Participatory Culture Report

The culture that @onlyincbus has provided to our group serves as a participatory culture. On the topic of participatory culture, Jenkins mentions that the culture is comprised of skills and information getting passed from someone who “knows a little more to someone who knows a little less”. The social media account is designed to share information about the city of Columbus with the intention of educating those that live here and those that may be visiting in the future about the events, history, and culture that the city has to offer. Jenkins also deems participatory culture as “a social mode of production”. The popular account takes advantage of its platform by sparking conversation and sharing information with modern consumers. 

There are low barriers to participation. As long as participants have an Instagram account, anyone can post to the #onlyincbus and get involved. Participation is also encouraged through commenting, responding to polls, and entering giveaways. The account is supportive of their follower’s participation by often re-posting photos from the #onlyincbus and engaging with those that have contributed to their brand’s hashtag. The result of the accumulated content allows the account to serve as an authority on the current happenings and rich history of Columbus. The account provides a degree of mentorship to followers by accumulating information about the city of Columbus as well as it’s people and the local businesses that inhabit it. Members feel that their contributions matter by being recognized by the account and often spark conversations with other members in the comment section of a post. An example of member interaction can be found here:

@onlyincbus creates transmedia content by expanding their reach beyond Instagram. There is a dedicated podcast and separate website to expand the way content is spread. Providing different avenues for content consumption expands the opportunity for people to interact with the brand. Expanding their reach beyond Instagram allows for those that aren’t on the platform or prefer to interact with other platforms to have a chance to join the conversation and interact with the community. Conversations and information that occur on the podcast are often shared on Instagram and vice versa. This allows for @onlyincbus to introduce audience members to each other despite interactions taking place on other platforms which furthers the sense of community within their culture. 

Content is also easily spreadable due to the nature of social media. While Instagram provides plenty of opportunities for members to share content with their own followers, episodes from their podcast and information from their website are easily shareable via email or on social media as well. The spreadability of content encourages people that may have been unfamiliar with the account to join their community and learn more about the city of Columbus and share experiences of their own. 

Our group was able to consume photos and information focusing on the city of Columbus. In return, we were able to produce images to share that highlight our own personal experiences in Columbus. The conversation that is created is a collage of individual snapshots and experiences that come together to create a sense of community in the city of Columbus. Examples of our participation can be found in our slideshow:

Overall the Instagram account, and the hashtag that it promotes, continues to harbor a really great community that focuses on one thing that everyone there has in common, and that is living in the city of Columbus. The account itself creates a lot of content that is easily accessible to anyone who may want it. The environment that they promote allows others to join in and feel accepted with whatever they may want to post about the city that they live in. It allows people to feel connected with others who live in their city and allows the people who view or post in the hashtag to feel a sense of pride about their city. The content that is made, either on Instagram or elsewhere, is easily shareable in the age of technology, every single post or picture is only one link away from being shared with someone halfway around the world. The hashtag itself grows larger than the Instagram page, and transcends into other forms of social media that allows them. Our experience with both the Instagram page and the hashtag were positive ones and allowed us to feel a little more connected to our “small” city. Below are some images that show off the sheer size of the following. 

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