The Sims – Produsage at its Finest

Sims 3 Character Interaction

The Sims, a computer-based simulation video game published by Electronic Arts (EA), is a perfect example of produsage. I have been an avid Sims player since the original came out in 2000. Throughout my discussion, I am referring to The Sims 3, as it is the newest available version of the game, and is the most produsage-friendly.

In The Sims, the player creates characters, houses, and neighborhoods to fit their fancy. The game comes pre-loaded with a ton of material to work with – everything from black high-heels to green refridgerators. Players create their own Sims (the people) who wander around and interact with a world they’ve created for them to play in. It is nearly impossible for any two player’s games to be exactly the same, as there are so many options to work with.

How The Sims becomes a product of produsage is with its online community. This community allows Sims players to upload their own content to share with others. This content can be everything from photos of their Sims cooking, to a whole family storyline.

Even bigger than that though, is the community’s download center, known as The Exchange. This is where players can upload new objects to be used in the game. This really opens up the produsage aspect of the game. Regular, everyday users are creating new items, hairstyles, furniture, artwork, etc. etc. to be used by other players in their games.

If playing as Mortimer Goth (one of the classic pre-loaded Sim characters) isn’t turning your crank, how about try Marilyn Manson instead? Well, you can either try to create a Manson character yourself, or simply go to The Exchange, he’s there.

The Sims Version of Keira Knightley’s Oscar Gown

All the content in The Sims is completely customizeable, and if you spend a little extra time, you can create new pieces that don’t even exist yet. For example, if you wanted your Sim to wear your favorite AC/DC t-shirt, you can create it. Or maybe you prefer to recreate a stunning dress from the Oscars.

Here’s how The Sims fits Axel Bruns’s four key principles of produsage:

  1. “Open participation, communal evaluation” – Anyone can add content to The Exchange or to their own Sims game. The evaluation part comes in the download process, the more downloads a particular object has, it will rise to the top of the list.
  2. “Fluid heterachy, Ad Hoc Meritocracy” – The Sims allows for users to get in and play with objects in a form that is normally only available to those creating the video game.
  3. “Unfinished artefacts, continuing process” – The Sims community is always open, and new content is always being added. Plus a player’s individual game is constantly in a state of rebuilding. Moving families, adding rooms to houses, putting in a new diner across the street. Its always changing, never complete.
  4. “Common property, individual rewards” – The Sims is not owned by one person, neither is the online community. Instead, each player can contribute to it, giving them each a piece of the pie.
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ProdusageForDummies on the wiki

As I was reading the required pages of Axel Bruns’s produsage concepts, I realized that his use of words is confusing and hard to understand. It was clearly written for a more sophisticated, knowledgable audience.

While I understood the concepts presented, I found reading the pages to be quite laborsome. So I decided to create a new page on the wiki called ProdusageForDummies to help break it down into more understandable ideas.

Feel free to add your notes on the page, to help us all better understand what produsage is.

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The Past is the Key to the Future

After putting together a list of my accomplishments thus far in Weblogs and Wikis class, I have become aware of what I have learned and what I would still like to know more about or do more with.

I also created this Timeline as a way of organizing my progress for the class.

These are things that I have noticed while taking time to reflect and putting together my TimeToast timeline:

  1. My work tends to come in clumps, especially around the times when we started new topics. The last couple of weeks have been sparse in activity in comparison to the prior weeks.
  2. Blogging is my favorite part of the class, and I will continue to blog as often as possible. My blog posts include tutorials, reflections of my understanding of materials, and repurposings.
  3. My blog comments are often complimentary, giving encouragement and insights into what others are doing.
  4. In my opinion, I have not made enough use out of Twitter or Delicious. I would like to do more with these two sites.
  5. I have only done one major edit on the Wiki but I have made a good number of small corrections throughout.
  6. The required readings have been valuable assets to my understanding of blogging and wikis. The class would be seriously lacking without them.

Here are some projects and ideas for what I would like to accomplish in the rest of the class:

  1. Add more to the Wiki, including making use of my own WikiName page.
  2. Get more out of using Twitter and Delicious.
  3. Comment on and pingback to blogs written by people outside of my classmates.
  4. Make a Prezi.
  5. Add more photos to Flickr account, find other uses for my photography.
  6. Read the remainder of Rettberg’s Blogging and Chatfield’s Wikis
  7. Use the above projects, or others to enhance my understanding of blogs and wikis, while utilizing my interests of writing, photography and business.
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A look back at what I’ve done so far …


Signed up for WordPress, Delicious, and Flickr. New to all of them, previously blogged on Blogger.

