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Produsers and Produsage

Rainbows, Squirrels, and Ten Minutes of Work

(Buffalo) I went out to Niagara Falls this morning - just a 30 minute trip up the highway from Buffalo itself, right up to the Canadian border. In theory I could have just continued on from there to Toronto, my next stop on this trip, which wouldn't have been too much further to go, but strangely enough I'm booked on a flight this afternoon which takes me there via Toronto (adding a good three or four hours of transit time to my day). Not entirely sure my travel agent checked the map when we made the booking...

Niagara was beautiful, if windy and quite chilly - but the intermittent sun brought out multiple rainbows over the falls and really blew up the mist from the water cascades. I can't imagine what the falls would have been like before the power generation scheme reduced the flow over the actual falls themselves. It's clearly going towards autumn here - I saw plenty of squirrels (including one of the rarer black ones) burying their nuts and other goodies in the ground for the cold season.

My Upcoming Events in North America

'Anyone Can Edit': Understanding the Produser - Guest Lecture at SUNY, Buffalo / New School, NYC / Brown Univ. / Temple Univ.

Institute for Distributed Creativity
Cultural Studies Concentration of Eugene Lang College

'Anyone Can Edit': Understanding the Produser

The Mojtaba Saminejad Lecture

  • 28 September, 6 p.m. - SUNY Buffalo
  • 11 October, 10 a.m. - New School, New York City
  • 12 October, 5 p.m. - Brown University, Providence
  • 14 October, 12.30 p.m. - Temple University, Philadelphia

Recent decades have seen the dual trend of growing digitization of content, and of increasing availability of sophisticated tools for creating, manipulating, publishing, and disseminating that content. Advertising campaigns openly encourage users to 'Rip. Mix. Burn.' and to share the fruits of their individual or collaborative efforts with the rest of the world. The Internet has smashed the distribution bottleneck of older media, and the dominance of the traditional producer > publisher > distributor value chain has weakened. Marshall McLuhan's dictum 'everyone's a publisher' is on the verge of becoming a reality - and more to the point, as the Wikipedia proudly proclaims, 'anyone can edit.'

Produsers and Produsage - Workshop at SUNY Buffalo

Institute for Distributed Creativity

Produsers and Produsage

  • 28 September 2005, 1-3 p.m., Suny Buffalo (room DMS 247)

Workshop Outline

  1. Introduction and exploration of the produser concept:
    Overall features of produsers; distinctions from related concepts (Toffler's 'prosumer', Leadbeater's 'pro-am'); potential applications.
  2. Key sites of produsage:
    Indymedia and other forms of collaborative online news, open source software development, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google Earth and other geographical annotation systems, The Sims and other online gaming communities, Cellphedia, …
  3. Implications and uses:
    Economic possibilities, legal frameworks, educational applications, uses in strengthening democratic participation.
  4. Open discussion


Little has been published using the term 'produser' as yet, but the articles below describe produser activity in all but name. Some of them are also deliberately entrepreneurial and commercial in tone - this demonstrates the potential for commercial exploration (and exploitation) which is inherent in the concept, and points to social, ethical, and legal issues which will need to be addressed.

New York Visit - Talks Announced

With my host Trebor Scholz from the Institute for Distributed Creativity I'm now confirming the various talks and presentations I'm giving in Buffalo and New York City as part of my research residency at the iDC - my thanks for them for having me and organising these events. For any readers based over there, here's what we have planned so far:


  • 28 Sep., 1-3 p.m. - Workshop at SUNY Buffalo
    Produsers and Produsage 
  • 28 Sep., 6 p.m. - guest lecture at SUNY Buffalo (room 235):
    'Anyone Can Edit': Understanding the Produser
    The Mojtaba Saminejad Lecture (see announcement)

New York City

  • 11 Oct., 10 a.m. - guest lecture at the New School:
    'Anyone Can Edit': Understanding the Produser
  • 11 Oct., 6 p.m. - guest talk at The Thing:
    Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production

    Recent years have seen the emergence of collaborative publishing models in key news Websites ranging from the worldwide Indymedia network to the massively successful technology news site Slashdot and further to the multitude of Weblogs. Such sites have been instrumental in debunking political misinformation and providing first-hand coverage of unfolding events from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, but also provide an important corrective to the mainstream news media in their everyday coverage of current events.

More on iDC Residency

My host at the Institute for Distributed Creativity in New York, Trebor Scholz, prompted me again for someone to dedicate my public lectures in September and October to. Perhaps happily, my search for bloggers or other citizen journalists who were killed in action (see I Seek Dead People) came up empty, so I've now looked for bloggers who were gaoled for their investigative work and open reporting. As I found out, there are whole Websites dedicated to this issue, including the Committee to Protect Bloggers who highlight the persecution of blogger-journalists around the world. Very interesting reading, especially also on the emerging networks of bloggers under threat in very different areas of the world.

iDC Residency

Later this year I'll head over to the U.S. for a couple of conferences and a brief research residency with the Institute for Distributed Creativity - I'll be in Buffalo on 26-29 September and New York City on 10-15 October. My host Trebor Scholz has now posted some information about the residency on the iDC site.

This residency marks the first steps in the next stage of my current research agenda, which started with the work on Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production and currently continues with the Uses of Blogs book and other research on blogs and wikis (also in a teaching environment). As part of this work I've introduced the concept of the produser - marking the move from a production/consumption dichotomy to user-led (or at least user-involved) production. This also goes well beyond the 'prosumer' idea - which (seeing as it retains the '(con)sumer' bit) doesn't transcend that dichotomy.


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