Intermedia International Peer Reviewed E-Journal of Communication Sciences, cilt.1, sa.2015, ss.158-180, 2015 (Diğer Kurumların Hakemli Dergileri)
İnternetle birlikte iletişim ortamında yaşanan değişimler sonucu yeni iletişim formları doğmuş; medyanın üretim, dağıtım, sergileme ve saklama koşullarında önemli dönüşümler yaşanmış ve izleyicilerin/kullanıcıların medyanın üretim süreçlerinde daha aktif bir rol oynamaya başladığı görülmüştür. Bu durum alanda iletişimin demokratikleştiğine ve kullanıcıların güçlendiğine dair dijital teknolojileri olumlayıcı yaklaşımların artmasına sebep olmuştur. Olumlayıcı yaklaşımların yanısıra kullanıcının, izleyicinin ücretsiz emeğinin sömürüsünü ön plana çıkaran ve medya şirketlerinin katılımcı kültürden kullanıcılardan daha çok yararlandığını öne süren eleştirel yaklaşımlar bulunmaktadır. Bu çalışmada katılımcı kültüre dair tartışmalar üreten tüketici, aktif izleyici, ücretsiz emek gibi kavramlar çercevesinde ele alınmaktadır. Geleneksel medyanın üretim ve tüketim biçimlerinde yaşanan değişim ve dönüşümler televizyon dizileri çerçevesinde gösterilmeye çalışılmaktadır. Kardeş Payı örneği üzerinden hem kanalların/yapımcıların, hem de izleyicilerin/hayranların sosyal medya alanındaki pratikleri ele alınmaktadır.
Anahtar Sözcükler: Katılımcı Kültür, Üreten Tüketici, Televizyon Dizileri, Ücretsiz Emek
Extended Abstract: The increased accesibility of internet, the increased interactivity, and the involvement of users in the creation of content have transformed the structure of communication. The transition in the production, distribution, display and storage of media through digitisation and transmitting cultural products into the digital realm has affected the culture, and also transformed all stages of communication as well (Manovich, 2001: 6,19).
The increased interactivity through social networks, the contribution of the users in the creation of the content not only resulted in the emergence of new communication forms, but also transformed mass media’s production and consumption process. Henry Jenkins uses the term convergence to describe those changes. According to him “convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content (2006: 3). Manuel Castells argues that a new interactive communication form, “mass self communication” has emerged as a feature of communication. Mass self comunication is a mass communication potentially as the message is spread through the internet; and also a kind of self communication in the way an individual sends a self produced message to self-determined receivers or receives messages she/he prefers (2009: 54-55). Castells refers this new kind of audience as “creative audience”, and notes that it is part of the remix culture (2009: 130,132). Within this transformed communication environment, as internet users are involved in the production and distribution of content and become ‘more active’, there emerged discussions on participation, participatory culture, democratization of communication etc.
Henry Jenkins asserts that media convergence caused a new participatory folk culture to occur; and submits ordinary people new tools to produce media content. This made it possible for people to participate in media production. Besides it enables media companies to achieve low-cost content; use and exploit amateur content in transmedia story telling (2001: 93). In this context convergence changes the ways media content produced and consumed, so it is both compay and consumer driven process. On the one hand media companies learn how to increase pofit, enlarge market and accelerate the flow of media content; and on the othe hand consumers learn to control media content and use different media technologies to commuicate and interact with each other (Jenkins, 2006: 16,18). The assumption of passive audience’s transformation into prosumer and participatior of communication processes, underlies in Jenkin’s and Castell’s approaches.
The audiences, being mere consumers before, has gained new specialities of producing. This made consumers become prosumers (Toffler, 2008). To define this transformation some other hybrid conceptions are used within the litreture such as produser and co-creator (van Dijck, 2009: 42).
Especially together with the Web 2.0 applications, supporting users to create and share content, user genereted content (UGC) platforms have become widespread. And accordingly the term ‘user’ started to be used by media theoreticians (van Dijck, 2009: 41).
