[iDC] Against Web 2.0

Saul Albert saul at theps.net
Sat May 27 08:35:41 EDT 2006

On Sat, May 27, 2006 at 01:27:47PM +0200, Eric Kluitenberg wrote:

Hi Eric,

> actually my first posting on this list...

Ha. Welcome to the buzzword-blender of the academic vanguard.

> >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?
> Good point Adam. However, I could imagine one direction where the  
> notion could be usefull. You always need buzzwords to explain things  
> to people not part of the phenomenon you are trying to promote /  
> develop. Web 2.0 could be a good buzzword (or "tenporary general  
> denominator" with a suffciently high "vagueness coefficient") to sell  
> social software projects to funders. That would be more than welcome  
> since they do not buy into the open source / open content story  
> anymore (or never did in the first place).

Selling it to funders? To what end?

As far as I can tell, Web 2.0 is to social software what Open Source was
to Free Software - but it's not just about marketing terminology.

Social software - not that I'm a big propagator of that spuzzword... at
least admitted it was software, and came with this open content / open
source baggage which I think was taken as read. Web 2.0 has nothing to do
with those petty annoyances. 

Yes, you can sell it to funders, to VCs, and to people who, in the case
of a few successful systems will exchange their attention and
participation and the aggregate values thereof in exchange for the
utility of those systems. 

There is nothing wrong with this as a business proposition if you can
maintain the delicate balance of my needs against the imperatives of
funders and advertisers (difficult - as we learned in the 90's once
you've taken VC money). The problem is that we're not going to build
anything new with these systems because they don't propose structures of
value on which we can build anything more than that balance.

I thought del.icio.us had a chance to supersede (kill) Google with a
bottom-up public knowledge infrastructure at some point immediately
before it got bought.  It's kind of dead in the water now as far as I can
tell.  If it had just offered its users the same deal - 'yahoo offered me
$$$, can you lot match it with voluntary subscriptions', I think maybe
we'd be there now.



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