We all live in an internet culture. The whole world may not yet, but if you are on my blog reading this, then you are a part of it. We live in a digital world. And that world has changed the traditional roles in the creation and distribution of information and content. The lines between those who were creators and producers and those who were the consumers have been blurred; thus the term ‘prosumer’.
A prosumer is someone who participates in all aspects of content creation and distribution. They are no longer passive consumers but also participants, collaborators, users and producers. There are plenty of examples but as a FanGirl I am going to use fan-fiction to explain.
There are honestly hundreds of thousands of videos that I could use as an introduction to the idea of ‘prosumers’, and hundreds that I know I want to use. I decided to let Geeks and Sundry explain fan-fictions and its role in the changing media sector.
As Nika Harper explains there is actually a lot of negative connotation surrounding fan fictions because of its potential to have poor quality. This is a natural side effect of the possibility of internet creating ‘prosumers’ and enabling everyone to interact with the original content. There is no possibility for quality control.
Quality or not, the effect still stands; people who were once only able to watch their favourite TV now have the ability to facilitate an interactive role with the existing content. Harper explained the benefits and possibilities for written ‘fanfic’. The [socially dreaded] example of 50 Shades of Grey is the hyperbolic success story for written fanfic- it started out as an A.U for Twilight and turned into a million dollar pay check.
However there are other types of content creation which is facilitated by ‘Convergent Culture’ [Henry Jenkins]. All different types of fan videos exist in the plethora of fan content on YouTube. Deviant Art is an example of a platform which hosts images, and it holds pages and pages of fan-art. There are pinterests tags specially dedicated to fan-craft and food. And there is, of course, Tumblr which seems to exists purely for the sharing of gifs, images and discussions between fans [and other purposes but fangirls seem to dominate it].
Fandoms can only exist with such effervescence because of ‘prosumers’ and convergent culture. Everyone who adds to them leaves something else for someone else. I will leave you with a wonderful fan-created video for my favourite TV show, Castle.
If you want a more comprehensive understanding of the different aspects of the convergent culture that has arisen then I did a series of blogs for BCM112 (I cannot guarantee quality – they were my first attempts at blogging)
My group project for uni this session is actually the creation of a ‘fandom’ page. We are collating Fan opinions and interesting Fan-created content. We are bringing likeminded prosumers together. Visit ID-TV.net !