There is a fun thing about collaboration – it is a bit synergistic. The amazing thing, and the thing most people do not realize, is just how much we engage and collaborate with each other in so many different ways. This is especially true in digital, seemingly isolated environments.
Ito, in his book says that “we are seeing a move toward more individualized and flexible forms of engagement with media environments” (p. 3). This was echoed quite well in this examination on twitter rants vs. movements. While focused on social change, the undeniable reality of being able to unite on a conceivably global scale over any area or issue is… incredible. That is synergy in action. I have also seen this not only in my life personally, but also with my library’s patrons. They love the self-check out machine, for example. They like being able to approach and engage with it on their terms. This spills over into how they place holds (over the phone, perhaps? Through the website? Through our app?). People want customization. They want to do things themselves (engagement) and they want to do it creatively, and on their own terms (individualization).
On page 15 of the Hanging Out book illustrates this idea quite well. Since the inception of fan communities of the 1970s and beyond, there has been a convergence between the concept of creator and consumer. “Fans not only consume professionally produced media but they also produce their own meaning and media products, continuing to disrupt the culturally dominated distinctions between production and consumption.” You just have to turn to nearly any Doctor Who fanwork to see this. But even this goes far beyond fandoms. It extends to any area of passion or engagement, and reaching on multiple levels.
I think the key, as we start diving into this course, is to find the ways where we can create an environment that can serve these two needs best, and to as many people as possible. This, I believe, can and will be an amalgam of both physical and digital mediums and environments. That is why I am so curious (and engaged myself) at the prospect of makerspaces and other such collaborative places as it seems to both fulfill and embody these ideas so well.
Berlatsky, N. (January 7, 2015). Hashtag activism isn’t a cop-out. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/01/not-just-hashtag-activism-why-social-media-matters-to-protestors/384215/
Ito, M. (2009). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.