Jonathon Hutchinson PhD Stage 2 Document

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This research investigates how user-generated content and related audience activities are in the process of transforming and challenging public broadcasters such as the ABC. In the context of a rapidly changing media landscape in which audiences no longer watch and consume content but now also actively participate in the making and sharing of media content, what does it mean to be a public broadcaster? I consider these issues by undertaking a three-year ethnographic study of ABC Pool, the user-generated content space in the Multiplatform and Content Development department, working as the Community Manager. This project will also consider and describe the Community Manager role within a public broadcaster organisation as it negotiates the challenges and opportunities of a shift towards a more participatory and co-creative media landscape.








3. INTRODUCTION / ABSTRACT 3.1 Abstract 3.2 Introduction 4. PROGRAM OF RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION 4.1 Research Problem 4.2 Individual Contribution to the Research Team 5. DESIGN OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH 5.1 Methodology and Research Plan 5.2 Collaborative Arrangement Evidence 5.3 Timeline for Completion of the Program 5.4 Preliminary Literature Review 5.5 Coursework 7

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Collaboration, Connections, and Consequences - A Study into Social Media Production and the Communities that Surround User-Generated Content (UGC). Thesis Type: By Publication 2. THE PROPOSED SUPERVISORS AND THEIR CREDENTIALS Principal Supervisor - Associate Professor Axel Bruns Dr Axel Bruns is an Associate Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi), and a Senior Researcher in the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre. Bruns is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and the editor of Uses of Blogs with Joanne Jacobs (2006; all released by Peter Lang, New York). In 1997, Bruns was a co-founder of the premier online academic publisher M/C - Media and Culture, which publishes M/C Journal and M/C Reviews, and he continues to serve as M/C's General Editor. In 2000, he also co-founded dotlit: The Online Journal of Creative Writing with Donna Lee Brien and Philip Neilsen from QUT's Creative Writing and Cultural Studies discipline. Bruns was the Web developer responsible for QUT's streaming media station EMIT, which began Webcasting in 2002. Bruns' research interests are in produsage (or collaborative user-led content development), blogging, citizen journalism, online publishing, virtual communities, creative industries, creative hypertext writing, and popular music studies. He has published a variety of articles in these fields, many of which can be found at and He also contributes to the group blog with Jason Wilson and Barry Saunders. Associate Supervisors Dr John Banks Dr John Banks is a research fellow at the Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology. He was awarded his PhD in the field of Cultural Studies from the University of Queensland in 2005. His research interests focus on the interface between media corporations and user-led innovation, user-created content and consumer co-creation. He has a particular interest in videogames. He also has an interest in developing models grounded in complexity theory, evolutionary economic theory, game theory, social network analysis and computational adaptive multi-agent modeling for understanding and analysing these co-creative relationships. From 2000-2005 Banks worked in the videogames industry for Australia based Auran Games ( as an online community manager, focusing on the development of user-led content creation networks; he has published widely on research grounded in this industry background. Recent publications include: 2008 With Humphreys, S. ´The Labour of User Co-Creators: Emergent Social Network Markets?µ Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 14 (4): 401-18 2009 ´Co-creative Expertise: Auran Games and Fury ² A Case Studyµ Media International Australia No 130, February: 77-89. 2009 With Deuze, M. ´Co-Creative Labourµ International Journal of Cultural Studies 12.5 September: 419-431. 2010 With Burgess, J. ´User-Created Content and Online Social Networksµ Media and Communication in Australia 3rd ed. Graham Turner and Stuart Cunningham, (eds). Allen and Unwin: Sydney. 295-306. 2010 With Potts, J. ´Co-creating Games: A Co-evolutionary Analysisµ New Media & Society 12(2): 253-270.


He also recently completed a book manuscript, 'Making Co-creative Culture' this is currently under consideration by a leading publisher for publication in 2010-2011. Oksana Zelenko Oksana Zelenko is a design researcher in the Creative Industries Faculty, School of Art and Design. She recently completed her PhD thesis on the use of new media and interaction design to promote children's resilience. She has worked as the interface designer and researcher on ARC funded projects including developing a world first in online visual counselling as part of the QUT Online Visual Counselling Tools project. The new software is currently used by young people across Australia and the Kids Helpline, Australia·s largest youth counseling organization. She designed interactive learning objects for use by university students, and has worked as a designer and researcher on the QUT Resilient Children and Communities Project, based in the Centre for Health Research, QUT. Zelenko has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels across the fields of visual communication, interaction design, electronic creative writing, design of media communication resources, virtual cultures and environments, digital media production and contemporary issues in design. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, including the UN sponsored conference on Engaging Communities. She is currently a co-editor and contributor to a forthcoming international volume of interdisciplinary practice-based research entitled Design and Ethics. Zelenko's broader practice includes the design of interactive and educational programs for cross-cultural training of medical staff working in remote regions across the Pacific, online staff support modules for Queensland Government, and more recently, the design of training modules for health workers at World Vision, China. Zelenko, O, Felton, E, Vaughan, S. (Eds) Design and Ethics: Reflections on Practice, Sense. Forthcoming 2011. Beattie, D, Cunningham, S, Jones, R, Zelenko, O. (2006) ´I use online so the counselors can·t hear me crying·: Creating Design Solutions for Online Counsellingµ, Media International Australia: Culture & Policy, No. 118, pp. 43-52. Zelenko, O. and Hamilton, J. G. (2008) Empowering children as participants in designing resilience strengthening online tools. In: ED-Media 2008³World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, June 30-July 4, 2008, Austria.

