Jenkins: ‘From YouTube to Youniversity’

In “From YouTube to Youniversity,” Henry Jenkins takes a look at how online collaboration offers a new model for education.

Jenkins argues that networked culture is enabling a new form of bottom-up power. Cory Doctorow refers to the groups that form in this way as “adhocracies,” social and political organizations with few fixed structures or established relationships and a minimum hierarchy and maximum diversity.

Jenkins applies these concepts to the traditional university system, with its rigid departmental structures. He advocates a “Youniversity” model, in which expertise can be quickly assembled and deployed across dynamically shifting academic fields.

Facebook’s ever-blossoming galaxy of groups and pages are great examples of adhocracies. Did MySpace and Friendster allow for this organic growth of collaborative groups?

This blog includes a series of posts that stem from readings and other source materials in the Fall 2011 “Collaboration in Networked Environments” at The New School. For more Collaboration: Key Concepts posts, click here.

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Jenkins: ‘Worship at the Altar of Convergence’

“Worship at the Altar of Convergence” is the introduction to Henry Jenkins’ book, “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.”

In his introduction, Jenkins explores how people are seeking out and making connections between content across diverse media platforms. This is what Jenkins refers to as “participatory culture.”

A couple key concepts here:

  • Old media never die, but the tools we use to access media content die. These tools are “delivery technologies.” If a medium satisifies a core human demand, it will continue to function even as delivery technologies change. Recorded sound, for example, persists, though now we listen to it on iPods.
  • Media are cultural systems that work on two levels: 1) As a medium that enables communication; 2) as a set of associated “protocols,” or social and cultural practices that have grown up around that technology.

Social networks are examples of new delivery technologies that satisfy a core human demand. For more on this core human demand, see this previous post about the “Architectures of Participation.”
We also can see how social media work on both of Jenkins’ levels: They enable communication and have their own protocols.

This blog includes a series of posts that stem from readings and other source materials in the Fall 2011 “Collaboration in Networked Environments” at The New School. For more Collaboration: Key Concepts posts, click here.