Diversity within FSEs and OPs: A Lesson From Google Corp. and Google+

July 17, 2011 |

We have been dealing with cultural totalities—a single FSEs here and its single OPs there. Perhaps at an earlier point such holism and universalism was plausible. Closer examinations of each entity under the same banner provides evidence that each FSE and OP is likely an accumulation of numerous micro-communities. If we are going to explore the cultural diversity in the FSE-OP dyad we might want to think of each localized entity as a polymorphous system.

Three or Four Theories of Networked Activism

July 4, 2011 | 8 minutes

The social dynamics and genesis of inter-networked activist cultures are little understood and the focus of some of our research at UCLA’s Part.Lab and a bunch of new business, activism, and pop theory books. Beyond __the __Echo __Chamber: Reshaping __Politics __through __Networked __Progressive __Media (New Press 2010) by Jessica Clark and Tracy Van Slyke is a strategy guide about how four levels of internet-enabled networks have an impact on progressive journalism, political commentary, and activist organizing: 1) networked users, 2) self-organized networks, 3) institutional networks, 4) networks of institutions.

Rules and Restrictions in Social Media Journalism

June 9, 2011 | 4 minutes

Sivek, S. C. (2010). Social media under social control: Regulating social media and the future of socialization. Electronic News, 4(3), 146-164. Susan Currie Sivek has written an article that bears attention for Part.Lab’s focus on internet-enabled participation, and in particular its use in political television. A new generation of young new media journalists are being socialized in the era/practice I am calling convergence capitalism–the market/mission and producer/consumer conflated period dictated by internet/television business/social projects.

Resources and Partnerships in Participatory Video

May 21, 2011 | 7 minutes

Pilfering the good ideas of my Part.Lab colleagues, I intend to get into the question of multiple resources, perspectivalism, and partnerships through an analysis of two species of participatory video: citizen journalism and entertainment talent networks. For those not in the Lab, FSEs, or formal social enterprises, are the video firms and OPs, or organized publics, are the audiences. As you will see below and in MSNBC’s recent rebranding exercise around the slogan “lean forward,” some efforts have been made to transform the passive audience into active participants. This post looks at the resources FSEs and OPs provide to each other in their co-production.

In our recent paper we wrote:

“For every FSE/OP there is at least one resource at stake. By resource we mean whatever is produced that is most valued by both the FSE and the OP” (p. 167, my italics). We focus on “resource[s] at stake” but for whom?

Each FSE and OP has resources 1) it can offer and 2) resources it needs. As we have defined it, resources are those process or objects that both FSEs and OPs value. Like goals and tasks, resources fuse the two entities. However, we’ve yet to account for how the FSE and the OP perceive resources differently.

Below I will discuss how both OPs and FSEs have distinct resource offerings. Point 2 above, resource needs, that are sated not only from the specific FSE/OP relationship but from other partnerships, FSEs, OPs, and resource ecologies I will briefly address in the conclusion.

To illustrate this I quickly analyze two species of participatory video FSEs/OPs we’ve investigated that speciate into two FSE/OP dyads: citizen journalism and entertainment talent networks. The resources I will focus on in both species of video FSEs and OPs include people (talent) and content (video code).

May 12, 2011 |

Good News… our first paper is finally published! Fish, A., Murillo, L. F. R., Nguyen, L., Panofsky, A. & Kelty, C. M. (2011). BIRDS OF THE INTERNET — Towards a field guide to the organization and governance of participation. Journal of Cultural Economy, 4(2), 157-187.

Prosumption digital divide

May 11, 2011 | 2 minutes

Jen Schradie, a grad student at Berkeley Sociology, has just published an article on the digital divide in user-production on the internet. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2011.02.003 It enters the digital democracy debate not along the lines we’ve been accessing it (democratic participation vs. exploitation) but in terms of inclusion (democratic participation vs. unequal access/exclusion). She comes down on the exclusion side suggesting that even for those already online there is an extra class gap between those who use the internet for consumption and those who use it for productive activities.

Oracle and its Social Media Participation Policy

May 4, 2011 | 2 minutes

Sometimes when you are searching for something, you find what you were looking for but it still surprises you. Such as Oracle’s Social Media Participation Policy.

What makes this particularly diagnostic of participation is that it is an internal policy (though posted publicly!) for a classical bureaucratic entity which attempts to govern participation in supposedly non-bureacratic non-organizations (social media) and therefore has to work out the contradictions of being a non-employee of (perhaps many) organized publics.

So for instance, the policy covers basically any mention of Oracle by an employee in any media either at work or at home. Oracle asserts its right to control its employees: Oracle employees are still expected to be loyal members of the “team”–and especially brand representatives of the organization. (Oracle as enlightened Despot?)

Even if your social media activities take place completely outside of work, as your personal activities should, what you say can have an influence on your ability to conduct your job responsibilities, your teammates’ abilities to do their jobs, and Oracle’s business interests.

Most of it is reasonable: don’t publish Oracle’s confidential information. Some of it is weird: “you may not publish (nor should you possess) our competitors’ proprietary or confidential information.” Huh?

Cooperation with the Corporation?

May 2, 2011 | 6 minutes

Kperogi, Farooq A. 2011. Cooperation with the corporation? CNN and the hegemonic cooptation of citizen journalism through, New Media & Society, 13: 314-329 (Accessed April 3, 2011).

Can user-generated content, promoted and contained by a corporation, constitute an alternative or resistance to mainstream media? This is Kperogi’s timely question. Its asking portends a new era of realistic criticism of the once ballyhooed liberatory capacities of “peer production” and “participatory culture.” Kperogi’s answer is a resounding no. CNN’s iReport project to stimulate and aggregate user-generated news is not the threat to mainstream news but instead plays into the economic and hegemonic designs of the non-fiction industrial complex. In this argument Kperogi goes too far, failing to problematize his primary distinctions between mainstream and alternative journalism, ignoring the agency of iReporters, audiences, and UGC producers, and forgets to discuss the particular affordances of video and internet systems.

Participation, Collaboration, and Mergers

April 12, 2011 | 8 minutes

I work here at UCLA’s Part.Public.Part.Lab where we investigate new modes of co-production and participation facilitated by networked technologies. Internet-enabled citizen journalism such as Current TV, public science like PatientsLikeMe, and free and open software development like Wikipedia are key foci. In the lab I investigate the vitality or closure of a moment of freedom and openness within cable television, news production, and internet video when the amateur and the alternative disrupted the professional and the mainstream. What are the promises and perils of social justice video in the age of internet/television convergence? Will internet video become as inaccessible, vapid, and homogenous as cable television? In our recent paper, Birds of the Internet: Towards a field guide to the organization and governance of participation, we draft a guide to identify two species flourishing in the internet ecology: what we call “formal social enterprises,” which include firms and non-profits, as well as the “organized publics” the enterprises foster or from which they emerge. These two types share a vertical or inverted relationship, power comes down from visionary CEOs and charismatic NGO directors to provoke rabid social media production, or a viable movement foments amongst grassroots makers that percolates upwards towards the formation of semi-elitist institutions. In light of this research and with a discreet fieldwork experience to think through I would like to clarify and address three types of social interaction: participation, collaboration, and mergers.


April 4, 2011 |

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