Participant design: towards sustainable marketing in an age of

Soort object
The media are an integral part of how advanced societies are controlled. After almost a century of ‘broadcasting’, a new media logic can be seen to have emerged. It is not centralized, nor does it appear to depend on manipulative power (such as the priming and framing of news and thereby the agenda of political discussion; or ‘advertising’ as a way to influence consumers to buy particular products). It is the logic of ‘networking’ that is not about producers and consumers but about redaction and multipliers.1 Media content in this logic may in an archeological sense be seen as having an author or a point of origin – but the routes it takes and the way in which it spreads offers new means of community building, identity construction and meaning making which are of much greater interest. In this paper we take a double perspective (business and critical) to assess how the old and the new media logics are both relevant today and what terms are best used to work with and in the media, and to reflect on them. While producers and consumers are the senders and receivers of broadcasting in the age of the nation-state, networking logic has little use for these terms: it also moves away from marketing terms such as eyeballs and stickiness to terms such as spreadability and multiplication and redaction. The perspective of what used to be known as ‘qualitative audience research’ can prove useful to innovative and sustainable marketing and to critical reflection on media culture. Here its restyled form will be called participant design. It suggests that strong marketing respects and co-opts potential customers in much the same way that relevant media criticism is, not given from an external and possibly paternalist but from an inside perspective that highly values self-reflexivity.2