DIY Culture

June 4, 2009

DIY Culture or Do It Yourself is a non-mainstream culture that can be seen across many industries particularly the arts. The American DIY culture is said to have began in the 1940s as a cheep effective way to campaign radical political movements. In the UK it formed in the late 1960s as the free festival movement and adapted through the punk sub culture. Brisbane itself saw the development of the DIY culture in the 1970s around student right to broadcast, and public oppression during the Joh Bjelke Peterson era. This culture also developed along side of the punk and radical activist cultures.

When we look at DIY culture and new media it can be seen how far this culture has developed since the early days of activism to a means of Produsage that is productive for those using new media. Social Networks and site such as Wikipedia are examples of DIY culture and how individuals can now have full creative control within networks in relation to content and even program development. The online gaming industry has people from around the world creating new avatars, props, backgrounds, debuggers, patches and much more to help improve game quality. Not having to rely of distributors to maintain and update software and information as proven more constructive and in most cases generates high quality products.

The music industry is no stranger to DIY culture as mentioned above. The punk sub-culture developed around the ideologies of DIY culture with many independent record labels created outside of mainstream control. Many of these proved successful and this culture was slowly adapted across all genres of music to the point where social networking sites are now created so that musicians have a place to work on a store the music or label that they create. Collaborating DIY Culture in this way has been termed as DIT culture (Do It Together) by Seb Chan on his blog at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/dmsblog/index.php/2005/12/26/diy-culture/. The interactive nature of this culture can be seen on such music social networks as sterofame.com or Reverb Nation where individuals emersed in DIY culture are encouraged to interact with others to improve their own success with their projects.

As productive and rewarding as DIY culture can be for an individual or greater community there are also limitations that hinder the success of ones project or work. Expenses are a major factor as all costs fall onto the individual as well as time limitations.

DIY culture has become a valuable aspect of new media as it has been for the music industry and many others as well. Individuals operating outside of mainstream limitations have produced constructive new media that has changed they was in which people are interacting online.

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With the development of online media we have seen a change in the way in which people collaborate when using the Internet. Excepting the fact that not everyone has access to the Internet, those that do have the ability to participate in online communities such as Wikipedia or Ning!. These networks contain many people from all over the world with various skills and interest whether they are at a professional level or it is a developing interest. The professional/amateur divide has essentially been bridged with new media online collaboration. A person is now able to join an online community and gain contact with professionals in the field of interest. It is not uncommon to now find social networks that contain industry and Internet professionals from around the world interacting with the general public in real time and mostly for free.

Online social networks based around the music industry are becoming more popular everyday. Musicians, artists, and producers are able to join a network with allows them to produce, advertise and market their music to the public. Major record labels have taken interest in this style of social networking allowing the public to interact directly with the label and artists involved with the network. This new development in communication between the general public (amateurs) and record labels (professionals) is a new step in the band and artist formation and collaboration process. Industry professionals are also using social networking sites to find new artists that are motivated and talented or show the ability to market or source good music.

As discussed in my last blog, Wikipedia is an online collaboration of experts and amateurs working together to create a valued and credible source of information. The interaction between experts and amateurs on such sites as Wikipedia has seen a change in traditional taxonomy due to amateurs being given the same abilities as experts. This new form for moderating social networks is know as folksonomy and does not follow traditional hierarchal structures of online site moderation. The professional community has expressed concern as to the public maintaining social networks, but as Wikipedia has shown, experts and amateurs can create a collaborative network where valued information is created and maintained under the new folksonomy.

Wikipedia

June 4, 2009

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopaedia, which allows anyone with access to the Internet the ability to create, edit and moderate information. Wikipedia is a prime example of Web 2.0 and how Internet users are adapting to new media and using it to interact and collaborate with people on a global scale.

Wikipedia was created from the expert written and controlled Nupedia. Nupedia was found to be troublesome due to traditional taxonomy methods of information moderation being overrun by the rate at which new entries were being created. Wikipedia does not follow traditional moderation methods towards new entries but instead relies on folksonomy to maintain entry quality and prevent spamming and other destructive materials from entering the social encyclopaedia.

In relation to my previous blogs, Wikipedia shows the principles of Produsage and citizen journalism in action. Wikipedia relies on the creation, interaction, and moderation of content on the site by its users, making the consumer of information also the producer they desire. Although Wikipedia is not a Journalist network, the everyday experiences of a person may very well inspire them to create content on the site for others to read and learn about.

