hrachovec and C. Ess. Perth: Murdoch University. Giddens, Anthony. 1984. The constitution of society : Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge: Polity. Marshall, P. David. 2004. New media cultures. New York: Oxford University Press. Hall, Stuart. 1980. Encoding/decoding In Culture, media, language: working papers in cultural studies, 1972-79, edited by S. Hall. London: University of Birmingham.
  27. 27. Toffler, Alvin. 1980. The third wave. New York: Morrow. YouTube Blog. 2008 http:// =6&year=2008 . Retrieved by July 5, 2008. Swidler, Ann. 2001. What anchors cultural practices. In The practice turn in contemporary theory, edited by T. R. Schatzki, K. K. Cetina and E. v. Savigny. London: Routledge. Press, Andrea, and Sonia Livingstone. 2006. Taking audience research into the age of new media: Old problems and new challenges. In Questions of method in cultural studies, edited by M. White and J. Schwoch. Victoria: Blackwell. Schatzki, Theodore R. 1996. Social practices: a wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sandvoss, Cornel. 2005. Fans: the mirror of consumption. Oxford: Polity Press.