[Sample Question Prompt]: This blog post asks you to illustrate how the concept of ‘produsage’ fits into your own life. Identify a social media platform/app with which you regularly engage that fits Bruns’ definition of produsage. Briefly explain how the platform fits the characteristics of produsage, and how your contributions to this platform then characterizes you as a produser. Be sure you have included specific examples to support your explanation and claims.
Zomato is one of the world’s biggest and most successful restaurant reviewing websites. With the “mission to ensure nobody has a bad meal,” Zomato labels users as “foodies” and enables them to rate, review, photograph, and blog about local restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Users are represented by a personal profile that allows users to write restaurant reviews, follow and interact with other Zomato “foodies.” As both website and mobile app, Zomato provides an interactive network of users whose contributions can influence how other people spend their money when seeking out places to eat.
As a Zomato reviewer myself, I exemplify Axel Bruns’ concept of “produsage:” the “collaborative engagement of (ideally, large) communities of participants in a shared project.” As a “producer,” “consumer” and “user” of Zomato’s content I actively create, modify and redistribute knowledge about Wellington’s food scene through my engagement with a community of other produsers (restaurant reviewers). When I write a review, comment on or interact with someone else’s review, I contribute to a wider body of information about a place. Information about a restaurant therefore changes with every new contribution, creating “unfinished artefacts” characteristic of produsage communities.
As a community or “hive mind”, Zomato produsers contribute more information about a place than the small number of professional food critics could, while also undermining attempts by advertisers to portray a restaurant in an appealing or deceptive way. In other words, my produsage contributes to a “collective intelligence” that helps “de-centralise” knowledge production through a bottom-up model of participation from everyday people (like me) rather than paid marketers and professional critics.