4 minute read

Yesterday’s keynote was from Henry Jenkins, entitled “The Moral Economy of Web 2.0: Reconsidering the Relations Between Producers and Consumers.” I’m posting my notes below the fold; anything goofy therein should be attributed to flaws in the notetaker rather than the talk.

  • Kevin O’Reilly’s statement about web 2.0: “network effects from user contributions are they key to market dominance in the web 2.0 era” - bravado in sense of “harnessing collective intelligence”
  • shouldn’t exaggerate corporate power in web 2.0
  • joke: Please describe web 2.0 to me in two sentences or less. “You make all the content. They keep all the revenue.”
  • confusion of pronoun in media representations of web 2.0 (like Time’s “you” as person of the year): “you” = both singular and plural
  • collaborative meeting place of multiple subcultures in one shared platform
  • talking about web 2.0 as being so revolutionary erases history of older modes of participatory culture: fandom
  • fan cultures now central to calculations of media companies; many companies now act like they invented this participation
  • unstable truce between production companies and fan fiction authors
  • FANlib - web 2.0 company - saw a market in fan fiction; but knew almost nothing about fan fiction: fan fic writers are 90% female; execs all male; hamfisted ad campaign
  • “managed and moderated to the max” - finessed and managed
  • but fan fiction was “unpublishable” in the best possible sense
  • fan culture began asking critical questions about FANlib system: is this a trap? why do we need to be corporately managed? why should this company make money off of our labor?
  • conflict between gift economy and commodity culture
  • key ideas behind convergence culture:
    • “Convergence is a cultural rather than a technological process. We now live in a world where every story, image, sound, idea, brand, and relationship will play itself out across all possible media platforms.”
    • (convergence is not about device; instead about transmedia entertainment)
    • “In a networked society, people are increasingly forming knowledge communities to pool information and work together to solve problems they could not confront individually. We call that collective intelligence.”
    • “We are seeing the emergence of a new form of participatory culture (a contemporary version of folk culture) as consumers take media in their own hands, reworking its content to serve their personal and collective interests.”
  • an example of participatory culture: a slide of his own ideas about participatory culture that he found online
  • low barriers for engagement, spring support for sharing creations with others; informal mentorship; members believe their contributions matter; care about others’ opinions of self and work; “Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be highly valued.”
  • benkler on hybrid media ecologies - secondlife as different groups using same participatory spaces, breaking down boundaries between communities?
  • major struggles now: net neutrality debate
  • new work on civic media and civic engagement
  • in this world, shift in what it means to be a consumer (“the group formerly known as the audience”) - spreadable media rather than sticky media
  • words starting to be used to talk about new audience modes: loyals, produsers, media-actives, etc
  • Grant McCracken: “multiplier” - participates in construction of brand; company depends on them to complete the work
  • mashups of Apple ads make fun of the ads, but still remind us of them
  • Axel Bruns: produsage - more fluid roles between consumption and production, collaborative and critical
  • pyramids of participation; power law
  • older modes of participatory culture had very strong models for pulling newbies into the community, allowing them to become more active participants; newer modes rely on a small number of active participants and a large number of less active folks
  • browncoats and serenity: studio used fans to help market film; after film left theater, studio sent fans invoice for their use of images; browncoats responded with an invoice for $2 million for their marketing labor
  • new consumers are migratory, with a declining loyalty to particular networks or media
  • new consumers are more socially connected
  • new consumers are noisy and active (live remake of burly brawl)
  • new consumers are resistant, taking media in their own hands (HP Alliance - transforming Harry Potter fandom into political platform)
  • from world of impressions (brands imprinted on us) to world of expressions
  • from intellectual property to emotional capital (what we invest in texts, what we make of them)
  • “lead users” - Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation; early adopters adapt products to their own desires
  • consumer curating - fans driving re-release of older media
  • “wizard rock” - Harry Potter music
  • independent artists using web 2.0 to drive distribution of their work
  • Mark Deuze, MediaWork
  • range of positions in companies, from prohibitionist (trying to shut down participatory uses of company’s material) to collaborationist (seeing value in such participation)
  • moral economy - on the one hand, free labor
  • on the other hand, panic of people like Andrew Keen (cult of amateur)
  • poster boy for power of participatory culture: Stephen Colbert - encourages remix of materials he publishes; YouTube distribution of Washington Press Corps talk; joking relationship with Wikipedia
  • but the production company has sent YouTube takedown orders to remove Colbert clips - contradictory space, companies torn by conflicting ideologies

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