First off, as this is the last blog of the course, I figure I will start this off slightly differently than normal. Through this course, we have been exposed to a variety of media sources and posting techniques, coaxing us into this relatively new online world. Although prior to the course I was would have already considered myself as “New Media Literate” in that I am well aware of popular social media outlets, and an avid user of sites on its forefront such as “reddit”, I enjoyed the readings presented and was interested to see alternative views on many current subjects regarding this quickly expanding industry. The variety in which we presented our own work was also refreshing compared to the usual reports and PowerPoint presentations I have grown accustom to as a fourth year business student. However, transitioning into our first discussion question, I still do not feel more inclined to become a “produser”. I think the following point in Bird, S. E’s paper is extremely relevant to this:
“Van Dijck (2009 ) cites an ‘an emerging rule of thumb’ that suggests only one in a hundred people will be active online content producers, with 10 ‘interacting’ by commenting, and the remaining 89 simply viewing.”
I believe this statement fairly accurately describes the current situation in regards to “produsers” in social media. As I discussed in my previous blog the vast majority of people that are apart of the online community are not producing their own content. The majority of the population simply views this content made by “produsers”, potentially interacting with a comment, without generating any major content of their own. They either have nothing to contribute to whatever topic they have an interest in, or simply do not have the desire to put the effort into generating and distributing their own content. This is the area in which I fall in. At the end of the day, I really have no desire to make the effort required in order to generate my own content and produce a blog for leisure. Despite the experience the course has given me, as well as my own personal knowledge of new media I possessed prior to the course, I still would rather leave the responsibilities of being a “produser” to someone else.
Nevertheless, I do feel that the online environment that we in this class have had a chance to participate in truly does nurture the “produser” in all of us. As said by Jonathan Sterne in his article “What if Interactivity is the New Passivity?”:
“Contemporary media beg for and sometimes demand active participation. They ask their users to intertwine them with as many parts of their lives as possible. It is not just so-called social media (a misnomer if there ever was one—since all media are by definition social). Magazines and newspapers implore us to write back and explore on multiple platforms. TV shows ask us to go online and participate in discussions and games, books get their own Facebook pages where readers are asked to “like” them, software companies put together “street teams” of users willing to promote them in a manner analogous to what concert promoters used to do.”
This demand for “active participation” is no doubt increasing the number of “produsers” in the online community. The requirements for creating your own content are also so low right now. Another quote, again taken from Jonathan Sterne’s article states:
“A mobile phone and a little know-how gets you access to a potential world of auditors.”
This is no exaggeration. The barriers to entry of becoming a “produser” in a first-world environment are extremely low. Everyone with a smart phone has the tools they need in order to produce and distribute their own content. Even a phone plan is not truly necessary anymore with most Starbucks and McDonald’s locations offering free Wi-Fi internet. Generally the only barriers stopping people from becoming “produsers” is their own free-will.
As far as intimations of deprival I have regarding the “produsage” that potentially looms before us, I believe that the positive aspects this new age brings heavily outweigh the negative aspects. As Bird, S. E. said in here paper:
“New media practices have helped citizens breakthrough repressive government controls, first in Myanmar, Iran and China, and most recently in Egypt and across the Middle East, bringing stories and images that professional journalists could not obtain. And they have facilitated Instant mobilization of donations to Haitian earthquake relief and a range of political causes.”
These are just some of the many positives that the beginning of the “produsage” has created. Yes, there are some hurdles that we still are going to have to overcome as the environment advances, but I see no reason why these cannot be conquered with ease. The opportunities presented through this new age are boundless, and I believe we have only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as the changes to society it will make.