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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 19 - 2012, No. 3

Producing Prod-Users: Conditional Participation in a Web 2.0 Consumer Community

, , pages: 41-58

Is contemporary media ecology an ecology that offers unprecedented freedom for producing participators, the “prod-users,” or could it also be understood as an ecology in which various forms of user participation are in fact conditioned, or manufactured, by professional producers? Considering the increasing research attention paid to various notions of user participation, these questions become important. This article critically discusses the theorising of mediated participation by illustrating and analysing ways in which users’ participatory practices in fact can be both conditioned and formatted by producers making strategic use of participatory opportunities. By drawing on an ethnographically inspired case study of a web company, Moderskeppet, this analysis reveals how the actual possibilities for participation thoroughly are conditioned by producers. The paper also analyses strategies and techniques applied by the producers to create a sense of participation among users.

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