In the online environment, participants are no longer just passive spectators, rather they are participating in the content they consume; ‘they are productive users, or produsers, engaged in the act of produsage’ (Bruns, 2007). Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all examples of a social media platforms that encourages produsage.
The activity on Pinterest conforms to Brun’s four key characteristics of produsage, the first involving an organisational shift towards open participation. The more user’s participate the better quality the content becomes; through examination, evaluation and contribution (Bruns, 2007). The second characteristic of produsage is the fluid movement between roles (Bruns, 2007). There is an interchange between the role of the producers of content and the consumer’s of content. Pinterest users are able to consume and engage with what other users have posted, pinned and liked, but are also able to post, pin and like, their own content. The third characteristic is that the platform remains unfinished (Bruns, 2007). Pinterest’s content is continuous; the platform’s content can always be added to or edited, but this is dependent on the activity of the users. The fourth characteristic of produsage is that it is permissive and participatory; ‘participation in produsage projects is generally motivated mainly by the ability of produsers to contribute to a shared, communal purpose’ (Bruns, 2007). In this case, social media sites, such as Pinterest, are the ‘shared communal purpose’; without the activity of the users, Pinterest would be lifeless.
When given the opportunity it is amazing how much people are willing to contribute to their social media. From gym check-in’s to #foodporn, people who participate social media sites are still engaging in produsage.
With the age of social media, it is clear that there is something to be said for user-participation and produsage in the media that we consume. People want to engage in their media because it gives them a sense of power to have their opinions and ideas voiced to the world, such as citizen journalism– even if those opinions and ideas are not the greatest. So if you are an active participator on social media platforms- you have the power… use it wisely.
Burns, A 2007, Produsage: Key Principles, producage.org, viewed 10 April, 2014, <http://produsage.org/node/11>