Associate External Supervisor Sherre DeLys Sherre DeLys is an audio artist, acting Executive Producer Music at Radio National, and Executive Producer of ABC's Pool. As founder of Pool, DeLys worked with new media researchers, a small team of ABC producers, and community members to establish a collaborative online space inviting the former audience into an open-ended process of cocreation within a creative commons/open-source framework. DeLys· own collaborative radio art has been commissioned by national broadcasters and artistrun internet stations, exhibited at The Pompidou Centre and Kiasma Modern Art Museum Helsinki, presented at Sydney Opera House and Chicago Cultural Center, podcast by The Guardian, and awarded international jury prizes. She co-founded Mind/ Body/ Split, a group of


improvising musicians using pirated and found texts, electronics, tapes, and instrumental sounds. DeLys has created sound designs for STC, hosted conversations with musicians for ABCTV, and has published widely. DeLys is an Associate member of the Centre for Media Arts Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney. She was one of 3 ABC staff selected as trainees for ABC·s first ¶New Media· division in 1994, and was awarded the Australia Council New Media Arts Fellowship in 2002. She has taught at many of Sydney·s university media and arts courses and provided professional workshops and master classes for radio feature makers in Europe, U.S.A, and Australasia. She regularly presents at conferences, festivals, and has published in numerous journals. DeLys, S and Marius F 2006, ¶The Exchange: A Radio-Web Project for Creative Practitioners and Researchers·, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 12, pp 129 ² 135. DeLys, S 1996, ¶The Lyre·s Island: Some Australian Music, Sound Art and Design, curated by Doug Kahn - Contributors· Notes·, Leonardo Music Journal, vol. 6, pp. 111-112. DeLys, S 2010, ¶Out There·, in J Biewen & A Dilworth (eds), Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, 1st edn. University of North Carolina Press, North Carolina, pp.86 ² 95. DeLys, S, Jacobs, J, Bunt, B, Foley, M 2007 ¶The Pool Project·, IEEE MultiMedia, vol. 14, no. 4, pp.c2, 1, 4. 3. INTRODUCTION / ABSTRACT 3.1 Abstract This research investigates how user-generated content and related audience activities are in the process of transforming and challenging public broadcasters such as the ABC. In the context of a rapidly changing media landscape in which audiences no longer watch and consume content but now also actively participate in the making and sharing of media content, what does it mean to be a public broadcaster? I consider these issues by undertaking a three-year ethnographic study of ABC Pool, the user-generated content space in the Multiplatform and Content Development department, working as the Community Manager. This project will also consider and describe the Community Manager role within a public broadcaster organisation as it negotiates the challenges and opportunities of a shift towards a more participatory and cocreative media landscape.

3.2 Introduction The rationale supporting this research is based on the growing increase of user-generated content within media organisations. The research investigates convergent media cultures that are increasingly characterized by media consumers and audiences that participate in media creation with professional media organisations (Banks & Potts 2010; Burgess & Green 2009; Jenkins 2006). My research project specifically examines these topicsin the context of the production of creative content in the ABC·s online research and development community, Pool. Pool is the online space providing an opportunity to incorporate social media into the ABC. The inclusion of user-generated content into broadcast production presents both challenges and opportunities for the community members, traditional media producers, and the public broadcaster. I will be observing, participating in and mapping the changes that occur over the next three years within this space. How do the Pool community members, the ABC staff, the institution, the technology, and the design of Pool interrelate with each other? How do these actors negotiate these relationships? What are the outcomes of these interactions? How will the ABC Pool project evolve to incorporate these changes? I will approach these questions by documenting the dynamics of Pool from my perspective as the Community Manager. The Community Manager role fundamentally involves mediating the relationship between the ABC Pool production team, ABC management, and the online community of Pool users. The role


also entails enabling, encouraging, and assisting a community of volunteers to perform tasks within their online community. (Bacon 2009) As a Community Manager at ABC Pool, I will contribute to editorial meetings, collaborate with producers utilizing UGC for radio productions, and engage with Pool producers on strategies to govern the space and practice. Additionally the role includes overseeing the daily operations of the site, moderating submitted content, conversing and interacting with the community members, stimulating development and discussion within the forums, and situating the Pool community within a wider audience. This role fundamentally involves mediating the relationship between the ABC pool production team, ABC management, and the online community of Pool users. This study investigates participatory media cultures in which audiences and consumers increasingly produce creative content within the Australian national broadcaster. Within this context, I will address the overarching questions: can a creative community such as Pool self manage? What are the contributing factors surrounding the formation of this type of community? What are the challenges surrounding developing such an approach? How will the Pool community members, Pool production team and ABC staff understand and negotiate potential tensions and conflicts of shifting to such an approach? My research will address possible cultural shifts from grass roots input within this public media organisation. Foundational Research The proposed research rests on an established body of knowledge I have acquired of this field, namely my recently completed Honours Research on user-generated content with broadcast outcomes in the ABC Pool community. As part of that study, I have developed an understanding of who the ´super usersµ are and their goals through creative contribution to the online community. These users are key participants and informants for this research. I also have an understanding of the ABC from the work I did as a Research Assistant in 2009. This provided a way to meet the key stakeholders within the organisation, and to further deepen my understanding of the culture. My previous research is an important foundation for this project·s methodology. Having developed a preliminary understanding of the online community, I am able to design the research phases more effectively and select appropriate tools for data collection and analysis. I have established the following preliminary themes: y The areas of interest for the Pool community members, y An initial understanding of the existing tensions between the ABC staff and the Pool community of users as the ABC incorporates participatory media, y How technology and design both enables and constrains use of the platform, y What the role of the Social Media Producer involves, y Who are willing participants for focus groups and in-depth interviews, y Who is incorporating social media into their publishing practices at the ABC, y How the Pool production team design and engage with their guidelines. 4. PROGRAM OF RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION 4.1 Research Problem The overarching question this research project addresses is how does user-generated content and the communities surrounding this activity challenge and transform public broadcasters such as the ABC?The inclusion of Pool·s user-generated content into broadcast production at the ABC challenges the relationships between the actors involved, including the pool community members, ABC staff, the institution, the technology, and the design of the platform. My placement as a community manager within Pool enables me to explore first-hand how the larger framework of the ABC incorporates this type of activity, and what challenges and opportunities arise. My approach to this overall question breaks down into a number of constituent elements.


