Thursday, November 27, 2008

BPN 1268 Finland in search of social media (4)

I noticed already in the first posting about Finland, that the Fins are very busy with social media. My friend Jarmo Viteli, director of the Hypermedia Lab, one of the first laboratories in digital media, gave me the book Social Media: Introduction to the tools and case studies d processes of participatory economy. The book is the result of a two year study by Katri Lietsala and Esa Sirkkunen. In this book the authors describe the great variety of practices within the social media. They suggest some general principles how the traditional media could deal with the new situation. The authors show with the help of their case studies what motivates people to participate. The book includes also a short introduction to the Finnish social media history.

The authors describe the great variety of practices within social media. They suggest some general principles how traditional media could deal with the new situation and show with the help of their case studies what motives people to participate.

They list a table of genres and practices:

Content creation and publishing tools:
Production, publishing, dissemination

Content sharing:
Sharing all kinds of content with peers

Social networks:
Keeping up the old and building new social networks, self promotion etc.

Collaborative productions:
Participation in collective build productions

Virtual world:
Play, experience and live in virtual environments

Adoption of practices from one site to another, transforms a service into a feature of another site or adds new use-value to the existing communities and social media sites through third party applications.

The last observation is a sharp one. It basically observes that for example Flickr and YouTube are not social media in the proper sense, but are add-ons ready for use by the communities.

The book offers a brief history of social media in Finland and treats chains of potential media uses and new revenue streams. It goes deep into motivations and creativity of content communities with two case studies of which Star Wreck is a great case. In the background of all this plays open innovation, idea management and crowd sourcing. It specifically treats new forms of content production and journalistic practices.

I did not finish the book yet, but it keeps fascinating. While we in The Netherlands see cross overs in media as the big hype, I guess that we forget about the two-way social aspect involved.

The authors see social media as problematic concept with problematic genres, as is clear from the question mark on the cover of the book. But they recognise use value and exchange value as new values, despite different dynamics of participation. Management and hierarchies are inevitable in these dynamics, but trust and approval are vital in social media.

The book should be downloadable as pdf on the Participatory Economy wiki, but is also to be ordered from Hypermedia Lab, Kanslerinrinne 1, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere (Finland), see

Blog Posting Number: 1268

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