Are we all producers now?


The rise of digital media, especially the Web 2.0 environment, has profoundly changed people’s daily interaction with today’s media (Nightingale and Dwyer, 2007). This article explains how today’s web users have switched from viewers to participants, lists some of the principal ways in which people interact with the media today, and analyses advantages and disadvantages of it.

What is Web2.0

Web2.0 is a new era relative to Web 1.0. It refers to a web-based platform, a user-driven content-based internet product model to distinguish traditional website employee-driven content from the second-generation Internet (Baidubaike, 2018). Web 2.0 is the current state of online technology because it has higher user interaction and collaboration, more general network connectivity and enhanced communication channels than the early stages of the Web.

The word “Web 2.0” has become apparent recently. Google has more than 9.5 million citations. But there is still a disagreement about what Web 2.0 means. Some people interpret it as a meaningless marketing buzzword, while others think it is the new traditional wisdom.




Futurist Alvin Toffler proposed the concept of prosumer in 1971. He believes that the transformation of passive consumers into active ones is a “fundamental change”. This change makes “Consumers are increasingly involved in the production process, and the boundaries between consumers and producers are becoming increasingly blurred” (Bennett, 2003). Axel Bruns, an associate professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, believes that the emerging user-driven environment cannot be described with traditional languages. Therefore, he suggests that using “produsage” instead of “produsage” to give it a new meaning (Snurb, 2009). He believes that user-directed content creation takes place in a variety of network environments, such as Wikipedia, open source software, and blogosphere.

Recently, fans have moved to centre stage in audience studies, and rise with digital interactivity (Jenkins, 1992). As defined by Burns (2006), fans can not only communicate with their media but also participate in the creation of digital content. Furthermore, fans are playing their strength to against the power of media producers. Jenkins (2007) argues that as fans gather in larger communities, gather their messages, shape their opinions and form greater self-awareness on their common interests, emerging culture is forming. Media producers are even forced to modify their products according to the requests of fans. In other words, audiences are no longer passive but active users, which challenge traditional media gatekeepers (Bruns, 2006). As Gross (2009) writes, Internet media makes audience-generated communication a reality and gives citizens the opportunity to join as producers rather than just consumers. Jenkins (2006) uses the term ‘manufacturer’ to represent the integration of producers and consumers in an interactive environment that has been widely accepted as a brand new way of viewing the media viewers.

Citizen journalismuser generated content

Citizen journalism refers to members of the public who use the Internet to disseminate information to spread news events. Citizen News can be a simple report of facts and news that are largely ignored by large media companies (Tochopedia, 2018). It is easy to spread through personal websites, blogs, Weibo, social media, etc. Some types of citizen also act as a check on the reporting of larger news outlets by providing alternative analysis.

The development of new media and its dissemination of science and technology have enabled more and more citizens to participate in the news production process. The “citizen news” has become an important force that cannot be ignored in the current dissemination of news. When the news happened, someone needs to tell a compelling real story. This practice is not necessarily limited to an elite group of professionals known as “reporters,” but the people who try it must tell wonderful stories and share knowledge (Lipschultz, 2018). In the book “We the media,” Gimmer (2011) believes that readers can also become newsmakers. News will no longer be a “broadcast” process by the media, but will increasingly become a “webcast” process in which journalists, newsmakers and readers interact with each other.

For instance, at the Rio Olympic Games, “citizen reporters” used digital cameras or mobile phones to record sports events seen by individuals at the earliest time, and timely updated the progress of sports events through Weibo, WeChat, and forums. The situation conveys a variety of sports events and instantly expresses one’s feelings and comments to share with the people. However, its professionalism and seriousness have yet to be examined, and even the “pan-entertainment” phenomenon of citizen sports news reports has emerged. Citizen News has fundamentally overturned the industrial news model and used its users as reporters and commentators. As the Blogger Dan Gilmore (2018) said, the citizen journalism is more like a conversation than a lecture in the discussion.

However, it poses a threat to journalistic ethical issues. There has been a contest between journalism professionalism and freedom pluralism. The development of network information technology has enabled people to have the right to produce and publish information content independently. People can individually edit and release new information on any network platform by their interests and judgments on the value of news. Due to the lack of corresponding self-discipline and professional qualities of “citizen reporters”, there have been a large number of news failures.

捕获2Video: Citizen Journalism: Adcantages & Disadvantages


Blogging and micro blogging

One of the most popular features of the Web 2.0 era was the rise of blogs. Independent blogs can attract large audiences. Commercial websites such as the Huffington Post have been launched and have become successful challengers for traditional media (Lipschultz, 2018).

The appearance of Weibo is considered to be the Chinese media phenomenon of 2010 and 2011(Zhang & Negro, 2018). “Weibo” means micro blog in Chinese.  This platform is considered as the Twitter of China. Differing from the traditional blog, Weibo has allowed more Internet users to participate in the media. Micro blog’s content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregate file size, which means users are not required as strictly as traditional blogs. For the silent majority, Weibo is an open platform where everyone can form their views within 140 characters of text. One of the roles of Weibo in journalism is fostering civic engagement to achieve just outcomes. For example, the unequal treatment suffered by citizens will be widely discussed on the Internet, and thus these problems were solved under the pressure of public opinionwhich is the result of citizen’s participation on the Internet.



