Some of you may recognise the growing trend increasingly evident in my posts; a supportive swing towards collaborative produsage and participatory digital networking systems. These concepts are those which underpin this weeks post – here we explore the concept of DIY design enabled through online functions and tools, growing increasingly popular in the materialisation and marketing of physical products.
Rushkoff (cited in Bruns 2008, 387) argues “the rise of interactive media does provide us with the beginnings of new metaphors for cooperation, new faith in the power of networked activity and new evidence of our ability to participate actively in the authorship of our collective destiny”. This is elaborated by Jenkins (cited in Bruns 2008, 388) who believes “produsage and its technologies advance processes of convergence, and are involved in a range of crucial conflicts over the shape and balance of our future technological, industrial, economic, cultural, and social environments”.
Such evidence is seen through the publication of Australian Better Homes and Gardens Magazine (ABHG), available in online format and highly supportive of users’ collaborative participation. The lifestyle magazine itself is founded on DIY tips for any tasks related to the house, garden or kitchen, so it is to be expected that produsers are intended to use the shared information to apply in a physical sense. Operating on produsage principles, “user innovation communities…develop a collection of information and knowledge sufficient to allow for the industrial production of goods” (von Hippel 2005). With areas of the ABHG site dedicated solely to “DIY & deco” and video streamed cookery (“Cooking with Karen“), users proactively engage in a form of participatory culture where DIY design and the change of artefacts into physical products is a likely outcome. Here, produsage emerges as the vital function enabling the dissemination and far-reaching scope of collaborative intelligence we so often take for granted. Bruns agrees, reasoning “the industrial process is neither the natural nor necessarily the most productive or socially beneficial approach imaginable” (Bruns 2008, 388) for creating content and exchanging information.
Would there be a need for blog forums if the information being discussed wasnt relevant to the interests of participating produsers? Would there be a market for the Australian recipe magazine, Donna Hay, if readers weren’t interested in cooking, nor considered applying the recipes published to their own homecooked meals? The “style ideas” area of this website is a DIY dream, where produsers have access to user-generated styling tips for entertainment, food and drink, tabletop, lighting and celebrations to apply to industrial materialisation. Produsers access these sites to collaborate and apply shared intelligence to industrial models; this is seen through such websites as LonelyPlanet, where travellers have wide access to rich information regarding global destinations contributed at the discretion of previous travellers to the area. In this manner, interactive media and produsage enable understanding and preperation of a culture before a traveller has experienced it, informing the reader on ‘must-see spots’, ‘danger-zones’, good restaurants, cheap accomodation and social customs, allowing produsers to apply this from cyber intelligence to physical actualisation.
“Overall, then, because they are infused with information, even in such non-intangible, physical realms of collaborative and innovative research, design, and development, produsage may have its place” (Bruns 2008, 391). Certainly in the online magazine industry this is seen, and will continue to proliferate as growing numbers of produsers embrace the capabilities of shared intelligence in the formation of DIY ideas to material creation.
Bruns, A. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Jenkins, H. cited in A, Bruns. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Rushkoff, D. cited in A. Bruns. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
von Hippel, E. 2005. Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge: MIT Press.