First, I will examinethe membership of the Pool community using my role as the community manager. By interacting with the users who submit content, post commentary and participate in discussions I will develop insights into the types of interactions that make up the Pool community dynamic. I will ask does the Pool community membership includestudents, media practitioners, artists, co-creators, collaborators, audience members, or ABC staff?I will collect these data using surveys. Second,I will explore how the participants engage with the Pool space. Are they engaging by submitting media content only, or do they engage in other ways? What types of interactions sustain the Pool community?I will use content analysis of participant·s contributions to highlight the answers to this question. Third,as the community manager, I will establish why the users participate in Pool. Early indications suggest that Pool users participate for many reasons including exclusivity of membership, the opportunity to collaborate, community involvement, creativity and inspiration. Pool is associated with the ABC brand, which may also suggest that users are participating to gain recognition from the ABC and to have the chance of their work being used by the ABC. Pool may also be used as a space to store and display the community member·s creative works.I will conduct surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews to establish why Pool users engage in the way they do. Fourth, mapping and analysinghow the users interconnect with each otherwill allow me to address the question of how they work together as a broader community. Who tends to stimulate production? What types of activities occur? What is considered appropriate conduct as negotiated by the Pool members?I will also examine the conditions surrounding heightened participation and what relationship this has to the broader patterns of how the ¶community· operates.I will utilise focus groups to gather initial data, followed by social mapping to understand how these data relate to each other within the organisation of the community. Fifth,I will examine how community managers mediate relationships between users and professional media producers.How can I understand what motivates users to participate in Pool? Based on this knowledge how can I assist them to do what they want to do?Therefore the aim of my role is to understand the conditions which shape community management roles for the participants and the community. The extent of my intervention is determined and shaped by the dynamic of the Pool community including what actions I undertake, how I deliver/perform and when. This forms part of the action research component of my ethnographic work and is informed by my systematic approach through focus groups and in-depth interviews. Sixth, working as the community manager allows me to work with managerial staff at the ABC. These relationships will begin to answer the questions surrounding what a project like Pool contributes to the ABC. Through my embedding as a researcher at the ABC, I have an understanding of the operational policies, for example editorial policies, and I can examine how this affects a community of user-generated content practitioners. The outcomes presented through my interventions will assist inanswering how UGC and its surrounding communities fit in with the ABC·s mission of being a public broadcaster. I will conduct in-depth interviews and focus groups with ABC staff to establish approaches and attitudes to user-generated practices. I will also gather data from other industry professionals working with online communities contributing user-generated content, to identify similar or alternative approaches outside the ABC. Lastly, by understanding projects such as Pool and ABC Open as pilot projects for the further incorporation of UGC into the operations of the ABC, I will be able to explore what this may mean for the ABC in the future. What can we learn from these projects that can be included into


future projects?How does the ABC need to shift and moderate their policies? If the frameworks were different, what could user-generated content potentially do for the ABC? 4.2 Individual Contribution to the Research Team - NA 5. DESIGN OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH 5.1 Methodology and Research Plan This proposed research will draw on principles of qualitative research. More specifically I will use an ethnographic methodology that incorporates aspects of action research. Other qualitative research instruments such as focus groups will supplement this ethnographic approach.

Ethnographic Action Research By being embedded within the Pool community and situated within the ABC this research adopts an ethnographic methodology. Ethnography provides a way to approach social research through participant observation. Hammersley and Atkinson (1995) define ethnography as a methodology that: ´involves the ethnographer participating, overtly or covertly, in people·s daily lives for an extended period of time, watching what happens, listening to what is said, asking questions ² in fact, collecting whatever data are available to throw light on the issues that are the focus of the research.µ (Hammersley & Atkinson 1995: 11) The ethnographic participant observation approach enables me to collect rich qualitative data aboutboth this community and the professional ABC staff and managers working on the Pool project.Ethnographic participant observation however, is not objective, (Fine 2003)and does not claim to be(Hammersley & Atkinson 1995). I am aware of my subjective position within this work as a participant observer and indeed as a community manager working on the Pool project,and will carefully manage the reflexivity implications of this intervention. My distinct position as community manager provides first hand access to the community and thereby allows me to undertakefine-grained and richly textured descriptive research.This approach allows me to gain access to everyday practices and the participants· understandings of their community(Hammersley & Atkinson 1995; Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003).My project draws on similarities with past research projects within the media and cultural disciplinesthat adopt ethnographic methodology to investigate both online communities and media organisations. Georgina Born·s seminal work Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC (2004) was a ten-year ethnographic research project on the BBC. During this time she was able to gain a thorough understanding of the cultures within the BBC, whilst observing the change of two of its historically significant leaders. This ethnographicwork provides an important study of the world·s largest public broadcaster. Nancy Baym·s ethnographic research of online fan communities provides another example of applying ethnographic methodology within the media field. Her book Tune In Log On (2000) is the result of long-term involvement with the online community Rec.Arts.Television.Soaps (R.A.T.S.). Within this research Baym was able to gain an understanding of who participates in these online forums, how they actually do this and what theirincentives are. An experienced ethnographer, Baym outlines at the offset of her study her role as an active participant in the communities she studies, and the subjective nature of her involvement within the space. These works provide helpful models for undertaking ethnographic research that I will draw on. The specific nature of my engagement with the ABC and the Pool project has the implication that it is not simply broadly ethnographic research but more specifically ethnographic action research.´Action research means integrating your research into the development of your project.µ (Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003)Unlike the work of Born, for example, my project sees me


