Watch out world. The amateur is having her hayday: forums to publish on, videos to create, affinity groups to join and everything that might crumble the hierarchy of the entertainment business. Okay, it might not be THAT bad. We are, however, in a serious state of flux, and we humans don’t particularly love this idea of change, now do we? or maybe we want to like it?
So first, Consumers: passive, observer. Producer: active, distributor. Prosumer: consumes and produces
A) Excerpt from Jaws
B) My Nephew’s Version
My nephew was a consumer. He watched Jaws, but he did not want to stop there; he (and his dad) created a video to depict Ben’s favorite scene as well as “pay tribute” to the film in his own way, thus developing into a prosumer.
We do consume products; however, these products that we buy frequently do not just feed us information (not even TV’s anymore). Our ipads and laptops CAN entertain us but they also provide us with the medium to create and contribute.
Due to the ability to create. Let’s think about zones of tolerance.
Henry Jenkins establishes that a zone of tolerance is a place wherein “fans can operate while asserting some control over what happens” in Convergence Culture (154). His example here focuses on Star Wars and how Lucas has created spaces that the fans have control, but he has still orchestrated them. One such location is http://www.lucasarts.com/ . While it’s not ALL about the money… it is about the money. Who is profiting? How? Why?
The fact that LucasFilms creates these spaces for the fans does not make them the evil corporation that “we” frequently depict big companies to be. True, Elizabeth Durack’s claim that “That’s the genius of LucasFilm offering fans web space–it lets them both look amazingly generous and be even more controlling” (157) can be supported easily. While it is true that LucasFilms are not going to “feel the hurt” from amateur endeavors that connect to StarWars, other less established companies could be ruined. As a member of society, I suppose first we should decide if we care? As a prosumer, I want to be able to keep all my freedom to create, publish, remix, remediate etc., but I should probably think about the points at which my creations infringe upon someone else’s. There is no easy way to achieve this balance.
Think about the TV we watch today. It is participatory.
We vote on American Idol
We discuss the Bachelor on Forums to forecast “who gets a rose”
Why is this participatory culture so scary? It has brought about a huge amount of change in a small space. Ownership as we know is changing. Production is changing. Consumption is changing. Technology is changing. Access is changing. The scope of audience has shifted from intimate groups to public domains. Stability is non-existant. We are all prosumers in some way.