Shumeng Chen – SID 460224109 Tutorial: Thursday 12-2pm, Fiona Andreallo Word count: 1330 words
As Bruns (2008) argues, the term ‘produser’ is the combination of the words producer and users. From this term, passive consumers have become positive creators and consumers of contents at the same time. It is an ultimate transformation in media filed along with impacts in policy, society and culture aspects. The internet is a two-way medium, where anyone is able to produce, distribute and storage contents. Thus, in the era of Web 2.0, social media is an increasingly growing place for the internet users to participate in it. And this comes to the term ‘produsage’, which users create and lead contents, such as blogs, Wikipedia, tweets etc.
The phenomenon of produsage is becoming increasingly evident in Web 2.0. It reveals the key concept of sharing in Web 2.0 and blurs the boundaries between producers and users. Information is no longer flowing from one certificated producer to one passive consumer. One group is no longer in a dominating position or in opposition to each other. Rather, both producers and users are in mutual relationship and cooperation with each other (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013, P.22).
Wikipedia and WeChat
Hinton and Hjorth (2013) illustrates four specific forms of produsage which not only relate to engage with the online world but also with the society. Wikipedia is a new form of knowledge repository with the function that everyone can create and edit their knowledge and share in this platform to the whole world. It is true that this kind of online knowledge repository is quicker and more convenient both for the editors and the learners. However, the quality and accuracy of knowledge may vary differently compare with the traditional encyclopedias (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013, P.64).
This problem is also occurring in WeChat official account. It is a new social media platform in China which can help individuals to write articles, post pictures and record voices. The slogan of WeChat official account is: even the smallest individuals have their own brands. Through WeChat official account, many people share their knowledge but some are incorrect and may mislead others to some extent. Except for sharing knowledge and personal experience, WeChat official account is as well an open platform to promote business. Our group project wrote articles in this platform to promote Lunchbreak concerts for Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM). This platform provides us a free but effective way to engage more Chinese international students. We can write and share our feelings of the Con and announce the performance dates. Lacking professional contents and pictures are one of the main problems that our platform cannot be promoted as successful as expected.
Citizen journalism and Instagram
The second one is citizen journalism, which refers to when reporting events, users can take an active role to produce contents. Live tweeting is a significant phenomenon in recent years (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013, P.66). It provides an opportunity for the users to transform into journalists when news happened. It is an instant way to report news and even more influential than the traditional newspapers.
Our group uses a new function of Instagram to promote Lunchbreak concerts. Instagram stories is for users to share everyday moments on this platform (but it will disappear after 24 hours). It also allows drawing and texts on the screen.
Screenshot of Instagram stories
Our group used it to broadcast the preparation of the Con. One of our group mates is the reporter and she led followers on the screen to walk around the performance place and introduce the basic condition of the concert. It is quite interesting that we actually become reporters and increase the reality of the report. As we added some funny emoji and texts on the screen, followers like this new form better than post rehearsal videos and pictures on the platform. Additionally, it is also a chance to illustrate the fast transformation of social media. Mobile and computer technology and productions can be replaced so quickly by latest news and people’s topics and interests.
From the crowd sourcing, a large group people can often solve problems that individuals within the crowd cannot (Surowiecki, 2004). An example of crowd sourcing is that when the Malaysia Airline crashed and disappeared in the ocean for a long time. Volunteers all around the world started to search everything floating in the ocean by using pinpoint pictures in the internet.
The last one form is online activism. It is related to democracy in the society according to Hinton and Hjorth (2013, P.71). Meanwhile, it also enables various participative media and let produsers to express their views and ideas in the online environment. Despite the political aspect, online activism can also be applied on cultural production. When posting a picture in Instagram, users can be gotten attention from the official. For example, when posting a picture of an art museum and tag the location. The museum official account may notice and like the user’s photo if this photo is unique.
An example of Museum of Contemporary Art like a private account
Issues and problems
However, there are also two problems existing in recent years. As mentioned before in the Wikipedia part, the reality of knowledge cannot be ensured when some of the producers are amateurs. As the characteristic in Web 2.0 emphases on decentralisation and the corporation among users. The authentic of information is harder for us to distinguish. The internet has a fast speed to spread information, but not as fast as the spread speed to correct information.
Moreover, people’s attitude toward intellectual property is changing. The internet users share everything they want to share via social media platforms. It is a great opportunity to promote activities such as our group reposted and shared some articles from SCM official social media platforms into our event pages and WeChat articles. Additionally, we encourage users to share our contents and win free tickets for other concerts held by SCM. Like our groups, many companies in China are preparing to create or managing a WeChat official account nowadays.
A survey on WeChat Official Accounts coverage in different industries
A survey on types of news published on official accounts
However, this process is sometimes bringing copyright infringement especially in WeChat official account. Some articles in WeChat are copying others’ work and WeChat management team has designed an original award for original writers and removed unauthorised articles.
The term of ‘produsage’ cannot be radically shifted in the coming six months. However, it is shifting and improving every day as in Web 2.0 era, things change so fast. Because of the decentralized production, the intelligent of the whole society may be increased. The communication flow changes from one-way to two-ways and even one to more. This process can let all the users to participate together and allocate different strengthens which finally increase the information and intelligent resource of the whole society.
Furthermore, the process of produsage can stimulate users’ participation interests. Searching functions such as hashtag in social media platform is more likely to help people find their own social group. By using hashtags on Twitter, users are easier to find the information they need. Besides, people who share the same interests will have more opportunity to gather and social together. Also, with hashtags, Twitter becomes untraditional newsroom when breaking news happens. It is accessible for users to search target information in order to form a stronger voice from the public.
It is an era great for the individuals to speak their own voices and promote themselves. It is also an era for organizations to be more influential by using the publics’ voice. Individuals’ participation forms is changing from user generated content (UGC) to user created content (UCC). Just as Hinton and Hjorth (2013, P.75) states, participation reinforces the importance of offline realities in online behaviour. What people post online are mainly the reflection on their real life. Thus, it is also essential for media professionals to pay more attention on real life while creating contents online.
Crowdsourcing volunteers comb satellite photos for Malaysia Airlines jet (2017). Retrieved 21 April 2017, from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/11/us/malaysia-airlines-plane-crowdsourcing-search/
Bruns, A. (2008) Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang.
Hjorth, L., & Hinton, S. (2013). Understanding social media. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE.
Surowiecki, J. (2004). The wisdom of crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies and nations (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday.
Team, C. (2017). 11 Charts to Show How Companies Use Wechat Official Accounts. China Internet Watch. Retrieved 21 April 2017, from https://www.chinainternetwatch.com/9131/wechat-oficial-platform-snapshot/