[iDC] Against Web 2.0

David Golumbia dg6n at unix.mail.virginia.edu
Fri May 26 17:23:46 EDT 2006

I just want to echo Trebor's comments--I've been waiting for someone to 
call this BS for what it is, more marketing-speak that helps us to ignore the 
cultural politics of what is happening before our eyes.

To begin with, it should really be "Web 3.0," or maybe "Web 1.0 version 
2," since what we are really talking about is just letting the web do the 
things that it seemed to be on the way of doing, prior to the 1996 
commercial deregulation that should never, ever have happened. In my view, 
"Web 2.0" is what happened when money was let loose to overwhelm all other 
purposes of what had been, till then, the largest noncommercial media 
project in human history (maybe now that's Wikipedia). That "Web 2.0" puts 
commerce first, people second, almost all the time. All the places where 
the web is exploding, it is commerce, not political democracy, that also 
seem to be exploding. (or did the US have a wonderful social revolution in 
the last 10 years, fueled by the Internet, that I missed while we edge our 
way as close toward totalitarianism as we have ever been?)

Money isn't always bad, and hasn't done only bad things, but I would be 
holding out much more hope for the internet as even a constructive 
contributor to democratic change if it was much more like it was prior to 
commercial deregulation--and very little I see in the current so-called 
"2.0 technologies" seem like anything but much more of the same. And to 
bring in its wake the same old apologists who are dying to tell us this 
one technology is going to change everything. Sociopolitical change 
requires sociopolitical thought and action. I have yet to see any concrete 
reason to believe the Internet pushes people more toward sociopolitical 
engagement: in fact, I see plenty of reason to doubt it.


David Golumbia
Assistant Professor
Media Studies, English, and Linguistics
University of Virginia

More information about the iDC mailing list