Just a small collection of ideas – ‘Production, Produsage, and the Future of Humanity’

May 29, 2009

“What are you gonna do without a college degree? Drive a forklift?”   – Paris Gellar.

This quote summed up my perception of being a ‘professional’ when I graduated high school in 2004. And I have a sneaking suspicion that many of my generation (Y, if you had to ask) feel the same.

Online convenience stores

Over the last 5 weeks, I’ve discovered produsage across new mediums and through different communities. This week however, we were asked to consider the future of produsage. Last week in tutorials we discussed communities such as Instructables, eMachineshop, Ponko, Spoonflower, Etsy. I had not heard of any of these ‘communities’ before now.

By describing them as communities, it suggests they are not simply not just websites or pages, but are products which reshape cultural, social, commercial and political institutions (Burns 2008, 400). Just in case any of you were a little puzzled about these communities, here is a quick run-down of what they do:

Instructables: Web-based documentation platform where people share their knowledge and collaborate with others.

eMachineshop: A conventional machine shop with low-cost fabrication of custom parts made from designer software.

Ponko: ‘The first online shop for individualised goods’ including specific designer created goods by users.

Spoonflower: Unique user created fabric based around design, craft and fabric communities.

Etsy: An online marketplace to buy and sell handmade items.

The common denominator here is user led communities that also provide open source software to design user created merchandise.

The effect of these communities on advertising lies in the users self-promotion on a viral level. As Bruns (2008, 400) suggests  “peer property spreads in a viral fashion, in a process that we call the ‘circulation of the common’. This is a new phenomenon, and it operates in parallel with the ‘circulation of commodities’ process of the traditional market system”.

The importance of users advertising their own merchandise through viral means, suggests users also become co-produsers of the space (Bruns 2008, 400). This correlates with Nimon’s (2007, 27) suggestion of Generation Y’s self-expression through Internet platforms.  Furthermore word of mouth, peer feedback and viral marketing are elements that both Bruns (2008) and Nimon (2007) are fundamental to produsage environments.

The Future of Produsage

The continuum of knowledge, collaboration, open source software and community communication methods is one that produsage stands. This is the future of communication for active generations. For advertising, being a paid communication portal is something that will probably rarely change, but will instead adapt to new mediums by reaching niche audiences on a global scale. The possibilities for advertising research of target markets as generations adopt personalised approaches to virtual communities and personalities are inexplicitly endless.

As always I welcome your comments, suggestions and feedback to ensure an industrious and dynamic approach to advertising in new media. I hope these last few weeks have sparked interest into what is already a heavily new media saturated take on advertising.

I will leave you with a few wise words from the father of advertising himself, which I believe personifies advertising communication in a new media world:

“I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.

– David Ogilvy.