How do you harness the power and energy of online communities and participatory culture for civic and political good? That is exactly the question that Henry Jenkins raises in the video introducing the questions he is currently examining to better understand how empowered groups of individuals can make a positive impact on society.
Jenkins defines participatory culture as one that everyone participants in producing, consuming and sharing media be it a skateboarding or a politically motivated video clip. Within these communities a folk culture develops as participants share together and learn from one another. This culture produces a bond and unites people around a shared sense of ideas that can serve to make a powerful difference.
In the video one of the key examples mentioned is the Harry Potter Alliance. With over 100k members worldwide this group uses the fantasy world created in the Harry Potter series about good fighting evil to mobile a large number of people to participate in issues around the globe such as the situation in Darfur.
As online communities, social media and participatory culture becomes a more and more prevalent component of society Jenkins proposes that we think about how we can reframe the way we think as citizens and mobile these newfound skills to make positive change on a global level.