actively involved in the community as the community manager. This position sees me working with the ABC team and offering advice. I am placed between the ABC management team and the Pool community in a mediating role that seeks to improve Pool·s operations and the ABC·s engagement with Pool·s community of users. The research constitutes ethnographic action research as my direct interventions within the site and relationships seek to inform and potentially improve the research participants·practices. John Banks·sresearch of the online gamer communities in the context of a computer games development company (2002) provides an example that demonstrates ethnographic long-term placement in the workplace environment.Banks was employed by Auran Games in the capacity of online community manager. His research also sought to guide and improve the company·s online community management strategies. Unlike Banks, I am not employed by the ABC to undertake this research eliminating the implications surrounding an employment relationship. In that regard, my project has greater similarities to the HeartNET project undertaken by Leesa Costello (Bonniface) (2004). The objective of Costello·s project was to assess the impacts of a shared experience with other heart patients within an online support community. (Bonniface & Green 2007) To gain a better understanding of the patients involved with this community, Costello became the community manager of HeartNET, responsible for building and engaging with this particular group of participants. Through her active participation within the community, Costello was able to advise and improve the lives of participants within the HeartNET community. The position of the researcher within these projects has to be carefully managed. ´The possibility of doing harm, however, was carefully weighed against the likelihood of ¶doing good·, as members valued and seemed to benefit from these discussions.µ (Bonniface & Green 2007)Costello suggests here that the methodological and ethical implications of such active participation within the community need to be carefully and sensitively managed. Ethnographic research has the potential to intervene with the relationships studied, causing a blurring of the boundaries of the research. (Hammersley & Atkinson 1995) Data Collection Methods The following elements, participant observation, field notes, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and data analysis are the key components in my research methodology: Participant Observation Participant observation is a broad research method designed to help researchers to comparatively analyse what participants say they do within the community. ´Participant Observation means engaging with people in as many different situations as possibleµ (Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003). This method remains the characteristic feature of the ethnographic approach and is crucial for understanding the people and the culture surrounding this research topic. I will undertake this method from a ´first-hand experience.µ (Atkinson et al. 2005) The participant observational approach is crucial to my research. As the researcher, I place myself within a position to understand what the community actually does and how they do it ² not just what they say they do. Undertaking the role of the Community Manager of Pool allows me to do this in the most suitable way as I interact both with the whole community and with individual community members. Interaction is performed in many ways including designing ´call outsµ with broadcast outcomes, and commenting on a user·s latest contribution. This engagement provides me with greater interaction and feedback from the community. The Pool members are willing to share their motivations to produce content, their criticisms on the current iteration of the user interface, and are motivated to develop broader online networks with other Pool members. Field Notes


Starting on my first day at the ABC as a participant observer, I have been keeping detailed field notes on day-to-day events. These contain my thoughts, interpretations and insights of these events. They also include emerging themes and relationships for correlation in the mind mapping software that I am using. To date I have identified the following broad themes: convergent culture, examples of user-led innovation, and Community Manager insights. This process allows me to create graphic representations of data for further analysis. Each day I spend an hour documenting community interactions throughout the day within a wiki. Examples of daily occurrences include ² a phone call, a conversation, or an action that helps one of the community members. These notes can be basic or descriptive, or can be more analytical or conceptual. (Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003) By incorporating these concepts into a mind mapping software, the relationship and interaction of emerging themes becomes apparent. Field notes constitute a key research method of the first twelve months of research. The resulted themes will help outline relationships that surround Pool and its community. I anticipate I will have clearly identified potential areas around how the site is managed, why people are creating content, and where the future of Pool may lie. I will have also identified the key participants within Pool, relevant ABC staff, and beneficial external individuals. This will not only benefit my research process by providing a starting point for focus group research, but will also address the outlined development to social media practices within the ABC outlined in the research problem. At this time, I will also have completed my comprehensive literature review. Participants The participants involved are Pool community members, key ABC staff, and other external individuals who serve as Community Managers within their online communities. Participants from Pool will include a mixture of the Community Editors and creative contributors who are active members. The key ABC staff will be Pool team members, management in the Multiplatform and Content Division, other people involved in ABC online communities (for example Hungry Beast moderators, Unearthed Super Users, Online News moderators), and upper levels of management, ideally including ABC Managing Director Mark Scott. External industry contacts Alison Michalk at Fairfax Digital·s Essential Baby, and Venessa Paech at Lonely Planet will provide additional insights into the role of the Community Manager. I am already connected to these external contacts through the Australian Community Managers Roundtable that meet regularly to exchange information from their respective communities. Focus Groups I will conduct focus groups as part of the research process. A focus group is a small group of participants, usually eight to ten from the same community that are gathered to talk about emerging areas of the research project. (Breen 2006) The purpose of conducting focus groups is to gain insights into the benefits of group dynamics - conversation that might not emerge in one-on-one interviews, where conversation is directed. (Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003) I will play a significant role in this process, as it is my job as a Community Manager to stimulate and facilitate the discussion and maintain focus, while not inhibiting any interesting developments. I will use a set of open-ended questions to prompt the discussion. The questions may include the preliminary themes and relationships emerging from my field notes. The areas to be discussed will emerge through my participant observation fieldwork. My field notes suggest the following themes are beginning to emerge: Pool·s democratic space, a flat hierarchy of management, the next stages of Pool, and the impact of Pool on a wider audience. The selection criteria for the focus group·s participants will be constructed and finalised as the fieldwork research progresses. For example, even at this early stage of research the more vocal and constructive members are becoming obvious, along with the more engaged users, suggesting these users for peopled ethnography. Similarly, I am talking with ABC staff to gain insight on who has informed opinions on these emerging research topics.


