*Anyone Can Edit*: Understanding the Produser
Dr. Axel Bruns
Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
Wednesday, Oct. 12th, 5-7pm
135 Thayer Street, Room 102
Providence, Rhode Island
Recent decades have seen the dual trend of growing digitization of content, and of increasing availability of sophisticated tools for creating, manipulating, publishing, and disseminating that content. Advertising campaigns openly encourage users to ’Rip. Mix. Burn.’ and to share the fruits of their individual or collaborative efforts with the rest of the world. The Internet has smashed the distribution bottleneck of older media, and the dominance of the traditional producer > publisher > distributor value chain has weakened. Marshall McLuhan’s dictum ’everyone’s a publisher’ is on the verge of becoming a reality * and more to the point, as the Wikipedia proudly proclaims, ’anyone can edit.’
The effect of these changes is not simply more (and more informed) consumption, however * we are not turning into Alvin Toffler’s ’prosumers’: consumers with an almost professional level of knowledge about what they consume, but consumers nonetheless. Instead, the networked and hyper-mediated persona that emerges is a very different beast: users are becoming active producers of content in a variety of open and collaborative envi-ronments. Whether it is as members of the distributed development and testing community for open source software projects, as authors, editors, and fact-checkers for one of the multi-lingual Wikipedia sites, as reporters, commentators, and pundits in open news publications ranging from South Korean citizen news site OhmyNews to tech-nerd haven Slashdot, or as global explorers and annotators for Google Earth, they are no longer producers or consumers, publishers or audiences, but both at the same time. They are not prosumers, but user-producers: produsers.
While born perhaps out of a collaborative, open source ideology, produsing is now increasingly recognized as both a challenge and an opportunity by business and governments alike. So who are these produsers and how will they fare in the light of increasing business and government involvement? As economic interests begin to explore ways to generate revenue from produsage, will they undermine its collaborative foundations, and will they reintroduce a regime of stricter intellectual property licensing? Or can the grassroots movement of produsers effect lasting change in our engagement with content, establishing a solid foothold for creative commons and other alternative IP licensing systems, and developing an equitable approach to relationships between the produser community and commercial partners?
Presented by the Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University.
For more information, please contact Mark Tribe