Well, I guess first things first and we need to start with some definitions. This is part one.
I assume that you’ve already came across some definition of the terms in title. Keep them in mind as we make our way through the problem of a satisfactory definition – I’ll try to propose my own in the next few posts. There are a few problems with arriving at a satisfactory definition of “prosumer”. The first one is that, what Toffler brought into attention, production or co-produciton of some good as a means to consumption of that good is a model that existed earlier in the past, in the pre-industrial era. So what constitutes a prosumer must be somehow distinguished between a modern consumer and a past prosumer, resp. proto-prosumer.
Second is the aspect of online/offline activity. A question arises: how dependent on the Internet must the behavior of a prosumer be? This is an important question regarding most of the “prosumer” definitions, for those definitions address the significance of online activity, which is caused by online “localization” of some utilities and information, yet emphasizing the offline structure of most end-products.
Third: a prosumer’s interaction with a product vs. a prosumer’s interaction with information about a product and its promotion. If the prosumer should be regarded as a proactive consumer, should the interaction with information/promotion of the product suffice for a generic distinction?
Quick links to other parts: