[iDC] Against Web 2.0

Chris Byrne chris at crowriver.net
Sun May 28 14:16:30 EDT 2006

On 27 May 2006, at 13:35, Saul Albert wrote:

> Selling it to funders? To what end?

Maybe mining all that personal data, in order to target advertising at 
you or profile your consumer tastes and/or social connections?

> 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 tend to agree, it's not yet clear how that balance will be achieved.

> 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.

Maybe, maybe not. Tag clouds per se are not going to build a public 
knowledge infrastructure, relying as they do on the conscientiousness 
(or otherwise) of the taggers.

MySpace and YouTube are interesting, in that we seem to be witnessing a 
return to a kind of 'gated community' version of the Internet typified 
in its earlier incarnation by AOL, Compuserve, etc.

A couple of texts I read recently look at Web 2.0 phenomena, they may 
be of interest, links are below. Neither is particularly revolutionary 
in the analyses given. I dislike the 'common sense journalism' tone of 
the second text (and even less its breathless market euphoria), but 
some intriguing factoids and pointers nevertheless.

“You must be logged in to do that!”: Myspace and Control by Fred 

A Grand Unified Theory of YouTube and MySpace: Point-and-click sites 
that don't tell you what to do. by Paul Boutin



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