Revived existing Twitter account. Used before, not much.

Signed up to edit the Weblogs and Wikis wiki. Totally new to wikis – other than reading stuff on Wikipedia.

Blog Posts

Deliberate Sabotage? – First blog post. Noted errors in the class syllabus and thought they might have been an intentional project for later in the class. 1 Comment, 1 Reply, 1 Pingback.

Adding a header image to WordPress blog – Gave a tutorial on putting a new picture into a blog header, as I had already done. Posted a link as a full URL. 1 Comment, 1 Pingback.

Whatsa Widget? – An explanation of widgets, what they are and how to use them. Decided to write it after playing around with widgets on my own blog. First use of linked text. Added a personal touch by linking to photos on my Flickr account. 1 Comment, 1 Reply.

Social Media Marketing Part I: Why? – I have always had an interest in business and I am taking a minor in it. The use of social media as a marketing technique has fascinated me, so I decided to do research on it and write a two-part blog post about it. This was part one. First use of images in a blog – linked the images to give credit. 1 Comment, 1 Pingback.

What do Plato, Jill Walker Rettberg, my American Lit professor, and Robert Frost all have in common? – This was a fun post, I was able to relate text I had read in Rettberg’s book about Plato’s thoughts on the written language to things going on in my everyday life. I also related them to blog culture in general. First use of embedded video. Used Wordle and embedded it. 2 Comments, 1 Reply.

WikiClueless – Confession that I didn’t know that much about wikis prior to this class and a recognition of the possibilities they offer. Found and linked to a couple of wikis about things I am interested in.

Edited Wiki Page: MobileBlogging – A log of what I did to an existing page on the Weblogs and Wikis wiki.

Social Media Marketing Part II: How? – Part two of my anaylsis of social media marketing. Gave a pingback to part one. Added several further readings and a video.


Tweeted 10 times with relevance to hashtag en3177. Used it mostly to say what I was working on in the class, or to share my work.

Social Bookmarks

Used to save things I found interesting on the web. Though I must admit I haven’t added everything I’ve linked to in blog posts. Here are bookmarks I made that are relevant to the class. For more see my Things I’ve Read/Browsed section.

Intro to Blogging from WordPress CodexWikimedia Commons Photography Wiki Gossip Girl Wiki 50 Ways Marketers Can Use Social Media to Improve Their Marketing

Wiki Edits

CourseStatement2011  – Made minor corrections to grammatical and spelling errors. First wiki edit. First time ever contributing to a wiki.

DestinyHarmoning – Played with in class, then erased all of it because it was arbitrary information used to practice on a wiki.

CollaborationConventions – Corrected errors as I was reading.

StyleGuide – Corrected errors as I was reading.

MobileBlogging – Revamped the entire page, expanding upon ideas already on the page but reworking them into a cohesive narrative. Added more information and an image. Still a work in progress – as wikis always are.

WikiStyle – Corrected errors as I was reading.

WikiTerms – Corrected formatting so as to be uniform throughout page. Added definitions to some terms, added a few new terms to be defined.

HomePage  – Corrected errors as I was reading.

Blog Comments

Just adding my two cents – These comments are me giving my thoughts and insights on the subjects at hand.

About Robert Frost Blogging as JournalismDeath of Printed Word Web 2.0 Teaching

Question and answer – These comments are answers to questions posted and are basically how-to bits.

Pixelated HeaderPartitioned Blog

Relating to one another – These comments are about identifying with one another on a personal level and about explaining where I come from on certain topics.

Professor’s Unintentional Errors My Photography – Shared Interest in Art one and twoAnnoying OrangeBSU Cuts

Things I’ve Read/Browsed

The Daybook – Browse through all posts, read which ones I am interested in

Morgan’s Log – Read professor’s weekly analysis of what the class has been up to.

Blogging by Jill Walker Rettberg – Chapters 1-5

The Complete Guide to Wikis by T. Brian Chatfield – Chapters 1-2, 7-8

Wide Open Spaces by Brian Lamb

Above and Below the Double Line by Professor Morgan

Learn WordPress: Get Customized

Widgets on WordPress

Associated Press article on Pepsi

Study of Social Media Marketing by McKinsey & Company

The Social Media Marketing Blog by Scott Monty

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Social Media Marketing Part II: How?

Using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, social bookmarking, blogging, etc. to enhance marketing strategies is a smart idea for most businesses. See my first post on this topic Social Media Marketing Part I: Why? for more information about why to start a social media marketing strategy.

Once a business has made the decision to start a social media marketing campaign, the next question that arises is how to go about doing so. Here’s my five-step process for getting started:

That's Business Baby!

Step 1 – Sign up. Make a Facebook page for your business, add a Twitter account, get a blog started on WordPress or Blogger, and get a social bookmarking site going at Delicious, Stumble Upon, or Diigo. These sites are relatively easy to sign up at, just follow the prompts from their homepages. When signing up, it is beneficial to utilize a special email address specifically for social media use, as it will allow for easy organization of social media content. Set up this email address before signing up for any of the recommended sites.

Step 2 – Add content. Get in there and get posting. More content draws in more people. Put up pictures from the company’s fall picnic on Facebook, Tweet about the latest developments on the production line, blog about the company’s recent investments, and add relevant websites to the social bookmarking page. Be sure to add as many tags as possible to every blog post and bookmark, and add relevant hashtags on Twitter. This increases search-ability.

Step 3 – Acquire new readership. The easiest way to get more potential customers on social media sites is to continue to put content up. Other strategies can be utilized as well. Take this idea for example: I began following @theknot, a magazine for weddings, on Twitter. I have utilized The Knot for the majority of my wedding planning, so upon following them, I decided to tweet “I don’t know how I could plan a wedding without @theknot”. Not only did I get a friendly response from @theknot, but I also noticed within a couple of days I had a few new people following me. Turns out they were people in the wedding industry, photographers and what-not. They followed @theknot to find potential customers and began following those potential customers in hopes that they would also follow them, in turn perhaps gaining a new customer.

Step 4 – Engage customers. No one wants to be constantly hassled with advertising plies on their social media. The idea is to provide customers with interesting and engaging content. It is a bad idea to have a Twitter feed full of tweets like this: “sale this saturday at noon”. That’s plain advertising. Potential customers will get annoyed and move on quickly. Instead find interesting new ways to engage customers such as providing them with unexpected content.

Step 5 – Provide customers with benefits. To keep readership up, offer special discounts or promotional materials only to those who Like your page on Facebook and who are following you on Twitter. Everyone likes to feel like an insider, so reward those who are participating and they will surely tell their friends.

There are numerous strategies to utilizing social media for marketing purposes. The main idea is to get out there and make it happen. Try new things, if they don’t work, don’t use them, if they do work, keep doing them. Just remember, the more content you have, the more possibilities for reaching, engaging, and keeping your customers.

For further reading:

The Social Media Marketing Blog by Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company

50 Ways Marketers Can Use Social Media to Improve Their Marketing

Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day – book available at

Here’s a related and interesting video from Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day author Dave Evans:

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Edited Wiki Page: MobileBlogging

I looked around at the pages on WeblogsAndWikis for quite some time, trying to decide what I should write about for my class assignment. I came across an existing page titled MobileBlogging. Since I have a smart phone, a netbook, and a laptop, I am all about doing things on the go. So I found my project.

The page was short, but had some good ideas on it- though the ideas were incomplete and the wording was in definite need of an overhaul.

I enhanced what was there by explaining things in more detail and added an image from Wikimedia Commons. I had some fun by linking the page to other wiki pages and gave a few suggestions for some new pages to be produced.

I still think the page needs work, but isn’t that the wiki nature? These pages will continue to be revisited and revised until they sit in a nearly perfect state. Then someday, someone will come along and see something is missing, and the process will begin again.

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So I have a confession to make – I, like probably many others before me, thought a wiki was just an encyclopedia of information compiled by anyone. This is probably due to the fact that Wikipedia is by far the most well-known wiki out there.

Confession number two – I also thought that anything with “wiki” in its name was a by-product of Wikipedia. Like subgenres, if you will.

Not until I read several chapters in T. Brian Chatfield’s book The Complete Guide to Wikis did I realize what a wiki truly is, and what it can accomplish. Confession number three – I am amazed at the possibilities, and at my lack of understanding of this intriguing medium.

I have learned that wikis come in all forms, but the three main categories are Content wikis, Process wikis, and Community wikis. Each of them have their own unique characteristics. Wikis come in all shapes and sizes, and feature things like dictionaries, baseball facts, recipes, weddings, government intel, charity projects, video games, and business proposals – just to name a very few.

So this sparked my curiosity. I had to go and see what was out there on the web. I am amazed to find that there is a wiki for many of the things I enjoy. Such as this Gossip Girl wiki for a television show that I watch religiously. And I am excited to find this photography wiki. I can’t wait to dive more into it as it has loads of information I am interested in reading.

In conclusion, my eyes have been opened to an entirely new medium in which I can explore and enjoy the world wide web. I look forward to learning more about wikis in my Weblogs and Wikis class, and eventually branching out and working on other wikis.

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