[iDC] Against Web 2.0

adam adam at xs4all.nl
Sat May 27 05:16:27 EDT 2006

isn't it all just namespace? i think the 2.0 thing just gives people something they can hold on to, encapsulates a phenomenon that they were obliquely aware of but 
now it has a name it helps them understand it to some level...its the same with 'podcasting', the current use of the term has retroactively taken ownership 
of a practice that many on this list have been part of for years - ie. creating downloadable audio content

being annoyed by these facts obscures the real fact that the web 2.0 or podcast movements (or whatever you want to call it) actually are achieving what many of us 
have been hoping for - ie. dropping the threshold for content production and converting content consumers into content producers

isnn't complaining about whether its new or not beside the point?


..on Fri, May 26, 2006 at 07:03:17PM -0400, Alex Halavais wrote:
> >Next time you hear Web 2.0 feel the sour aftertaste.
> Synesthesia strikes! :) Your critique seems to be on a couple of grounds:
> 1. It's not new.
> Right, early web (and earlier applications of the internet) certainly
> drew on "user-produced" forms. You can go further, and say that the
> same was true of, for example, radio.
> What is new is that--if you are to believe McChesney et al--the
> commercialization of the Web was inevitable, and with it the
> centralization of content production. That there seems to be a
> backwards shift, and a *massive* re-assertion of user production is
> not only new to the web, it's new when it comes to communication
> technologies over the last century or so.
> Moreover, the producers are *not* the early adopters at this point, so
> much as they are the early majority. It is unusual to see such a large
> chunk of society producing blogs, photography, music, etc, and sharing
> widely. I think we are far from the point at which a real
> cross-section of society would be engaged in this, but I think that it
> already represents a significant cultural shift.
> 2. The term is too closely associated with entrepreneurism.
> Yes, there is certainly a feeling that this is a replacement term for
> "dot com," and the magazines that cover it naturally fall into the
> trap of placing it in such a frame. But this is the unfortunate result
> of any idea that gains rapid popularity, and attracts those seeking
> profit from it. The only reason it hasn't happened to "sociable media"
> is that it isn't a widely used term, and isn't yet associated with
> cultural changes.
> But I think more interesting is the beginnings of the kinds of
> disruptions of commercial processes that the Mondo 2000 crowd, and
> even the Wired crowd, saw as inevitable. I think Weinberger is dead
> wrong, by the way: people did come online to go to Amazon.com. It's
> easy to forget that the real explosion of the web came through the
> often disparaged "AOLers" and that these are the folks who are driving
> at least some of the Web 2.0 buzz through their participation in
> Facebook, MySpace, flickr, digg.
> But they also came online for Ebay. There is an interesting economic
> thing happening associated with Web 2.0, and it may be the
> ebayification of online commerce. Even Amazon feels a bit like Ebay
> these days. The ways that people are spending money, and who they are
> buying from (cf Second Life, etc.) is heavily grounded in the deep
> structure of the web, and it would be a mistake to ignore the ways in
> which social computing has changed that structure.
> It is very safe to go with McChesney--who would, no doubt, have the
> same reaction to the idea of the American Dream. It is perhaps a bit
> quixotic to assume that *this* is the counter-example, the one time
> the distributed producers actually provide a space for a sort of
> continuing decentralization, a self-refreshing autonomous zone. That
> everyone that jumped for the earlier technological sublime was wrong,
> but that this time it is different. But at the same time, I'd hate to
> be the one who missed a revolution when the signs were so clearly in
> view. Maybe this time isn't a dress rehearsal. Where's my Kool Aid?
> - Alex
> --
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> // Alexander C. Halavais
> // Social Architect
> // http://alex.halavais.net
> //
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Adam Hyde

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