Resources and Partnerships in Participatory Video

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). Continue reading “Resources and Partnerships in Participatory Video”

Participation, Collaboration, and Mergers

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. Continue reading “Participation, Collaboration, and Mergers”

Grilling Peer Production with Weber

Kreiss, D., M. Finn, and F. Turner. 2010. “The Limits of Peer Production: Some Reminders from Max Weber for the Network Society.New Media & Society 13:243-259. http://nms.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/13/2/243 (Accessed December 14, 2010).

A new article in New Media and Society proposes that we go back to our Weber for a fresh wake-up call concerning the heady promises of peer production. It’s a good article for one good reason: it characterizes some of the basic features of what they call the “consensus view” of peer production. The consensus view includes claims that 1) peer production is psychologically gratifying labor (which is good), 2) it leads to egalitarianism and efficiency 3) it realizes ethical relationships between collaborators (?), 4) that peer production is a mode equally suited to all domains, and 5) that it is nonmarket and nonproprietary. Aside from the cryptic one about ethical relationships, these are all fair characterizations of a “consensus” view… tif you believe such a consensus exists, rather than a cacophony of scholars and pundits with their own reasons: a few first movers (Lessig, Benkler) that have since moved on to their next project, a few loudmouths (Shirky, Weinberger) who don’t really care at all about scholarship but love being in the limelight (Clay Shirky writing for Foreign Affairs!) and a few others (Jenkins and everyone in cultural studies) who are just a little too giddy with excitement about fan culture.
Continue reading “Grilling Peer Production with Weber”

New Article: Ross, Problematizing the User in User-Centered Production

Philippe Ross, Problematizing the user in user-centred production: A new media lab meets its audiences, Social Studies of Science, 306312710385851, first published on December 7, 2010 doi:10.1177/0306312710385851

Haven’t read it yet, but from the abstract: “this study shows how producers distinguish and mediate between users and partners; how they sustain the notion that there is a group of users ‘out there’ whose existence and requirements can be substantiated prior to the creation of specific technical choices; and how user involvement in and of itself is used for the strategic purpose of enticing partners and asserting their control over the production process.”