The consumer is very important in the music industry considering they are the ones who purchase albums, pay for tickets to see a show or festival, and provide critical feedback on what they have witnessed. Wikipedia, although not created for public opinion, gives source to many bands, artists, companies, events, and many other aspects of the music industries allowing users to gain vast amounts of information from one location.

There have been many concerns surrounding the creation Wikipedia and the content that will be displayed on the site. Due to public moderation things such as false information, slander, copyright, and advertising have managed to find their way into the online encyclopaedia, which does not do much for the networks credibility. Despite these concerns Wikipedia is still considered to be a good source of information, especially for beginning research on a topic, gaining links to resources, and possible expert contacts.

Citizen Journalism

May 7, 2009

In a converging world, socially and technologically, with communication at a global level, new media has given power to the people when in comes to the media they consume in their daily lives. The everyday citizen has the ability to communicate with those in the other side of the world in an instant. This freedom of ease to communicate within our society has seen the rise of public involvement in communicating the events one may experience or witness in their daily activities. Media professionals have come to know of this new media development as Citizen Journalism. Terry Flew discusses how countries around the world have established online communities for people to report news outside of the mainstream structure and gate watching. This blog will look at how citizen journalism is influencing the music industry.

The music industry relies heavily on consumer/audience enjoyment and participation. Citizen journalism has produced many opportunities for independent and major labels to benefit from. Individuals are now able to review CDs, performances, festivals, anything really that they have participated in, giving music professionals a large first hand feedback system free for them to use in the development of future endeavours. Independent “zines” are being produced which are available free or for next to nothing. The creation of social networking sites has allowed people to collaborate online blog, podcast, and share news and information about the music industry. Mevio.com is a great example. This site allows its users to upload video podcasts of themselves and others and report on music events and news that they have witnessed. This can be viewed and sorted by other members of the site into channels containing their most popular podcasts. There has however, been some scepticism about citizen journalism. Many opinions of this new style of reporting are that this could become problematic as by promoting citizen journalism music labels are giving the power to the consumer leaving them with the ability to make or break new artists or events. Also, some professional journalists are taking a negative approach to citizen journalism, as it doesn’t follow the traditional hierarchal structure and guidelines of mainstream news and journalism, but follows a more personal account and reflection of events that will contain opinion as well as fact. Regardless of negative views, this style of journalism has become very popular among the public with the ability to access and contribute to it.

Dr. Alex Bruns discusses in his book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage how change to media is inevitable and that traditional news media companies are learning to use citizen journalism as an open source of information for stories or interviews. Giving people the ability to report on events witnessed in their lives opens up a new source of opinion and information that traditional media sources can use to build stories, or in relation to the music industry, develop and produce music and events from audience reviews, blogs, podcasts and many more. Citizen journalism has given the everyday person a voice in the new media society and the capability to influence people on a global level.

Produsage

April 30, 2009

When a person desires or needs a product, purchasing that product labels that person as a consumer. The traditional methods of consumerism, (e.g. fordism) have shifted with the development of media available to the consumer. The idea of the “prosumer” developed by Toffler was a further development in the relationship between the producer and consumer. In this instance the consumer is labeled as a professional, straying away from traditional fordism methods of production and distribution, to the stage of aesthetically developed items to suit the individual. This was the verge of the power and relation change between the producer and consumer as producers were readily available to build and design products based loosely on consumer feedback. However, a new view on the relation between the produser and consumer as described by Dr. Alex Bruns is known as Produsage.

The development of produsage has taken the relationship between producers and consumers to the next level. Consumers now have the ability to develop products to be used with existing products, or as a completely new application all together. Online game development and products such as Second Life are a prime example as consumers of the game are also creating patches, avatars, and accessories to be used by others in line with the initial product. Bruns describes the four key principles of Produsage in his book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, and online at http://produsage.org/node/11. These key principles are open participation and communal evaluation, fluid heteracy, unfinished artefacts/continual process, and common property.

Looking at produsage and the music industry has shown a large number of user driven social networks and sites available to musicians and artists to distribute their work globally. This strays away from traditional music production of artist, music producer, distributor, consumer to a new system that allows the artist to promote, distribute, and collaborate with others through sites provided by either major labels or independent producers. In these social networks, such as last.fm, and stereofame.com, users are encouraged to create songs and labels, simulating a real life music industry experience online among peers of the same stature and interests in place of producers and distributers.

Produsage, although a new term that is not yet widely recognised, is a form of production that a lot of people are participating in without knowing. Blogging, reviewing, writing articles, editing programs, and many more simple web based applications and activities are all considered produsage as long as it can be understood in regards to the key principles of produsage and the model of production.