John McCann

FUSE is a common activity

In Human nature, Uncategorized on March 9, 2006 at 9:17 pm

In an earlier post on a Participation Architecture, I wrote about Yahoo’s FUSE model. At the time I was writing this post, I was lukewarm about this model. But in preparing to talk about it in class, I found that is seems like a simple but powerful way to illustrate the difference between how we participate in mass culture and how we can participate in today’s evolving culture.

To review, FUSE refers to finding something, using it, sharing our experience with others and expanding human knowledge by this sharing.

In a mass culture, a few very talented people, working with considerable resources, create new things (products, movies, concepts, articles, books, songs, etc.) and we consume them (use, watch, read, listen, etc.). In this world, we repeatedly go through a version of the FUSE process.

Consider a movie is playing at a theater.

  • We find the movie by reading a movie guide in the paper or online.
  • We use the movie by going to see it in the theater.
  • We share our reactions and thoughts about the movie with friends.
  • We expand our own knowledge base and that of the friends we talk to.

We may go through this process many times a day, whether with a product, article, song, radio program, etc.

We are probably more likely to go through an abbreviated or truncated version of the FUSE model in which we only find and use something, without sharing it with others. Or we may just find new things without using them, such as what happens when you walk around a clothing store and look at the clothes being offered.

In the Participation Age, you would use the same model but with more emphasis on sharing and expanding. Your interest is not just to offer your thoughts and analysis to your friends; it is to offer them to the whole world. You want to participate in the world in the way that is similar to how journalists, script writers, disk jockeys, etc. participate. You want your voice to be able to be heard by anyone.

Perhaps it’s the difference between being a member of the consuming class versus the creative class.

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