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02 NOVEMBER 2008

Copy and Paste Literacy: Literacy practices in the production of a MySpace profile

"If 'participation' is a socially oriented word that challenges the consumption/production dichotomy, then 'remix' may be its technical counterpart to bridge the reading/writing dichotomy. The word 'remix,' originally used to describe the mixing of music samples, has itself been appropriated over the past few years to describe the mixing of a variety of media forms to create new products.17 The Pew Internet and American Life Project used the word 'remix' on a recent study (Lenhart and Madden 2005) of teen content creation, implying the creation of new 'artistic' content from prior media forms.18 But there is no reason to constrain 'remixing' practices to the development of 'artistic' creations as that study defines the term. 19 If 'remixing' is used to describe the technical practices required to blend text, images, video, audio, and games in the creation and maintenance of a MySpace profile, the perception of 'simple' technical feats of copying and pasting links to media, turn into socially complex chains of appropriations of media between people.

Remixing distinguishes itself from typical notions of 'reading' and 'writing.' It parallels Ito's view that participation, 'leads to a conceptualization of the imagination as collectively rather than individually experienced and produced' (5) in that remixing media by copying and pasting is a collective technical practice; people's creations are dependent on each other in many different ways. To adapt diSessa's vocabulary, one could see remixing as a sign of a new, networked material intelligence. Through MySpace and sites like it, knowing how to re–use media in this way, socially and technically, has become foundational for communication and creative expression over the web."
(Dan Perkel)



audioauthorship • blend • collaborationcopy-and-paste culturecultural codes • diSessa • gamesidentityimagesliteracymash-upmediaMySpace • networked material intelligence • ownershipparticipationparticipatory learning • Pew Internet and American Life Project • re-useremixscriptiblesocial interactionvideo


Simon Perkins

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