I acknowledge that I am based in Sydney and this will provide a geographical location for most cases of participants taking part in focus groups. I have included field trips to Melbourne and Brisbane to incorporate a wider Australian voice into this process. Quantitative data indicates that the majority of users are located in Sydney and Melbourne. It is likely these focus groups will address the open structure of Pool, the approach to Pool management, and the wider impacts of the Pool community. In-Depth Interviews I will undertake in-depth and semi-structured interviews. Interviews are a research tool that ´«aim to get the other person to tell their own story in their own words and in their own way.µ (Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003) This method of research works on a more refined set of themes to discuss in a one-on-one basis with people directly involved with Pool, and involved with online communities. In-depth interviews will occur during 2011. The interview schedule will build on the outcomes of focus groups. It will also incorporate the foundational research, and the data from participant-observer fieldwork. Feedback Forms My research design is based upon an iterative process, making feedback essential to its development and refinement. I will endeavour to encourage feedback from the Pool community through my role as the Community Manager. Upon ethical approval my email address will become available for personal communication. The Pool website also has a feedback form set up, providing information on a regular basis from the community members. As I deploy the community management strategies, I will monitor their impact upon the community. From previous research, I know the community members are considerate with information, and if the feedback will improve their site, they contribute their views openly. I will instigate a call for feedback as each action project is rolled out. This call will be performed through a site wide email, and then by individually emailing the more vocal Pool respondents. This information will also be entered into a log journal, where colour coding will highlight common responses from the community.

Data Analysis The techniques and research tools described above outline how I will collect raw field data, enabling me to understand and address the core research questions and topics. In ethnography, time is spent daily to understand what issues are emerging, develop ideas and interpretations to pursue through further investigation, and explore the ideas through all of the different types of material I am gathering. (Tacchi, Slater & Hearn 2003) I will be able to identify and analyse relevant themes and issues from the gathered data. The data analysis is important because it establishes developmental answers central to the unknown issues in the research problem. The established findings will assist in understanding what the community wants and where the shift in agency to a read/write culture may occur. During the methods of participant observation, field notes, focus groups, and in-depth interviews, I will adopt an approach that Hammersley and Atkinson suggest as organizing themes. These organizing themes are ´based on folk models: the terms, images, and ideas that are current in the culture itself,µ (Atkinson et al. 2005) suggesting a structure of categories and frameworks the participants use to understand current practices and relationships. Early indications suggest ideas surrounding Pool·s development and incorporating enabling technology are emerging from the community participants. Additionally models addressing community interactions that highlight new ways of managing the community, or possibly selfregulation, are appearing. These areas suggest how to group themes together from a participant·s perspective.


The data analysis will highlight where research gaps appear and where further work is needed, allowing additional research to take place. This is an iterative cycle, where the research is informing the practice as detailed information is extracted from the gathered data. Social Mapping and Contextualising This research method asks the participants to plot out where they see the boundaries of their space. Within this project, I am asking the participants to refine their understandings of community within the online space of Pool. For example, how do they understand the interactions with each other to define their community? Through social analysis, I will begin to understand how the community socially interacts with each other. ´Categories of production, exchange, organization, communication and inquiry will be used in order to organize and give shape to the information.µ (James, Phipps & Mulligan 2004) I will then visually represent these key thematic concepts to provide an understanding of how they interact with and co-depend upon each other. It also assists in answering the research problem visually, which becomes critical within my second and third year of research as I begin to merge my field data with existing field literature. I am modelling the proposed project·s methodology on an approach utilised in the 2007 project for the Australian Federal Election that relied on citizen journalism and user-created content. Youdecide 2007 draws on connecting the significance of co-created media within an online community and professional media organisations. This project incorporated participating communities and achieved ´a cycle of developing and promoting online resources, evaluating their impact in the Australian mediasphere and public sphere,µ and provided ´insights for further initiatives in citizen journalism and online political communication.µ (Flew & Wilson 2008) The cycle of development and evaluation aligns with my methodology by incorporating the field research data from the Pool community into the research process. I am also incorporating techniques used by another participative online community project with a Community Manager for Western Australians who suffer heart-related episodes. The project included two stages; stage one analysed the online community to understand how it functions, while stage two followed up with interviews of the community members to further understand these behaviours. (Bonniface, Green & Swanson 2005) The HeartNET methodology provides an example on which I am modelling my research to explain how Pool functions, and why it functions this way. My research process will unfold chronologically in the following order: participant observation with field notes, focus groups, in-depth interviews, data analysis, and social mapping and contextualising. At the completion of my second year, I will have collected a considerable amount of data. This includes understanding the characteristics of the community, the position of the community within the ABC, and the role of the Community Manager amongst the tension of participatory media within a public broadcaster. The findings will inform the overarching issue of social production. Do the participants freely offer their production skills to the media organisation, or are there other reasons why they participate within this community? The research findings will not only inform the ABC but also outline the significance of social media projects within other online spaces. I will analyse and interpret the data during the final year. 5.2 Collaborative Arrangement Evidence This research project is working in collaboration with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as I am embedded within the Multiplatform and Content Department·s research and development online social media space, Pool. Currently this role sees me physically positioned within Radio National, providing access to the various in-house producers that are located at ABC Ultimo. I have access to online departments, including the managerial teams of these spaces.


