Any platform that can be used to trade cat pictures can bring down a government – Ethan Zuckerman. The fundamental questions are all about what this new participatory and convergent culture will be like.
Is participation the new consumption? It is helpful to try to better understand how engagement with participatory culture, especially with fandom, may be teaching the skills and creating identities which can be applied to campaigns for social change; the relations between participatory culture and public participation are collapsing. An example: “Well, say an Avatar fan group became interested in doing some work for social change, work that maybe addresses an issue brought up by the show, such as the environment or native land rights and this could translate into how people who organize around a story they love, can then decide to take some kind of public action.
“Does Yogi Bear lend itself to participatory culture? These complex interrelationships provide the context for public awareness and response to amateur digital cinema production around pop culture figures, no matter how incoherent they may be. This filtering and distortion process has been explored in novel ways almost as a collaboration. For example, Star Wars fan filmmakers have negotiated a place for themselves somewhere between these two competing trends, trying to co-exist with the mainstream media, while opening up an arena for grassroots creativity. In such a world, fan works can no longer be understood as simply derivative of mainstream materials but must be understood as themselves open to appropriation and reworking by the media industries.
What is participatory culture ? Patterns of media consumption have been profoundly altered by a succession of new media technologies which enable average citizens to participate in the archiving, annotation, appropriation, transformation, and recirculation of media content. Participatory culture refers to the new style of consumerism that emerges in this environment. If media convergence is to become a viable corporate strategy, it will be because consumers have learned new ways to interact with media content. Not surprisingly, participatory culture is running ahead of the technological developments necessary to sustain industrial visions of media convergence and thus making demands on popular culture which the studios are not yet, and perhaps never will be, able to satisfy. The first and foremost demand consumers make is the right to participate in the creation and distribution of media narratives. Media consumers want to become media producers, while media producers want to maintain their traditional dominance over media content.
There a potentially important third space between the two positions. Shaped by the intersection between contemporary trends toward media convergence and participatory culture, these fan films are hybrid by nature — neither fully commercial nor fully alternative, existing as part of a grassroots dialogue with mass culture. We are witnessing the transformation of amateur film culture from a focus on home movies toward a focus on public movies, from a focus on local audiences toward a focus on a potential global audience, from a focus on mastering the technology toward a focus on mastering the mechanisms for publicity and promotion, and from a focus on self-documentation toward a focus on an aesthetic based on appropriation, parody, and the dialogic.
There is a way to talk back to the dominant media culture, to express oneself not simply within an ideolect but within a shared language constructed through the powerful images and narratives that constitute contemporary popular culture. There are ways to tap into the mythology of known cultural archetypes as Harry Potter, Star Warrs, James Bond, etc. and use it as a resource for the production of personal stories, stories which are broadly accessible to a popular audience and which, in turn, inspire others to create their own works . Jenkins:Much as Lucas created Star Wars through the clever appropriation and transformation of various popular culture influences,ranging from Laurel and Hardy to Battleship Yomamoto and The Hidden Fortress.
“The old either-or oppositions (co-optation vs. resistance) which have long dominated debates between political economy and cultural studies, approaches to media simply do not do justice to the multiple, dynamic, and often contradictory relationships between media convergence and participatory culture. Approaches derived from the study of political economy may, perhaps, provide the best vocabulary for discussing media convergence, while cultural studies language has historically framed our understanding of participatory culture. Neither theoretical tradition, however, can truly speak to what happens at the intersection between the two.