Free Essay About Produsage AND Collective Intelligence
The general idea behind the term produsage represents the deviation from the traditional, industrial model of production and distribution. The traditional, industrial model concerned is the natural process at which a certain product is being manufactured, distributed, and then consumed. At a certain point, the product will be consumed, however, more and more cases have been considered that this is not always the direction of the product. Rather than being consumed, the product can be manipulated and altered to become either an upgrade or even a new different product to be distributed. As such process start to become more emergent within the society, there is a necessity to understand how the product chain actually progresses.
According to Axel Bruns, the term produsage exists as the new and emerging concepts of product manufacturing, distribution, and consumption is being affected by the users. Especially in the world of internet, the rapid speed of information, knowledge, and creativity sharing in the world of internet is best described by produsage. Produsage defines information sharing in the world of internet in the sense that the chain of information within the internet deviates from the traditional, industrial model of information production and distribution. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss why internet falls easily under the general idea of produsage.
The introduction of internet as a mass medium introduces various challenges to the 'traditional' process of information production and distribution. That is, the internet offers different approaches to information availability different to the industrial model of production and distribution of information. First, information are rather pulled from the sources than being pushed by the source. As long as the source decides to make the information available to the users, the information is rather pulled than pushed. This means that there is no need to endorse the information because as long as the source exists, the information is available to users. The users that had "viewed" the information from the source usually becomes the endorser, and then, the information becomes viral.
Second, information is widely available rather than being only available to a limited group. This is usually true because information is easily shared. As have mentioned earlier, an information becomes viral too easy that no information becomes private to a certain group. This is best explained by the idea that the internet is a vast network, in which a single user may infect the whole internet with a single information.
Third, interactions with other peers (note that peers may refer to anyone involved) become more possible with less limitations. This means that the users can actively interact with other users. Lastly, consumption of the information, rather than just availing the information, means that the consumers can actively manipulate and edit the information since information through the internet is more digital. In this case, the usage of information is not just "digesting the information" but could also mean editing of information.
Compared to the traditional model of information distribution, internet offers freedom but also attacks privacy and copyright. Developments before were more secretive in the sense that the product ideas were protected by copyrights and patents. However, information in the internet world is digital such that any information is easily altered. The distribution, on the other hand, can easily violate privacy, while availing the information is easily subjected to plagiarism without proper acknowledgements.
Supplementing the idea regarding information within the internet is the idea of collective intelligence. According to Levy (1997), collective intelligence is the enhancement, coordination, and effective mobilization of "universally distributed intelligence". It is therefore described as an approach to mutually recognize and enrich the individuals rather than a large group or community. In this sense, the idea of collective intelligence activates the abilities of the individual that could be recognized by each.
In this case, the definition of the phrase "universally distributed intelligence" must be explored. As Levy (1997) describes the said phrase, it means that knowledge has no transcendent storage, rather, knowledge is the sum of everything humanity knows. That is, no one knows every knowledge, everyone knows some knowledge, but all knowledge resides in the totality of humanity.
Collective intelligence supplements produsage in the sense that intelligence is constantly enhanced. It is true that humanity has the ability to constantly enhance his or her intelligence, but the approach usually is to "digest" and "store" information. In this case, the digestion and storage of information refers to the idea of availing and usage of the information, whether to keep it that way or to manipulate its contents. Nevertheless, produsage enters the idea because as an individual enhance his or her intelligence with a piece of information, distribution of the information is never out of the picture. Especially in the world of internet, no piece of information becomes "private".
Moreover, it is true that to enhance intelligence, one must achieve to attain information. In this case, humanity learns to pull information from the internet. Eventually, sources of information does not work to endorse their information because the users tend to do it for them.
What more connects the two ideas, collective intelligence and produsage, within the context of the internet is the real-time coordination of intelligence. Internet offers real-time interactions to any users, which satisfies the idea of collective intelligence that real-time coordination must be present.
The combination of enhancement and real-time coordination of intelligence usually results to effective mobilization of skills. Effective mobilization of skills require identification, which could be from enhancement of intelligence, and recognition, which could be from the real-time coordination of intelligence. In the end, the idea of collective intelligence really brings mobilization and develops a positive approach that facilitates individuals within a larger community.
Nevertheless, the current environment of production and consumption is best described by the concept of produsage. It serves as a new model in which users can be either referred to as the producer or consumer. Although it seems confusing, the producer can also be a consumer, depending on what he or she does with the product.
The emergence of new ways for interaction has led to a number of adaptations of communities especially with regards to network-related communities. For example, the participation of the users have led to the blogosphere becoming more open to criticisms and opinions. Wikipedia, on the other hand, has become a site where contents can be easily edited due to the constant evolution of information. Other areas, such as massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) have been more open to content production. Needless to say, produsage have become so apparent that social networking, to online encyclopedias, to online games, have adapted to the user-led content creation.
What this means is that industries may have to reinvent their products to adjust with the hunger of the users to become more active with the content creation. The internet has led to such interactions that some would think that its implications are uncontrollable. For instance, as more games allow the players to alter some of the contents of the games, the game industries may be fallen behind resulting from the incapacity to address the demands of the players. Together with competition, the industries may have to develop new strategies just to adjust to the apparent user-led content creation.
As for the case of open participation of the users to a certain available information in the internet, the sources must become open to criticisms and opinions. Certain blogs, for example, have been bashed to the point that the posts were closed, or the individual was bullied. As open as the internet is, the users can be as sensitive. For example, the YouTube channel Pewdiepie has closed its comments sections because of the criticisms from his viewers. This has led to confusion to the subscribers whether to like his humble and sensitive side, or to dislike his cowardly action.
Needless to say, produsage results to satisfaction from the side of the users, but may also lead to negative consequences from the source. Nevertheless, the idea of produsage is becoming more apparent, and so, industries might have to adjust. The users on the other hand must learn to enhance their skills while recognizing the skills of other individuals for effective mobilization. The internet offers an innovative approach to interactions and information sharing, but would seem inefficient if the participants, the users, would not help activate a promising and effective environment.
Bruns, Axel. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyod: From Production to Produsage. New York: Digital Formations.
Levy, Pierre. (1997). "Collective Intelligence." David Trend, ed. Reading Digital Culture. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.
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