Participatory media production and individualised media consumption are two different but complementary tendencies. Mark Deuze notes that these tendencies are the identifying characteristics of the new media ecology, in which media consumption encompasses media production - even a little. Within this communication environment media consumption behaviour changes by involving people’s participation, co-creation, cooperation (Deuze, 2007: 247). And media companies became able to use new media’s particularities like participation, openness, interactivity etc; and also audience, consumer or users’ participation, comments, crations, ideas etc in a way to maximize profit.
The involment of consumers in production of media content makes media companies gain profit. And this plus value depends on prosumers’ free labour in improving, distributing, marketing of the media content and products. For this reason, understanding consumers’ or audiences’ participation as ‘enpowerment’ will be an undervaluetion. Following Dallas Smith’s approach, scholars such as Tiziana Terranova and Christian Fuchs, are sceptical about production depending on free labour.
Free labour has become one of the most discussed concepts of new media, as internet users increasingly participate technocultural production actively and voluntarily by creating content, helping to improve software, participating in mail lists, writing comments, constructing virtual realms, creating web pages, sharing content etc (Terranova, 2004: 73-74, 91).
Practices of watching / reading / listening / using the internet involve a value producing labour. This is how the audience commodity and the prosumer commodity is produced. So these media usage practices based on free labor does include exploitation of labour. From this point of view, Fuchs criticizes the affirmative approaches to participatory culture. For him, social media and web 2.0 applications feeds the ideologies supporting new models of capital accumulation within new media economy; in stead of democratisation of media culture. The exploitation of prosumer as a commodity is a new stage of capitalism, in which the borders between play, entertainment, fun and labour are blurred (Fuchs, 2014a: 130-133). Fuchs’ critics are important for understanding the problems behind the participatory culture and the capital’s increasing domination on internet.
Not only new media companies utilise users’ free labour; but also traditional media targets the online labour and cultural practices of audiences. As television companies have to catch up with the transforming communication environment, they try to exist in internet with their media content and products. Within this context, in this paper we tried to discuss interaction of television audiences, fans, and media companies through internet with some examples from TV dramas.
Jenkins(1998) argues that the participatory culture offers the fans routes to recreate the texts for themselves, and emphasises the creativity of fans in popular culture. According to him fans do not only reread the texts, they also rewrite them in a way to respond to their needs and gratify their desires (Jenkins, 1988). The changing structure of the communication environment has also affected the production, distribution and consumption methods of traditional mass media. In relation to this, the traditional media has been trying to exist in internet domain in the name of keeping up with the changing structure of communication. Thus, in United States of America, special web sites have been created for television programmes since the beginning of 1990s. The channels are increasingly preparing content appropriate for multiplatforms and trying to lead online actions of the audience/consumers for increasing audience loyalty as well as pulling the audience into the fictional world that has been created. On the other hand, the audience joins this process by sharing the media content in social media platforms, commenting on them and interacting with the other audiences. Aside from this, the watching experience is changing; trends like time shift in the consumption of television content, multi screen watching experience are becoming widespread. Considering these subjects over the example of Kardeş Payı TV Series which is very popular in social media; both the production company and the TV channel broadcasting the series circulate various content like interviews, normal and uncensored episodes, special scenes, etc on internet, sharing them with the fans of the series. The fans support this circulation by both following the series in the official social media accounts and by creating separate accounts about the series. The audiences/fans are involved with the creative cultural practices by comics, caps etc. even though these are still not very common. Considering the fact that the main purpose for the producers or the channels to share the content of the series in social media is increasing the popularity of the series, practices like sharing of the content, commenting and writing in hashtags in Twitter by the audience or users have commercial value as well as nurturing the culture that evolve around the series. The relation between the audience and the series through social media which is generally encouraged by the channels/producers should be assessed within the context of “free labour”.
One of our observations during our study is that the internet users try to benefit commercially from the media content and their social media popularity. Professional caricaturists or illustrators sharing their own work in the official account of the TV series, some users sharing popular TV series content in ther profiles to gain followers, software developers creating applications related to the series are all examples of this case. Although digital optimists suggest that the participatory culture empowers the user, and contribute a great deal to democratization ; it is clear that new media provide much more freedom to the corporations than the users, and most of the time, the companies are more privileged in adapting to the progress.
Key Words: Participatory Culture, Prosumer, TV Dramas, Free Labour