Bruns’ “Wikipedia: Representations of Knowledge” explores the implications of public participation in journalism and in Wikipedia, specifically. Trends in consumer produsage make a significant impact on economics and our sense of identity as a whole. Bruns views this emerging ‘knowledge space’ as a new horizon for society.
Exploring the accessibility of tools and resources that encourage the development and deployment of produsage projects provides insight to evolving social structures and community culture. Bruns acknowledges that while Wikipedia isn’t the first encyclopedia to enter the world of cyberspace, it certainly provides context for the transition of information from the offline world to the online one. By functioning as an online space that encourages collaboration, Wikipedia serves as a representation of knowledge. As pages are constantly added and edited, Wikipedia stands as an artifact that documents the evolution of both knowledge and progress within a global society.
Creating online communities encourages the progression and accumulation of knowledge that had been separated before. Communities that were once separated due to location, language, or gender, are now able to collaborate in a single space. Collaboration isn’t limited to intellectual topics, reporting, and research. Pages dedicated to entertainment, fandoms, and nontraditional, creative endeavors can build a bridge between different cultures that may have not found common ground on their own. Enthusiasts committed to continually updating their respective pages showcase a dedication to the platform. However, this dedication does not result in authority or superiority because any user can make edits, no matter how involved they’ve been with the specific page or the platform as a whole.
Embracing produsage principles that center around a sense of equal opportunity through platforms such as Wikipedia provides ample opportunity for the exploration of citizen journalism. It’s been proven time and time again that people trust information coming from other people, whether that’s through consumer reviews, blogs, or personal and professional anecdotes posted to social media.
It’s important to acknowledge misconceptions that exist about Wikipedia to this day. The platform is still viewed as unreliable and unprofessional. The shame that surrounds using Wikipedia as a viable source conflicts with their emphasis on users to remain reliable and unbiased. However, it’s understandable that the question of quality comes into play with large levels of produsage on a platform dedicated to the spread of accurate information. While I can’t provide an educational solution to Wikipedia’s reputation, it’s important to recognize the platform as an artifact for produsage and citizen journalism if nothing else.