Advertising: Pro or Amateur?

May 22, 2009

Last weeks discussion on Wikipedia got me thinking about the extension of knowledge in a professional sense: Will I still use Wikipedia (and alike) the same way when I graduate? How will produsage communities be of use to me then? My bet is, some of you are thinking the exact same thing.

Wikipedia: the secret Gen Y scapegoat?

Currently I use it as a starting point. To get a general understanding about key terms, movies, books, politics, really anything. In fact, even when I think “just Google it”, 9 times out of 10, I end up at Wikipedia. I often wonder if I’m a typical by-product of my generation or if this will just become another social norm. Apparently I’m not alone in thinking this. Jenkins (in Bruns 2008, 208) suggests the possession of knowledge is not what holds collective intelligence together, but rather the social process of acquiring knowledge.

I have an idea

For advertising, the Pro/Am debate is something, which I think extends beyond Bruns and Sanger’s Wikipedia debate. The community of knowledge creators and curators (Bruns 2008, 213) is one that I believe explains

Now I know I’ve mentioned this ad-community before, but this time I thought we’d take a closer look at just how the creation of advertising is involved in Pesce’s hyperintelligence. Like Wikipedia, I have an idea also is primarily led by amateurs and Pro-Ams, with very little recognition of their professional personas. While the creatives section at I have an idea, publicises advertising professionals who contribute to the community. This allows them to be ‘organic’ members instead of foreign bodies as revealed by Bruns (2008, 218).

Layers of the Pro-Am Onion

Networking and participation. These two words are crucial elements for any produsage model. They also hold importance in the overall process of layering diverse knowledge across a multitude of tools (Bruns 2008, 220). Tools such as Ning enable users to create, modify and manipulate collective intelligence by creating new social networks and platforms on which to decentralise the human knowledge space (Bruns 2008, 220).The public exchange of information through services such as Ihaveanidea, Ning and even Twitter are just the small picture in a wider community. Johnson’s “cosmopedia” explores how the users (the am’s of pro-ams) space is controlled by their own collective intellect.

Let bygones be bygones?

What I have learnt from Wikipedia and produsage communities is: nothing is tangible. Not even information of knowledge. It cannot be classified or classed as it has in the past. It cannot be seen viewed as naïve and simple. Pro-Ams challenge it, alter it, and tweak it to ensure the collective community gets the best out of what is available. Now you’ll probably note my view of past knowledge, like Bruns (2008, 222), is holoptic. It is representative of a clouded truth, based on naivety and mass production. But I wonder if network-centric mindsets are really that different. Yes, they underpin collective intelligence in all of its grandeur, but does it really represent the truth? Or does it merely present a quasi-semi-qualifies Pro-Am view on a certain subject?