Glitch Art
Glitch Art

Produsage For Dummies

Axel Bruns's concept of produsage is quite complex, yet when broken down can be quite simple. Take away all his big words and fancy jargon, and a clear idea presents itself. This is a dummied down version of Bruns's produsage principle.

Produsage is the result of continual repurposing of content. The goal of produsage is for the content to reach new levels of value.

Produsage throws out the old industrial model, and brings in a new concept of consumers as producers. The result? Produsers.

Produsers take existing content, and remix it into something new. This then becomes the content for another produser to work with. Produsers are no longer idle consumers, they are now active users.

The difference between producers and produsers lies with the product they present. A producer's product is a unified and complete; whereas a produser's product is the opposite, being unfinished and continually evolving.

The social aspect of produsage is the idea that a community of produsers rebuild and redevelop shared content in an act that more resembles maintenance. Weaved throughout the project is the social context and relationships of those involved.

Key Principles of Produsage

1. Open Participation, Communal Evaluation

Produsage is dependant upon the inclusion of individuals with varying knowledge, skills, thoughts and ideas. These people contribute to the overall product, either in major or minor ways. Their contributions can be made in content, or in the social aspect of the creation.

Built upon the necessary precondition "Probabilistic, not directed problem-solving": based on probability rather than pre-determined solutions; a bottom-up approach.

2. Fluid Heterachy, Ad Hoc Meritocracy

The usual organization hierachy is thrown out, allowing for those who are worthy contributors to quickly rise to the top, while those who add unnecessary content fall to the wayside. Also, there is this idea that individuals can become irrelevant again in the produsage community when the need they have met no longer exists. This adds to the flexibility, or fluidity of the community.

Built upon the necessary precondition "Equipotentiality, not hierachy": every participant has a contribution to make.

3. Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process

The produsage process is never ending. The product is set on continual improvement rather than final completion. The community weeds out the negative contributions.

Built upon the necessary precondition "Granular, not composite tasks": the project is broken down into smaller tasks and made available to those who have the skill set to complete them, all the while still being able to see the overall vision of the project.

4. Common Property, Individual Rewards

The produsage product is not an individual's property, but that of the community. All past produsers will continue to have access to it, as well as all future contributors. A key to keeping the produsage process going is to protect it from abuse and exploitation. The individual is rewarded with being able to contribute to the overall progress of the product.

Built upon the necessary precondition "Shared, not owned content": the tasks are shared a networked community to allow for collaboration.
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