Within this partnership, the ABC has agreed to allow access to departments and information where necessary for my research. For further information on any conditions by the ABC, please refer to the attached Role description and External MOU. 5.3 Timeline for Completion of the Program

5.4 Preliminary Literature Review The current state of the media landscape is ´highly volatile and alteredµ due to ´the explosion of Web 2.0 services and associated user-generated content.µ (Cunningham & Turner 2010: 2) The impact of user-created content is felt across many industries, ´but we need to move beyond a celebratory marveling at the phenomenon of user-created content and to focus on how to think systematically about this phenomenon.µ (Banks & Potts 2010: 254) Participatory cultures have shifted from the edge of economic models to the core (Jenkins 2006), bringing with them complex relationships between the organization and the communities involved (Burgess & Banks 2009). Media organisations acknowledge the need for participatory media, and even recognize the potential that exists within the crowd. Common practice for organisations is to provide and even develop a community of ´usersµ for their product. How to manage these communities and the relationships within their creative communities poses the greatest challenge. The idea of participatory and convergent cultures developed by Henry Jenkins is the starting point for this study, placing the project within the disciplines of media studies and cultural studies. Participatory media is noted in Henry Jenkins· Convergence Culture (2006), and is supported by the work on the networked economy in Yochai Benkler·s book, Wealth of Networks (2006). Both authors argue for the importance of the consumer perspective upon changing media and cultural practices. Jenkins suggests the media we produce and consume is convergent, although he concludes media convergence is crossing over into a political space. Benkler (2006) notes that through improved technologies, Web 2.0 and the Internet, we are more inclined to socially produce. Improved production possibilities may contribute to the popularity of the Internet and provide people with tools to participate. Pool was created as a platform to demonstrate this increased opportunity to produce and publish content. The characteristics of convergence cultures are incessantly being negotiated. Jenkins describes the phenomenon as ´where old and new media collide, where grass roots and corporate media


intersect, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways.µ (Jenkins 2006: 6) The boundary lines of mass communication are repositioning. The producer and the consumer are partly taking on each other·s role in a way that neither is completely certain about. ´Convergence is customarily used to describe the dissolving distinctions between media systems, media content and the resulting trade between systems.µ (Cunningham & Turner 2010: 6)The cultural characteristics also imply it is not just media that is converging; it is a convergence of policy, industry, and technology. (Dijck 2009) Technology is of significance and impacts upon this research, particularly the enabling aspect of technology literature. Key scholars engaging with this discussion are Raymond Williams (1989) and Jonathon Zittrain (2008). How we use these technologies has significance upon the technology itself with vast social impacts. ´People say ¶television has altered the world·, or ¶radio has altered the world·, or, reaching further back, ¶printing altered the world·. And we usually, at first, know what these statements mean. Evident and widespread social effects have undoubtedly followed the uses of all these inventions. But then, in expanding the statements in this way, we have already ² and sometimes without noticing it ² introduced a further category: that of uses.µ (Williams 1989: 175). The technology surrounding user-generated content has improved social networking, but it is the flow on from this concept that is of mass social significance. ´The Web 2.0 concept captured features that have long been seen as central to the Web as a communication infrastructure, such as the scope for mass participation, real-time interactivity, collaborative learning, and social networking.µ (Flew & Wilson 2008: 25) It is these ´usesµ that provide opportunities and complications for public media organisations. Technology development does not determine the social and communicative opportunities within Pool, however technology does shape the way in how the space is used. Jonathan Zittrain approaches this ´locked downµ or ´gatedµ situation versus a generative approach. Generativity provides ´accessibility to people all over the world ² people without particular credentials or wealth or connections ² who can share the technologies· power for various ends many of which were unanticipated or, if anticipated, would never have been thought to be valuableµ (Zittrain 2007: 51) This generative approach impacts upon Pool and its approach towards open design. Pool has been designed incorporating the lowest barrier to entry by utilizing a flat and non-gated platform. However is this really the case? What is the effect of these ´gatesµ that appear when design is introduced to Pool? Zittrain also suggests within his book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, the innovative edge of the Internet is under threat. If we are locked into platforms, or proprietary systems, how can new ideas emerge from within our existing practices? Zittrain outlines four specific areas of generativity, additional to the description above, that engage the openness of design. The design must have strong leverage against possible tasks; it must adapt to the range of tasks; it must be easy to master; and it must be accessible. (Zittrain 2008) How does this idea of generativity shape the Pool space considering the community·s wants, desires, and technological aptitude? In addition to technology, media organisations in general are grappling with ideas surrounding user-generated content including policy and distribution. There has been a mixed reaction to accessing content; some media organisations are embracing the new query culture (Lovink & Scholz 2007) while others are locking down access. (Burgess & Banks 2009; Green & Jenkins 2009) The evolving audience is informed, educated, and inspired to engage and contribute to the conversation, however they too are struggling with the interrelationship of the media organisation. (Jenkins 2006) A new publishing space has been established for users to contribute their creative work, enabling new community practices within media organisations. This incentive is the importance of user-created content impacting on culture and media organisations, leading to a continually renegotiated relationship between audience and broadcasters. (Burgess & Banks 2009)