Weibo as both a news medium and a public-opinion mediumthe risk is that the information may be blurred by uncensored information. Since anyone can create a fake account without being traced, anyone can easily bully on the Internet. Threats, intimidation information and rumors may be transmitted to the public and causing social discomfort and confusion. Also, it may be hard for people to decide what to believe. As citizen journalists are authors and editors of their stories, they can record and write anything and then present it as a fact. Thus, their words of these events may be influenced by their feelings and opinions, which mean that citizen media should be inspected and re-examined for accuracy to produce real news.


By the statement above, it is apparent that today’s Internet users are not just viewers, but also participants and producers. Web2.0 has changed the way we engage on the Internet today. Internet users can access information actively on the Internet, interact with others, create content or leave a comment. People’s interaction with the new media is more frequent and more flexible. Nevertheless, this rapid progress has also created many problems, which have had some negative impact on society, such as adverse social opinion and distorted reporting. Therefore, regulating the network by certain approaches and preventing the recurrences of such issues are worth further discussion in the future.


Baidubaike. (2018). What is Web2.0. Retrieved 21 April, 2018 from        https://baike.baidu.com/item/web2.0/97695?fr=aladdin

Bennett, W. L. (2003) ‘New media power: the Internet and global activism’, in Contesting     Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World, eds N. Couldry & J. Curran, New   York, Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 173.

Bird, S. E. (2011). Are we all produsers now? Convergence and media audience practices.  Cultural Studies, 25(45), pp.502-516.

Bruns, A. (2006). Towards Produsage: Futures for User-Led Content Production. Retrieved 5 April, 2018 from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/4863/1/4863_1.pdf

Gimmer. D. (2011). We the media. Retrieved 21 April, 2018 from http://www.authorama.com/we-the-media-1.html

Gillmor, D. Foreword. (2018). We Media: How Audiences Are Shaping the Future of News and Information. Retrieved 21 April, 2018 from http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/ download/we_media.pdf

Gross, L. (2009) ‘My media studies: cultivation to participation’, Television and New Media, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 66-68.

Jenkins, H. (1992) Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, New York, Routledge.

Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide, New York and London, New York University Press.

Jenkins, H. (2007) ‘‘Afterword: the future of fandom’, in Fandom, eds J. Gray, C. Sandvoss & C. L. Harrington, New York, New York University Press, pp. 357-364.

Lipschultz, J. H. (2018). Social Media in Journalism. In Social media communication concepts, practices, data, law and ethics (2nd ed., pp. 82–109). New York, New York ; London, [England] : Routledge

Nightingale, V. & Dwyer, T. eds, (2007) New Media Worlds: Challenges for Convergence, Melbourne, Australia, Oxford University Press.

Snurb.T.(2009). From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding user-led content creation. Retrieved 21 April, 2018 from http://eleven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-066-the-future-is-user-led-the-path-towards-widespread-produsage

Tochopedia. (2018). Definition-What does Citizen Journalism mean? Retrieved 21 April, 2018 from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/2386/citizen-journalism

Zhan Zhang and Negro.G. (2018). Weibo in China: Understanding its development through communication analysis and cultural studies. Retrieved 22 April, 2018 from https://search.informit.com.au/fullText;dn=533304086986808;res=IELHSS


5 thoughts on “Are we all producers now?

  1. Hello, Shelley. I agree with your opinion that Web2.0 has change a lot to our life. Because of Web2.0 and social media, Producage appeared with new connotations. The Citizen Journalist is the product of Web2.0 and Social Media. These concepts you have mentioned in your article are related with each other.

    Weibo is the largest entertainment social media in China. In the third quarter of 2017, Weibo’s revenue reached US$320.0 million, with year-on-year growth of 80.9%, which was better than market expectations. Advertising revenue reached 276.8 million U.S. dollars, with year-on-year increase of 76.7%. The number of active users reached 376 million per month. The data illustrates that Weibo is an active platform used by citizen journalists in China. Netizens can use Weibo to obtain real-time information. At the same time, they can publish news events, share their stories and protect rights on Weibo which is a kind of Producage.

    As you said, Social Media and Producage have also created many problems and have had some negative impact on society. Network supervision is necessary. However, how to balance supervision and freedom is an essential problem. The controversial China’s Social Credit System will be created in 2020. It requires a complete and fair system to do a better balance between netizens and supervisors.

    Daily, Investor’s Business (13 February 2018). “Weibo Earnings, Revenue Top; Parent Sina Reports Strong Top-Line Growth | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis – IBD”. Investor’s Business Daily.


