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Revisiting Produsage

Things have been quiet on this site as I’ve been busy with other work, related only loosely to the idea of produsage,  but I’m currently at a PhD symposium in Copenhagen where I’ve been invited to present an update on my work on produsage. Here, I’ve revisited the fundamental concept of produsage and made the link to my current work on the uses of social media, especially in a journalistic context. Slides and audio below:

Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards: Call for Expressions of Interest

I’m afraid this blog is going through a slow period again as I catch up with a backlog of work. I did want to pass on some information on this exciting postdoc opportunity in Media & Communication at Queensland University of Technology, though: we’ve recently been ranked as the leading media research institution in Australia (“well above world standard”), and we’re now calling for expressions of interest from researchers who are interested in joining our team under the new Discovery Early Career Researcher Award scheme.

More information, and details for the key QUT people to contact, below. On a personal note – I’d be especially interested in postdoc researchers looking to explore aspects of produsage, social media, and online journalism, and I’d be happy to chat to you informally about a potential application before you contact my QUT colleagues.

Call for PhD Applications: ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation

It’s that time of the year again: my research centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI), is calling for applications from prospective PhD students (and while this call focusses on PhDs, Masters and Honours applications are also due around the same time…). Undertaking your PhD at the CCI means you will be working with world class researchers who can offer supervision of the highest standards. Our research activities cover a broad range of emerging issues, themes and projects across the entertainment and creative industries including innovation and policy development; significant project collaborations with Asia; a major project looking at broadband services; mapping the creative industries; IP law; a global cultural futures study and other projects which engage community and industry partners in creative industries from major film studios to the Salvation Army and ‘at-risk’ young people working as media co-creators. visit the CCI Projects Page at to find out more about the Centre’s activities. There are a broad range of research opportunities available across the CCI’s member organisations in Australia, and I encourage you to have a look at the Website for the full details – application deadlines vary from university to university. Successful PhD projects would start in early 2011.

For applications to my university – Queensland University of Technology, based in Brisbane, Australia –, the relevant application deadlines are 30 September 2010 for international students, and 15 Oct. 2010 for domestic students.

Overall, I am interested in PhD applications from anyone with a research interest in the broad areas of produsage, Web 2.0, and social media, either in general or with a specific focus on fields and technologies including blogs, citizen journalism, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, social network analysis, government 2.0, or related themes. If any of those themes are of interest to you, please get in touch.

In addition to these broader themes, we’re also calling specifically for expressions of interest for a number of concrete research projects. In my own case, these are related to our research into mapping Australian online publics which will examine interactions across blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr, which we’re undertaking as part of an ARC Discovery project, and to our work researching our changing media ecologies. For these projects, we’re particularly interested in expressions of interest from potential students who operate in the following areas:

More Travel Coming Up: EDEM 2010

(Crossposted from

In a few days' time, I'll head off to Europe again, to present at this year's Conference on e-Democracy (EDEM 2010). I really enjoyed the 2009 edition (see the coverage on, and it's hard to believe a whole year has passed already - probably because it hasn't: EDEM 2009 was held in September...

Still, that's not stopped us from developing some new ideas on how to further the 'government 2.0' push which aims to utilise Web 2.0 technologies, social media models, and produsage processes in order to create better engagement and participation between governments and citizens. This year, I'm building on my observations with Jason Wilson about top-down and bottom-up forms of engagement, presented at EDEM 2009, to suggest (in a paper co-authored with Adam Swift) that neither the common government-to-citizen (g2c) nor citizen-to-citizen (c2c) initiatives in the government 2.0 space quite manage to find the right balance, and that we may need to explore the possibility for new, hybrid models in between these poles: we outline what we've called a g4c2c model in which government provides explicit support for, and gets involved in, citizen-to-citizen activities.

Wikipedia: Some Thoughts on Inclusionists vs. Deletionists

One of the major sites of produsage which I examined in Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond was Wikipedia, of course. I continue to think that relative to its major impact on how we deal with information, Wikipedia remains curiously underresearched - especially so if you consider the vast number of individual language-specific Wikipedias which exist today. That's not to belittle the work that has been done - but for a site which sits alongside Google, Facebook, and only a handful of others in a very rarefied category of real gamechangers, we simply haven't seen the amount of scholarly publications about it that we should rightfully expect to see.

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.

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.

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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