The extent of involvement of the participating audience is unclear, however it is obvious the inclusion of this external opinion is crucial to media practice. ´Consumer participation is also increasingly part of the environment in which media professionals do their traditional production work. Their daily work practices and routines are unsettled and challenged by the need to involve increasingly demanding and unruly users in the process of making and circulating media content.µ (Burgess & Banks 2009: 300) This emerging idea of the shifting expertise between professional and amateur is current within the media industry field. The professional media producers of the ABC recognize the skills present within the participating audience, but how they incorporate these ´unruly usersµ is the challenge faced by this media organisation. An opportunity exists within this research to examine the effects on the ABC workforce including the audience media production within their daily work practices. This signifies the importance of understanding the characteristics of the members can vary greatly whilst investigating the types of participant communities constituting an ABC usergenerated community. ´Their motivations may be purely personal and expressive; they may be driven by a desire toform and participate in communities of interest; or their participation may be entrepreneurial in nature (building an audience, aspiring to a career)µ (Burgess & Banks 2009: 299). The characteristics expressed here are significant to those of the Pool community. This is obvious within earlier observational work done this year on Pool, and compliments the work done by the Australasian Centre of Interactive Design (ACID) during 2009. The Interim Report released outlined the following: ´Students saw Pool as a place to display their work, to build a portfolio and a professional reputation. Other users came to Pool with the simple intent of storing their work« To others, story telling was a main motivator« To these people, Pool could be a great collection and archive of Australian stories, and one that they wish to contribute to.µ(Foley et al. 2009: 11) Emerging literature takes this discussion further by introducing new incentives or motivations for participating audiences. In Co-creating Games: a co-evolutionary analysis (2010), John Banks and Jason Potts suggest fans participate for reasons other than market driven desires. A relationship exists between different and even conflicting incentives for these types of audiences to engage with creative content. It is apparent that incentives such as professional stature are as enticing as monetary gain within organisations that are non-market orientated. Scholars are debating the characteristics of these relationships between market and nonmarket, commercial and non-commercial and how the participants position themselves and participate within these organisations. Fans and prosumers are well aware of the tension existing between the often gift economy incentives and motivations for making and sharing user-generated content and the more bottom-line profit driven incentives of commercial media platform owners. Henry Jenkins and Joshua Green refer to these tensions and conflicts as the ´moral economyµ implications of usergenerated content. The ABC is a non-commercial media organisation, but operates within a media market. The participants of the co-created spaces associated with the ABC therefore do not have the opportunity to commercially benefit from the content they are producing. Why then does the audience participate if it is not for the mutual benefit of knowledge or to gain commercial benefits? Is it as Banks and Potts suggest, for professional leverage? For the moment, a temporary understanding has been realized, strengthened within the produsage example. Bruns outlines in his description of produsage, ´a more benign corporate embrace may produce benefits to both industry and community« Positive commercial take-up of produsage ideas and principles will similarly help to accelerate trends while maintaining industry sustainability.µ (Bruns 2008: 24) As this paradigm shift occurs between the producer and the consumer, and expertise transfers between the two, ´this requires media companies to recognize and respect the contribution of media consumers· expertise in the context of a co-creative relationship for mutual benefit.µ


(Banks 2009: 15) Banks suggests this approach is indeed positive for traditional gatekeepers to pursue as new knowledge and techniques are established and negotiated. However it is a negotiation that relies upon ´co-creation,µ (Banks 2002) a practice still being negotiated by consumers and producers. Within the context of this research project, the ABC is that producer that gains from the potential benefits, yet what these benefits are is still unclear. Critical approaches and perspectives on user-generated content are also currently emerging through the works of scholars such as Benkler (2006), Shirky (2008), Bruns (2008), and Jenkins (2006) who all believe in the social benefits demonstrated through co-creation as a practice: ´it is possible for creative work of individuals participating in the blogosphere, on photo-, music-, and videosharing sites, and in the other related environments to be seen by millions, and it is possible for individuals therefore to emerge as the new stars of these grassroots communities at least for a short moment.µ (Bruns 2008: 32) Greater exposure to a wider audience is merely the beginning for these types of ´prosumers.µ (Toffler 1980) ´Shareable goodsµ as Yochai Benkler describes them, provide an insight into larger social implications. By removing the market, a typical economic approach of supply and demand, essentially the inferior products disappear ´thereby improving the overall quality of supply.µ (Benkler 2005: 281) The need for governance begins to fall away in this instance as a true democratic, flat hierarchy begins to emerge. These reasons may be the motivations to contributing to participatory online communities. These critical approaches also address the current debate surrounding social production ² are media organisations exploiting a free labour force to produce content, (Green & Jenkins 2009; Lovink & Scholz 2007) or is there a deeper, non-market social benefit? (Benkler 2006; Bruns 2008; Lessig 2004; Shirky 2008) ´Free Cultureµ as Lovink (2007) points out, ´is blossoming,µ but what is constituted as over-use of the ´gift economyµ and user generated content? This labour practice has been referred to by Lovink and Scholz as ´a form of unpaid outsourcing of creative labour, contributing to the downsizing of internal production teams.µ (Lovink & Scholz 2007) The cost savings an organisation could potentially make on this business model provides more than enough incentive to encourage incorporation of user-created content within their practices. ´Now it doesn·t matter where the laborers are ² they might be down the block, they might be in Indonesia ² as long as they are connected to the network.µ (Howe 2006) These perspectives are both different and competing about the practice of user-created content. Scholars such as Scholz and Lovink are criticizing the work of Jenkins for ignoring questions such as labour implications of user-generated content. This research provides an opportunity to contribute to these debates by considering how these activities impact on the working lives of media professionals at a public broadcaster. Institutionalized media professionals are negotiating the significance of user-generated content upon their own practice. The role of the Community Manager is key to understanding this relationship, or tension as it referred to, between the professional and the amateur. The Community Manager at Pool acts as a translator between the community members and the broadcast professionals. At times neither agency completely understands the other, and has been referred to as ´herding catsµ by Jono Bacon. There is little literature published on this role of managing a community, particularly within a public broadcaster. Laurel Papworth provides a contextual insight into this Community Manager position in her blog, ´The Business of Being Social.µ A Community Manager does have traits common amongst most online communities. ´Our function as community leaders is to enable people to be the best they can in the community that they have chosen to be a part of. Our job is to help our community members achieve their greatest ambitions, and to help them work with other community members to realize not only their own personal goals, but the goals of the community itself.µ (Bacon 2009: 6) Understanding the goals of the Pool community within the ABC presents a reason to investigate this group of


