I wanna be a producer
Wear a tux on op’ning nights!
I wanna be a producer
And see my name “Leo Bloom” in lights!
In Mel Brooke’s comedy musical ‘The Producers’, timid accountant Leo Bloom laments his dull work and lifestyle, breaking into song about his aspirations to become a successful Broadway musical producer – to be known and admired by all. Looking at emerging social trends like the popularity of reality TV, Facebook, and Twitter, it seems more and more people, like Leo, want to put themselves out there and get recognition for who they are. While not all of us will become Broadway producers, many of us, with emerging new media technologies, can become ‘produsers’ where we can create, share and improve artefacts for the world to see.
The term ‘produser’ was coined by Axel Brun (2007) who defines the hybrid role as one who participates in “the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement”, which is called ‘produsage’. Basically, while the roles of ‘producers’ and ‘users’ used to be distinguished in terms of ‘senders’ and ‘receivers’ of content, people are now able to resume both positions and are able to more actively shape their accessible media, in collaboration with others (Bruns, 2007). A key example of this is seen in Wikipedia, where anyone and everyone can share and evaluate their knowledge on a subject of interest.
So who can be a produser? Well, anyone with access to the technology. New media technologies have developed to create better access, connectivity, and interactivity which allows a range of people to share their knowledge to be evaluated by others, thereby creating a ‘collective intelligence’ which anyone can contribute to (Flew 2008). Today, you can showcase your photos (Flickr), your interests (Digg), your thoughts (Twitter), and your life (Facebook) for all to see.
Critics of ’produsage’ argue that, while these technologies exist to cater for more people to be content creators and evaluators, most people do not choose to participate in the knowledge creation and instead are “content to be consumers, relying on the more highly motivated minority to safeguard their interests.” (Public Strategist, 2008). Sure, not everyone will create a blog, rant their comments on forums or edit a Wikipedia page. But isn’t something as subtle as updating our Facebook status, becoming a ‘fan’ of our favourite brand, or sharing a Youtube video with our friends contributing to ‘collective intelligence’ of our community? Not everyone wants to be seen, but most people do want to be heard. And today we have the technology to show the world what we’ve got – so what are you waiting for?
I wanna be a producer…
Hold everything! What I am I doing here? Mr. Bialystock was right!
There is a lot more to me than there is to me!
Stop the world, I wanna get on!
Bruns, A. 2007. Produsage:A working definition. http://www.produsage.org/produsage (accessed 22 April 2009).
Flew, T. 2008. New Media: an introduction. 3rd Ed. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Lets Sing It. 2006. The Producers – I want to be a producer lyrics http://artists.letssingit.com/the-producers-lyrics-i-want-to-be-a-producer-xdj7vmf (accessed 22 April 2009).
Public Strategist. 2008. Producing consumption and consuming production. http://strategytalk.typepad.com/public_strategy/2008/01/producing-consu.html (accessed 26 April 2009).