  2. In this article, the author introduced us in detail, what is web2.0, and used Weibo as an example to describe in detail how the development of web2.0 has brought changes to our lives. I have obtained a lot of useful information in this article.
    First, the author stated that WEB 2.0 is a user-centric Internet. Words are power, and this is the power behind Web 2.0. The essential change brought about by web 2.0 is that grassroots groups can make their voices and thus gain greater power on the Internet and even in the real world. A large group user would not bring in revenue for the company, but the Internet platform will gain a strong power through these users, even powerful enough to subvert a regime (such as the famous case “Watergate scandal”). This right has very great value.
    At the same time, the author also proposed some negative influences caused by web 2.0. For example, the information may be blurred. Due to the citizen journalism means the news could be posted by anyone, the unedited news may easily disturb the public’s sight, and the truth may be eliminated. Compared with the mainstream media, the citizen journalism has its advantages. However, it is at a disadvantage in terms of sources of information, verification of evidence, and legal protection. Moreover, how to establish the public credibility of citizen journalism is another big problem. For citizen journalism, which is still in the stage of development, it still needs time to improve.


  3. Beryl Leung
    Instructor: Rachael Bolton

    Thank you for your article. The blog title: are we all producers now? has drawn my attention to think without doubt audiences can all be a producer nowadays, but the book Spreadable Media highlighted a key point we have to bear in mind: on the off chance that all would speak who might be left to tune in (Jenkins, Ford& Green 2013).

    In the book, it mentioned five important points, Lurking vs Peripheral Participation; Resistance vs. Participation; Audience vs. Public; Participation vs. Collaboration and Hearing vs. Listening. Other than you have mentioned some ethical issues occurred of being a produser in this blog, I want to show a case study to discuss the role of audience in social media which highlights those five points.

    Live-tweeting can be seen as watchers post comments around an event or TV program by and large made by a hashtag on Twitter consistently with various watchers while the program or event is happening (Hawthorn, Houston &McKinney 2013) and two screen review can be said as a correspondence change that audiences discuss certain TV programs from very close at a shared region while seeing the TV shows or partake in a later discourse inside acquaintanceship moved to use tablet or laptop as a minute screen to talk with institutions, family, or even strangers on the web while seeing at the TV program (Johns, 2012, p. 333).

    My Kitchen Rules on Twitter demonstrates live-tweeting and two screen viewing to incorporate ‘brand discussion’ by posting tweets in the midst of the program to fabricate social collaborations on one screen seeing the TV and on second screen to make judgments and express the assessments to interface with a world. We can see that participatory culture is not just about making and exchanging their own particular contents on YouTube, it moreover about watching the show and commenting the show substance and quality, meanwhile My Kitchen Rules would tune in to their social event of individuals.


    Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture (Chapter 4: What constitutes meaningful participation? pp.153-194). New York & London: NYU Press.

    Exploring the invisible backchannel of TV viewing, 333-343


  4. Personally, I like this article, right from the questioning title. It introduced web 2.0 and how it been used with Weibo. My assignment is also using Weibo as a typical Chinese social media platform, so it was very interesting to see different points about the same platform. There is no doubt that web2.0 has brought so many changes in people’s live, and online users, definitely can be not only viewers but producers to create everything they want.
    At the end of 2017, Weibo has 392 million of monthly active users and 172 million daily active users according to CIW, it means around 400 million citizen journalists observing and/or reporting their lives, can you believe that? However, it has consequences with so many fans on Weibo, celebrities buying more explosions to attract more opportunities, marketing accounts buying more fans to improve their product sells regardless the quality of their products. I believe that the development of web 2.0 would lead the world to a new stage, but I do think at the same time, the regulations and supervisions should be perfect and a fair system should be set up to protect rights on Weibo and its users.

    T., & CIW Team. (2018, March 18). Weibo’s monthly active users reached 392 million in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.chinainternetwatch.com/23574/weibo-q4-2017/


  5. (Yanqi Ding 460256410)
    Hi Shelley, thank you for your article. Generally, I think you did a good job. At the age of Web 2.0, the role of audience has been changed. You explain the concept “produsage” clearly with adequate supports and evidence. Actually, at the age of Web 2.0, which is an age that everything is media, audience is not only accept the information. The development of technology, the changes of ideology encourage people generate content. I trust your idea. However, I also have some different ideas (or questions) about your work. Firstly, we do have the ability to generate the content on social media, but I do not think we replace conventional producers such as TV station. According to Bird, she indicated that if we think about choice or access to time and resources of content producing, there will be quite different, the majority people are not producers (2011). Secondly, we become active audiences and generate some contents, I think it is only on several aspects. There are also many other forms of media practices belong to traditional producers. Also, sometimes we may over emphasize the influence of audiences in produce activity and ignore the influence of traditional producers. The increasing of the ability of producing of audience does not means that traditional media does not work. The title of your article is asking if we are producers now. In my opinion, the power of the audience is not enough for producers. Prod-users may be more suitable.

    Bird, S. E. (2011). Are we all produsers now? Convergence and media audience practices. Cultural studies, 25(4-5), 502-516.


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