Participatory Culture

In this weeks lecture we were introduced to a new module, Design for Digital Media Environments. In relation to this, Rob introduced us to the idea of User Generated Content, abbreviated to UGC. As homework to help us contextualise this concept, we were asked to make a contribution to a community based UGC platform, such as OpenStreetMap, Wikibooks, or Zotero.

I chose to look into OpenStreetMap, as I felt I could contribute data to the map. Focusing on my hometown of Banbridge, I zoomed into the main street, to try and identify things that I knew, but which weren’t already on the map. I decided to add a cafe onto the map. It was very easy to do, I simply clicked on the ‘Point’ button and chose where to place it.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.47.20

Then a window popped up for me to insert the information about the point, as shown below:

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.48.16

This gently introduced me to the simplicity of contributing to a UGC community, and also showed me just how useful they can be. Though the map is generated by thousands of users, it is constantly being updated and so shows a very up to date version of the map, one that may show even more detail than Google Maps, for example. The idea that I can contribute to it makes it feel more accessible, and makes me feel like I have earned my use of it.

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