´prosumers.µ (Toffler 1980) Managing the inclusion of user involvement at the ABC, coupled with the surrounding policy, suggests a dichotomy of anxiety and reward. The generated literature this investigation produces will become a resource for other Community Managers within public broadcasters. Incorporating the Community Manager within this context highlights a shift between the producers and the consumers. The transformation of expertise may be apparent and builds on the work by Axel Bruns around produsage. ´It highlights that within the communities which engage in the collaborative creation and extension of information and knowledge« the role of consumer and even that of end user have long disappeared, and the distinctions between producers and users of content have faded into comparative insignificance.µ (Bruns 2008: 42) The participants of Pool are part of this movement that erases the distinctions between producer and consumer of creative content, whether they are aware of it or not. Either way, they are a key group to study the effects of produsage on the public broadcaster. There is perhaps a need for professionals and amateurs to work together in these relationships, possibly more so now than before. ´In reality, it is not true that there is a participatory ¶revolution· occurring, in which amateur content producers are simply taking over from media professionalsµ (Burgess & Green 2009: 15). This Burgess and Green quote confirms a connection Pool has between the participant community and the broadcaster. Both the professional and the amateur have a creative story to tell, and a certain voice to project on the production of this creative content. The ideas displayed by the crowd demonstrate a new voice and direction, strengthened by the professional skill the in-house ABC media professionals can contribute. Pool is the ideal space and online community to examine the outlined gaps in knowledge. As a user case, the research and findings from Pool will contribute to current and emerging debates within the media and cultural studies disciplines. 5.5 Coursework IFN001 Advanced Information Retrieval Skills (AIRS) aims to improve my research skills in the library databases, journals, books and online material. It encourages me to find appropriate search terms within my research field, include generic search functionality, engage with advanced systems like RSS feeds, and document my research adequately using Endnote software. There are no prescribed texts for this program and assessment is within a reflective journal and reflective log that records my progress. KKP601 Approaches to Enquiry within the Creative Industries furthers this research by critically evaluating the relevance of the information I am farming. It is useful to understand the structure of post-graduate work, approach the research using alternative frameworks, understand academic protocols like ethics and plagiarism, and how to use critical enquiry. The assessment works in conjunction with this stage 2 document, as I have to present an oral presentation on my methodology and a 3000-word literature review. Key readings include: Denzin, Norman K. and Lincoln Yvonna S. (2000) Introduction. In Denzin, Norman K. and Lincoln, Yvonna S (Eds.) The Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications. 6. RESEARCH ETHICS / STATEMENT I have submitted my application for ethics approval. I am applying for Human Low Risk Ethical clearance, as I am mainly utilising information that is in the public domain and from interviews, am screening participants, and I am excluding minors within my research. 7. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY STATEMENT QUT does own the intellectual property rights, I have signed the Assignment Deed, and the paperwork is in progress.



Atkinson, P, Coffey, A, Delamont, S, Lofland, J & Lofland, L 2005, Handbook of Ethnography, 3rd edn, Sage, London. Bacon, J 2009, The Art of Community, O'Reilly Media, Sebastopol. Banks, J 2002, 'Chapter 8: Gamers as CO-creators : Enlisting the Virtual Audience - A Report from the Net Face', in M Balnaves, T O'Regan & J Sternberg (eds), Mobilising the Audience, University of Queensland press, Brisbane, p. 188. ---- 2009, 'Co-Creative Expertise: Auran Games and Fury - A Case Study', Media International Australia, vol. 130, p. 13. Banks, J & Potts, J 2010, 'Co -creating Games: a co-evolutionary analysis', New Media and Society, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 253 - 70. Benkler, Y 2005, 'Sharing Nicely: On Shareable Goods and the Emergence of Sharing as a Modality of Economic Production', The Yale Law Journal, vol. 114, no. 273, pp. 273 - 358. ---- 2006, The Wealth of Networks, 1st edn, Yale University Press, New Haven. Bonniface, L & Green, L 2007, 'Finding a new kind of knowledge on the HeartNET website', Health Information and Libraries Journal , vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 67 76. Bonniface, L, Green, L & Swanson, M 2005, 'Affect and an Effective Online Therapeutic Community', M/C Journal, vol. 8, no. 6. Breen, R 2006, 'A practical Guide to Focus Group Research', Journal of Geogrpaphy in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 463 - 75. Bruns, A 2008, Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, Peter Lang, New York. Burgess, J & Banks, J 2009, 'User-created Content and Online Social Networks', in S Cunningham & G Turner (eds), The Media and Communications in Australia, 3 edn, Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, pp. 295 - 306. Burgess, J & Green, J 2009, YouTube: online video and participatory culture , Polity Press, Cambridge. Cunningham, S & Turner, G 2010, Media and Communication in Australia , 3 edn, Allen & Unwin, Sydney. Dijck, Jv 2009, 'Users Like You? Theorizing agency in user -generated content', Media, Culture & Society, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 41 -58. Fine, GA 2003, 'Towards a peopled ethnography : Developing the ory from group life', Ethnography, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 41 - 60. Flew, T & Wilson, J 2008, 'Citizen Journalism and Political Participation - The Youdecide 2007 project and the 2007 Australian Federal Election', Australian Journal of Communication , vol. 35, n o. 2, p. 22. Foley, M, Yuille, J, Marmo, C & Stanton, R 2009, Pool User Research, Australasian Cooperative Research Centre for Interactive Design, Melbourne. Green, J & Jenkins, H 2009, 'The Moral Economy of Web 2.0', in J Holt & A Perren (eds), Media Industries: history theory and method, Wiley-Blackwell, Maiden MA, pp. 213 - 25 & 31 - 44. Hammersley, M & Atkinson, P 1995, Ethnography Principles in Practice, Routledge, London. 17

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