Produsage and Instagram

After Instagram recently hit 200 million users, the platform has undeniably become one of the leading applications in today’s user generated environment. It is this collaborative, participatory environment that the break down of boundaries between producers and consumers has led to all participants becoming users and producers (produsers) of media content (Bruns).

Instagram has taken on board this notion of produsage in its entirety. With Bruns defining produsage as “the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement,” meaning that the instagram platform is a never ending cycle of progression.

Bruns identifies four characteristics of Produsage that can be applied to Instagram.

  1. Organisational shift: meaning the transition from dedicated individuals and teams to a wider range of community participants that can individually contribute to content. Instagram encourages anyone to actively contribute by posting, following, liking and commenting on photos.
  1. Fluid movement: refers to individuals of status as leaders, participants, and users and the background of such, ranging from professional to amateur. Instagram is often used for marketing and advertising purpose, which enables users to follow high profile companies. In conjunction to this, the app is also used as a form of social networking or a hobby to which everyday individuals can engage in.
  1. Unfinished: unfinished speaks for itself, artefacts are not products; they are in a sense incomplete and constantly under development. Instagram updates the app every few months and continually is adding new features or enhancing the previous ones. This highlights the advancements in technological outlets.
  1. Permissive: inferringthat produsage employs copyright systems that recognize the source while prohibit unauthorized use. With Instagram being user-generated there is a significant amount of freedom given to the users, which has in turn led to copyright issues. Despite Instagram stating that if you take a photo then you own the copyright to it, there has been concern surrounding Instagrams ability to use photos. This is where licenses such as Creative commons have been established to counteract this.


Bruns, A., 2007, ‘Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation’ in ‘Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6′Washington, DC,



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