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CFP: Exploring Produsage - Special Issue of New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia

With my colleague Jan Schmidt from the Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg, I'm delighted to have been approached by the editors of the Taylor & Francis journal New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia to edit a special issue on produsage. Below is the Call for Papers - we welcome any enquiries and submissions. Please spread the word!

Exploring Produsage

A Special Issue of New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia

Call for papers

The concept of produsage points to the shift away from conventional producer/consumer relationships, and highlights the more fluid roles of users and contributors within social media environments. Participants in open source projects, in Wikipedia, in YouTube and Second Life are no longer merely consuming or using preproduced material, but neither are they at all times acting as fully self-determined producers of fully formed new works; rather, they occupy a hybrid position as produsers of content.

Strategies for Engaging with Social Media: Two Reports for the Smart Services CRC

One of my research gigs for 2009 was to investigate the potential of social media for the Smart Services CRC, a cooperative research centre comprised of several Australian universities and industry partners from the media, finance, government, and IT fields. Ostensibly, the goal here was to translate what we know about the principles and processes of produsage into actionable ideas for organisations and businesses which aim to engage with social media communities, and I'm pleased to announce that the two reports produced from this research are now available under Creative Commons licences. (I mentioned the release of Report 1 in a previous posting in June.)

All of this was in recognition of the fact - and to say this is not a dig specifically at the CRC's industry partners, but speaks to an almost industry-wide malaise - that social media and the communities which use them remain very poorly understood by the organisations which attempt to use them, which has led to a great many failures in working with social media. (For mine, the jury is still out on whether even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg actually gets social media.)

Indeed, it seems like these failures are now used by some corporate planners to argue against engaging with user communities altogether - 'social media' has become a dirty word for them, as ReadWriteWeb reports just today. It's unlikely that such a head-in-the-sand strategy is going to be successful in the long (or even the short) term, of course - much as the music industry has found with filesharers, social media communities aren't something you can contain by ignoring them, suing them, or quarantining them from your own content using paywalls or other protection mechanisms.

So, what our two reports for the Smart Services CRC aim to do instead is to provide an accessible, level-headed introduction to social media which draws substantially on produsage theory but tries to present those ideas in as simple and straightforward a manner as possible (without, hopefully, dumbing them down too much). I've even gone as far as avoiding to use the term 'produsage' itself all too much, in order not to scare any overanxious corporate strategists who might be frightened off by their encounter with new ideas...

Produsage and Politics: Another Article in German

Hot on the heels of the new book chapter that I mentioned in my previous post comes another chapter (though technically this one was indeed published in 2009, while the previous one has been pre-dated to 2010 - such are the mysteries of academic publishing). And this chapter is another one of my German-language articles, too, this time on produsage (or Produtzung) and its implications for politics and political organisations - which may also make it a useful companion piece to my recent interview for Polar Magazin.

Soziale Netze in der digitalen WeltThe book, Soziale Netze in der digitalen Welt, edited by Christoph Bieber, Martin Eifert, Thomas Groß, and Jörn Lamla, follows on from a conference in Gießen at which I presented in 2008, but my contribution, "Produtzung: Von medialer zu politischer Partizipation", takes a considerably longer view of potential developments in political participation than the more strongly citizen journalism-focussed paper at the conference itself; it explores similar ideas to my 2008 journal article for Information Polity, in fact.

Prosumer Revisited: From Prosumer to Produtzer

Prosumer Revisited

I'm very happy to announce that my latest article on produsage has now been published, in the (German-language) reader developed from the Prosumer Revisited conference which I attended earlier this year. Obviously, I argue in the book chapter that the 'prosumer' is no longer a useful term to describe the changes in participation and content creation which are occurring today, and the chapter provides a concise overview of produsage, or Produtzung, as an alternative. Probably a little more clearly than I did in my conference presentation itself!

New Reviews of the Produsage Book

I'm delighted to note that three new reviews of my book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage - by Verena Laschinger, Alan Razee, and Erin Stark - have been published over at the Resource Centre for Cybercultural Studies. RCCS editor David Silver kindly also asked me to provide a response to these reviews, which point to a number of further avenues for research into the produsage phenomenon that I hope many of us who work in this field will pursue.

