Abstract: This article conceptualizes acting on media in terms of different interplays between focal actors, users, and user communities. It is argued that—in times of mediated visibility, the increasing entanglement of social and technological change, and accelerated feedback loops—arenas of negotiation emerge and therewith the complexities of relations between producers and users increases. Using insights from the fields of Wii hacking, Circuit Bending, and online poker tools, three variants of interplay are presented and discussed: integration, segregation, and permanent confrontation. Whilst a process-oriented perspective on reciprocal action is developed the paper contributes (a) to a balanced perspective on what is often a one-sided discussion regarding the actions leading to media change, and (b) to the understanding of the relation between media change and reflexive modernity.
Keywords: acting on media; digital infrastructures; feedback loop; hacking; interplay; mediated construction of reality; outlaw innovation; reflexive modernity; side-effects; unmanageable consumer