New terminology emerges only when new concepts have the need to be coined. In this sense, Produsage introduces an ideal (not totally unheard of) paradigm where the status of community and equality stand up again. Collaborative, user-led creativity through the web is a revolutionary way of conceiving work and knowledge, especially in an ever increasing individualist and competitive world.
As Alex Bruns says in Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content when he is talking about a working definition: ”Participants in such activities are not producers in a conventional, industrial sense, as that term implies a distinction between producers and consumers which no longer exists…”
Because we now live in the so called informational era, that no longer deals with the prosaic procedures of industry and fixed products, but through web 2.0 moves more fluidly towards an endless intangible stream of information and knowledge, a continuous and progressive process of creation is made possible and everybody has the same chance to contribute and to share.
This new democratic paradigm brings a profound change into society, one could say that a new polis is addressed: Public participation and public domain are crucial issues on the table for discussion. Knowledge is no longer conceived of as the privilege of a few but more as a cooperative self regulated embodiment.
When describing the Key Principles of Produsage, Bruns expresses: “Leadership is determined through the continuous communal evaluation of participants and their ideas, and through the degree of community merit they are able to build in the process; in this sense, then, produsage heterarchies constitute not simply adhocracies, but ad hoc meritocracies.” Following this idea, artists too, are challenged to adapt to this meritocratic regime; surely they still undergo the same lonely mysterious encounter with their inspiring muse, but now, in a highly technological collaborative environment, they must assume that they are part of the ever changing whole in which no man stands on their own for their own purpose anymore. This does not mean that personal talents or efforts receive no rewards, the nature of a social web understands the importance of recognition and motivation, from the beginning, every participant is encouraged to go as far and as deep as they want (spontaneous leadership), and because they do, short sighted lazy contributors are automatically and naturally expelled. Meritocracy is the key word in this new model, it holds a magic power, and might be what guarantees this new paradigm’s success: No more rigid hierarchies in the academic field, no more arrogant structures in culture, instead, roles and boundaries become relative, more flexible, there is a new understanding, a true sense of collective work, a new conception of ownership and credit, more support, more efficiency, and the encouraging feeling that there is no such thing as Utopia, because it has been the lack of a fair scenario, that made dreams feel impossible, not some inherent condition of humankind.