Produsage and Democracy in German(y)

Looking back, my stay at the Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg during May and June this year was exceptionally productive. In addition to the various conferences at which I presented, I also conducted a range of interviews with German media - and the latest of these, for Polar, the voluminous twice-annual magazine for political philosophy and culture, has now been published. I was interviewed for the magazine by Jan Engelmann of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is aligned with the German Greens party.

Here's an extended version of the interview, slightly longer than what was published in Polar. It's in German, of course - try Google Translate for a rough translation to other languages?

"In der Open-Source-Demokratie wartet man keine Einladung ab"

Bloß zuschauen war gestern. Im Web 2.0 entwickeln Leute gemeinsam freie Software, redigieren Texte in Wikipedia oder beraten auf Blogs die Sicherheitslücken von Windows. Könnte diese Beteiligungslust auch der Politik zugute kommen? Ja, wenn man die Philosophie der Netzkulturen ernst nimmt und schrittweise in das institutionelle System integriert, sagt der in Australien arbeitende Medienforscher Axel Bruns in einem E-Mail-Interview mit Jan Engelmann.

Produsage on the Road Again

Conference season is upon us again: I'm shortly flying out to Europe to present a number of produsage-related papers at conferences in England, Austria, and Wales. The first of these is likely to be the most immediately interesting one for readers: at Transforming Audiences in London, I'll be presenting a paper that is more or less an English-language version of my presentation at Prosumer Revisited in March; I'll be critiquing Alvin Toffler's concept of the 'prosumer', and suggesting produsage as a more appropriate replacement that takes into account the very different affordances of today's participatory online technologies. In preparation for the conference, I've now made the Powerpoint available on this site, and all things going well I'll also add the audio of the presentation soon after the conference. the audio is now online, too.

Produsage and Business: Interview in Page Magazine (in German)

Another outcome from my participation in the next09 conference in Hamburg in May this year - an interview with Ilona Koglin for the German design, advertising and media industry magazine Page has now been published, in their August issue. From their story:

Neue Wege

Der Markt ächzt unter der internationalen Finanz- und Wirtschaftkrise. Das ruft nicht nur die Globalisierungs- und Konsumkritiker auf den Plan, sondern scheint auch diejenigen zu bestätigen, die schon seit Jahren neue Gechäftsmodelle à la Crowdsourcing propagieren. Dr. Axel Bruns, der an der Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane zu Smart Services und Social Media forscht, gehört dazu. Er spricht von creative destruction: "Im Untergang von Modellen steckt immer auch die Chance für die Entstehung neuer." Auch wenn keiner genau weiß, welchen Verlauf unser Wirtschaftssystem in den nächsten Jahrzehnten nehmen wird - Bruns glaubt daran, dass Marken und Unternehmen in Zukunft nicht mehr Produkte verkaufen, sonder nur mehr die Plattformen, Tools, Produktionsstätten, Basistechnologien liefern und die Distribution übernehmen. Zukünftig werde die Community die Produkte online entwickeln.

Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond Review in Screen Education

Another very positive review of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond has been published, this time in issue 53 of the quarterly Australian magazine Screen Education. (Full disclaimer: the author, Michael Dezuanni, is a colleague at QUT, though in a different faculty.)

Axel Bruns, Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage

Peter Lang, New York, 2008

At the 2006 ATOM National Media Education conference, Queensland University of Technology's Axel Bruns gave a very well received presentation called Teaching the Produsers: Preparing students for User-Led Content Production, which can still be accessed in digital form on his blog at <>. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the presentation that Bruns' new book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, provides an excellent theorisation of what is increasingly being referred to as participatory culture - the cultures and affordances of Web 2.0 that allow individuals to be producers as well as users of media content.

Peer Governance in Wikipedia (in Spite of the Experts)

There's a nice series by Vasilis Kostakis on peer governance in Wikipedia over at the P2P Foundation blog at the moment, starting with a double interview with P2P Foundation founder Michel Bauwens and me. Parts two and three are here and here.

Much of this focusses on the interminable debate between 'inclusionists' and 'deletionists'. For the most part, I love Paul Hartzog's statement that they "strike me as if they were two rival groups of musicians, sneering at and insulting one another, while they pluck at their lyres as Wikipedia burns down all around them" - yes, the debate really couldn't matter much less, but at the same time I also really don't see much evidence of Rome/Wikipedia burning. Certainly compared to, say, Encarta...


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