The ubiquity of camera phones, coupled with the increasing mobility of citizens and the rise of digital production as an embedded technosocial practice, is creating incentives for many people around the globe to engage in media creation. Mobile phone users are beginning to explore personal broadcasting through live-streaming video, but little is known about the type of content being produced or how much of that content has civic or community value. At this technological and cultural moment, there is an opportunity to learn not only what is being created, but also how the medium can be embraced as a means of civic participation. This thesis analyzes overall production trends through a content analysis of 1,000 mobile videos on Qik.com, and goes on to investigate the motives and practices behind the production of civic content specifically. Looking at live-streaming mobile video production as a social practice through the lens of civic engagement, it analyzes how and why people are beginning to use this medium to become active citizens for the sake of educating or inspiring others. Research includes mobile production by general users but focuses more narrowly on those who self-identify as activists, journalists, educators and community leaders.
About Audubon Dougherty
UX and product strategist, researcher and designer in NYC. Works at Slalom Consulting.