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Produsage: Presentations

Produsage and Beyond: Exploring the Pro-Am Interface (JMRC 2009)

Axel Bruns. "Produsage and Beyond: Exploring the Pro-Am Interface." Invited seminar at the Journalism & Media Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 Oct. 2009.

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.

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!

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.

Citizen Journalism and Everyday Life: A Case Study of Germany's (Future of Journalism 2009)

Axel Bruns. "Citizen Journalism and Everyday Life: A Case Study of Germany's" Paper presented at Future of Journalism, Cardiff, 9-10 Sep. 2009.

Much recent research into citizen journalism has focussed on its role in political debate and deliberation, especially in the context of recent general elections in the United States and elsewhere. Such research examines important questions about citizen participation in democratic processes - however, it perhaps places undue focus on only one area of journalistic coverage, and presents a challenge which only a small number of citizen journalism projects can realistically hope to meet.

A greater opportunity for broad-based citizen involvement in journalistic activities may lie outside of politics, in the coverage of everyday community life. A leading exponent of this approach is the German-based citizen journalism Website, which provides a nationwide platform for participants to contribute reports about events in their community. myHeimat takes a hyperlocal approach but also allows for content aggregation on specific topics across multiple local communities; Hannover-based newspaper publishing house Madsack has recently acquired a stake in the project.

myHeimat has been particularly successful in a number of rural and regional areas where strong offline community ties already exist; in several of its most active regions, myHeimat and its commercial partners now also produce monthly print magazines republishing the best of the user-generated content by local contributors, which are distributed to households free of charge or included as inserts in local newspapers. Additionally, the myHeimat publishing platform has also been utilised as the basis for a new 'participatory newspaper' project, independently of the myHeimat Website: since mid-September 2008, the Gießener Zeitung has been published as both a twice-weekly newspaper and a continuously updated news site which draws on both staff and citizen journalist contributors.

Drawing on extensive interviews with myHeimat CEO Martin Huber and Madsack newspaper editors Peter Taubald and Clemens Wlokas during October 2008, this paper analyses the myHeimat project and examines its applicability beyond rural and regional areas in Germany; it investigates the question of what role citizen journalism may play beyond the political realm.

Citizen Consultation from Above and Below: The Australian Perspective (EDEM 2009)

Axel Bruns and Jason Wilson. "Citizen Consultation from Above and Below: The Australian Perspective." Paper presented at EDEM 2009, Vienna, 7-8 Sep. 2009.

In Australia, a range of Federal Government services have been provided online for some time, but direct, online citizen consultation and involvement in processes of governance is relatively new. Moves towards more extensive citizen involvement in legislative processes are now being driven in a "top-down" fashion by government agencies, or in a "bottom-up" manner by individuals and third-sector organisations. This chapter focusses on one example from each of these categories, as well as discussing the presence of individual politicians in online social networking spaces. It argues that only a combination of these approaches can achieve effective consultation between citizens and policymakers. Existing at a remove from government sites and the frameworks for public communication which govern them, bottom-up consultation tools may provide a better chance for functioning, self-organising user communities to emerge, but they are also more easily ignored by governments not directly involved in their running. Top-down consultation tools, on the other hand, may seem to provide a more direct line of communication to relevant government officials, but for that reason are also more likely to be swamped by users who wish simply to register their dissent rather than engage in discussion. The challenge for governments, politicians, and user communities alike is to develop spaces in which productive and undisrupted exchanges between citizens and policymakers can take place.

From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation (Transforming Audiences 2009)

Axel Bruns. "From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation." Paper presented at Transforming Audiences, London, 3-4 Sep. 2009.

Alvin Toffler's image of the prosumer (1970, 1980, 1990) continues to influence in a significant way our understanding of the user-led, collaborative processes of content creation which are today labelled "social media" or "Web 2.0". A closer look at Toffler's own description of his prosumer model reveals, however, that it remains firmly grounded in the mass media age: the prosumer is clearly not the self-motivated creative originator and developer of new content which can today be observed in projects ranging from open source software through Wikipedia to Second Life, but simply a particularly well-informed, and therefore both particularly critical and particularly active, consumer. The highly specialised, high end consumers which exist in areas such as hi-fi or car culture are far more representative of the ideal prosumer than the participants in non-commercial (or as yet non-commercial) collaborative projects. And to expect Toffler's 1970s model of the prosumer to describe these 21st-century phenomena was always an unrealistic expectation, of course.

User Generated Content als Qualitätsmedium? Alternative Anreize für Qualitätscontent (Alcatel-Lucent 2009)

Axel Bruns. "User Generated Content als Qualitätsmedium? Alternative Anreize für Qualitätscontent." Paper presented at Alcatel-Lucent Foundation conference "Finanzierung von Qualitätscontent", Hamburg, 9 June 2009.

Angetrieben und unterstützt durch Web-2.0-Technologien, gibt es heute einen Trend zur Verbindung der Nutzung und Produktion von Inhalten als Produtzung (engl. produsage). Um dabei die Qualität der erstellten Inhalte und eine nachhaltige Teilnahme der Nutzer sicherzustellen, müsen vier grundlegende Prinzipien eingehalten werden:

Produsage (and Business) in HD

The next09 conference last week was very interesting (but, at one and a half days, too short!), and very well organised - one of the benefits of a PR company organising a research/industry conference, I guess. A particularly welcome addition was the participation of German video sharing platform Sevenload , who are now also beginning to post videos of presentations and interviews during the conference. For the full stream, check out Sevenload's next09 channel (or search for 'next09') - but feel free to skip right over Andrew Keen's rant...

Blogging from next09

Readers of the blog - you might be interested to know that over the next couple of days I'm liveblogging from the next09 conference - a major media and creative industries conference in Germany. I'm also presenting some early results from my research in the Smart Services CRC here tomorrow, under the title "Produsage and Business". Tune in - we've just started with a keynote by Jeff Jarvis!

'Produsage and Business: Sharing Your Brand with Users (next09, 2009)

Axel Bruns. "Produsage and Business: Sharing Your Brand with Users." Paper presented at next09, Hamburg, 6 May 2009.

Relations between brands and their users continue to be affected by a traditional perspective that sees the producers and consumers of goods and services as inherently different animals. In the emerging information and knowledge economy, and especially in online contexts, this model is no longer sustainable. Instead, spearheaded by the Web 2.0 phenomenon, there is a trend towards the fusing of production and usage as a new, hybrid process of produsage.


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