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Class 8: Content and the Produser

November 22, 2018

One of the links to the reading material for the week was broken so John gave the class some time to catch up before getting into the discussion around content creation and the concept of ‘produsage’ proposed by Prof Axel Bruns.

We spoke of the changes brought about by the migration from the print medium to digital. One of the principal outcomes is the shift from mediated content, where ‘gatekeepers’ such as newspaper editors, publishers and so on, commissioned and controlled the flow of information to the public. Digital media has eliminated this necessity – authors are now free to connect directly with their readers and viewers through blogs, YouTube and even sites like Wikipedia where the public is invited to edit contributions. As a result, consumers of news and information are required to be their own editors. We need to be more discriminating in our consumption, unable to rely on the frame of reference that was previously provided by knowing the perspective of the newspaper we read, for instance.

Bruns’ proposal is that the web has facilitated the rise of new types of collaborative communities that require a new word to describe their activities:

Produsers engage not in a traditional form of content production, but are instead involved in produsage – the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement. –produsage.org

John suggested that your own blogs are another example of content creation. The ubiquity of the internet supports the niche interests in a way that mass media publishing never could. The extremely low cost base means that anyone with access to the web can share their interest with like-minded individuals and develop a community.

Finally, I referred to the question of value. Does all content have value? How can content developers monetise their material? How can you protect it? For more on copyright read the post from this time last year A Word about copyright.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: the short story The Ones who walk away from Omelas by Ursula K Le Guin, 1973 [accessed on 24/11/18].

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