I really enjoyed Jeff’s article Creativity in Amateur Multimedia: Popular Culture, Critical Theory, and HCI which was the reading for Tuesday. The tactic of bringing together three theorizations of creativity to talk about amateur multimedia I thought worked really well. However, I had a few questions. In the telecommunications department, the big buzz words for some time seem to be ‘convergence culture’ coined by the MIT professor Henry Jenkins which essentially refers to the media phenomenon of producer and consumer lines blurring to the extent that media using equals media making. Many of my students take for granted that they are not just passive consumers of media, they update and add information to their facebook profiles, upload videos to youtube and add photos to flickr. These websites wouldn’t exist unless users produced content for them.

I was therefore wondering whether ‘amateur multimedia’ is essentially the same as ‘convergence culture’ or is there a difference? It struck me as slightly strange that departments at IU are talking about the same things, albeit using different approaches and discourses, yet not combining or sharing ideas and concepts with one another. Similarly, I know in CMCL there are many classes which talk about fan culture which machinima and other examples in Jeff’s paper would definitely fit into. Does this mean that informatics, Telecom and other departments are necessarily exclusionary of other discipline’s oeuvres? This is why I really appreciate and respect Jeff bringing critical and cultural studies to HCI because as the paper demonstrates, different theories from seemingly disparate disciplines are actually wonderfully useful and illuminating in one’s own field.

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