The term ‘produsage’ describes the process of online participants collaborating in the development and improvement of content in the realm of Web 2.0. User generated content creates an inextricable link between using and producing – resulting in “permanently mutable bodies of work which are owned at once by everyone and no-one” (Bruns, 2011).
Produsage is enabled by mobilisation and dissemination of information. Mobilisation is about exchange time – rapid mobilisation resulting in real time information. For example, Pandora Radio has mobilised traditional broadcast radio, leading to a generation of media consumers experiencing music in more cost effective and accessible ways. Dissemination is the process of providing something widely. Pandora radio has altered how music is disseminated, occurring now across non-traditional platforms, i.e. Web 2.0. The interaction of these two components means listeners have more autonomy in creating their own music experience, in comparison to traditional forms of radio.
Produsage is characterised by an organisational shift from individual to communal, made possible due to the minimal barriers of web 2.0. Extensive participatory input from as many users as possible acts as a catalyst for this shift. For example, citizen journalism and citizen engagement in political processes both rely on communal involvement to evolve.
A fluid heterarchy is also necessary for produsage to flourish. This means more flexible movement between roles, use, experience and skills, making it easier to consume while producing. For example, while using Pandora, consumption occurs as users explore the technology and listen to the music, and produce as they cater playlists to personal preferences by providing feedback.
The idea of an unfinished, continuing process is also a characteristic of produsage. Due to the open nature of the participatory environment, the process of achieving goals can be unspecific. This means that any current state is only temporary – development is in indefinite.
The last component is that of common property/individual reward. User-generated content is generally more reliant on merit than ownership, hence Pandora’s employment of a copyright system which acknowledges authorship and prohibits unauthorised commercial use. This is done through its advertising and subscription elements, allowing the company to continue collaboration without risking the existing content.
References Bruns, A 2011 ‘Produsage: a closer look at continuing developments’, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, vol. 7, no. 1 pp. 3-7