[iDC] Course: The Social Web (Web 2.0: What went wrong?)

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Thu Aug 30 13:53:17 UTC 2007

Dear all,

Many of you are feverishly finishing their syllabi now, which is a
good moment to share my critical reading list about the Social Web with

The subtitle of the course is "Web 2.0 What Went Wrong?" For those of
you who have not followed my work, it may not be immediately obvious
what in fact did go wrong but I'll post essays that are based on my
lectures as the fall progresses. 

My goal is to strike a balance between a critique of the Web 2.0
ideology and the many possibilities of the Social Web based on specific
cross-cultural examples, which I'll add throughout the semester.
If you just finished your course on these topics, why not post it here?

Trebor S.

The Social Web
(Web 2.0: What Went Wrong?)

Trebor Scholz

Course Description

Is it feasible to live ethical, meaningful lives in the context of the
Social Web today? 

Based on the rapid growth of participation in social life online and in
mobile space-- from social news, referral, social search, media sharing,
social bookmarking, tagging, virtual worlds and social networked games,
social mapping, IM, social networking, blogging and dating, this class
formulates a critical analysis (and critique) of the international
Social Web with regard to privacy, intellectual property, and the
utilization of social creation of value through the lens of a small
number of case studies in the areas of education, political activism,
and art. The course starts with a history of computer-facilitated
networked sociality. 

We’ll discuss the preconditions, motivations, and typologies of
participation in order to then start to debunk the Web 2.0 ideology. 
The course concludes with an examination of the future of the Internet
(mobile social space, net neutrality, and the changed nature of the
digital divide) in order to then locate fields of possibility for social

We’ll study key theoretical texts including Yochai Benkler’s "Wealth of
networks," Henry Jenkins’ "Convergence culture," Trebor Scholz’ "What
the MySpace generation should know about working for free," Jurgen
Habermas' speech about the Internet and the public sphere, Fred Turner’s
"Where the counterculture met the new economy," Jeff Jarvis’ “Who owns
the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd.,” Nicholas Carr’s “Sharecropping the
long tail,” Michael Hardt’s “Affective labor,” Olga Goriunova’s “From
art on networks to art on platforms“ and Adam Arvidsson’s “The crisis of
value and the ethical economy.”

This is a theory-based course that also teaches you to participate,
debate and analyze practices on the Social Web (e.g., the use of
Facebook, Twitter, IM, blogs, SecondLife).


•    Week 1 (08/28,08/30)
Overview and Introduction to the Syllabus

Slidecast of lecture (sound): 

•    Week 2 (09/04, 09/06)
A History of the Social Web

Required Readings:
Allen, Christopher. "Life With Alacrity: Tracing the Evolution of Social
Software." Life With Alacrity. 13 Oct 2004. 12 Jul 2007

"History of the Internet." the history of computing project. 19 Mar
2001. 17 Jul 2007

Suggested Reading:
Kelly, Kevin. "Wired 13.08: We Are the Web." Wired News .  1 Jan 2005.
26 Aug 2007  <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/tech.html>.

•    Week 3 (09/11, 09/13)
A History of the Social Web

Required Readings:
Donath, Judith. "Sociable Media." Sociable Media Group - MIT Media Lab.
15 Apr 2004.  9 Jul 2007

Turner, Fred. "Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy ." Stanford.
1 Jan 2007. 26 Aug 2007

Scholz, Trebor.  A History of the Social Web. (unpublished, via email) 

Suggested Reading:
"List of social networking websites - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 16 Jul 2007. 16 Jul 2007

Udell, Jon. "Tag mania sweeps the Web | InfoWorld | Column | 2005-07-20
| By Jon Udell." InfoWorld - Information Technology News, Computer
Networking & Security.  2 Jul 2005. 26 Aug 2007

"Social Software Timeline / Many-to-Many Space." Socialtext
Documentation / Socialtext Documentation.  1 Jan 2007. 26 Aug 2007

Glickman, Matt, and Mark Horton. "Netnews History - Usenet Server, Jim
Ellis, Tom Truscott, Steve Bellovin." Internet history, design, web,
email....  1 Jan 1996. 17 Jul 2007

•    Week 4 (09/18, 09/20)
Social Isolation, the Public Sphere and the WWW

Required Readings:
Boeder, Piter. "Habermas' heritage." First Monday. 21 Aug 2005. 26 Aug
2007 <http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_9/boeder/>.

Kluge, Alexander, Peter Labanyi, and Oskar Negt.  Public Sphere and
Experience: Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public
Sphere (Theory and History of Literature). Minneapolis:  University of
Minnesota Press, 1993.

Kellner, Douglas. "Habermas, the Public Sphere, and Democracy: A
Critical Intervention." Graduate School of Education and Information
Studies.  1 Aug 2007. 26 Aug 2007

•    Week 5 *(09/25, 09/27)
The Participatory Turn

Tuesday (09/25): Who Cares? The Social Web in Numbers

Required Reading:

Rosen, Jay. "PressThink: The People Formerly Known as the Audience."
Department of Journalism at New York University. 27 Jun 2006. 16 Jul

Heuer, Chris. "Social Media Club- The Importance of Social Media."
Social Media Club. 19 Sep 2006. 11 Jul 2007

Suggested Reading:

"Top 10 highest traffic websites." Canadian Content Forums. 27 Jan 2007.
12 Jun 2007

"Nielsen BuzzMetrics - Bloggers' Top-Cited Wikipedia 2006 Entries: "Web
2.0," "Steve Irwin" and "Mark Foley Scandal," Says Nielsen BuzzMetrics."
MarketWire. 13 Dec 2006.  9 Jul 2007

Hamman, Robin. "cybersoc.com: "nearly 50%" of US users visit social
networking sites...sort of." cybersoc.com. 15 May 2006. 27 Jun 2007

Thursday (09/27): Quality. The Wisdom or Ineptitude of Networked Publics

Required Reading:

Lanier, Jaron. "Edge; DIGITAL MAOISM: The  Hazards of the New Online
Collectivism By Jaron Lanier." Edge. 30 May 2006. 31 Jul 2007

"Reactions to Digital Maoism. Many-to-Many:." Many-to-Many:.  3 Feb
2006. 27 Jun 2007

Suggested Reading:

Levy, Pierre.  Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in
Cyberspace. New York:  Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1999.

•    Week 6 (10/02, 10/04)
The Web 2.0 Ideology

Required Reading:

Best, David. "Web 2.0Next Big Thing or Next Big Internet Bubble?."
Lecture Web Information Systems. 11 Jan 2006.  9 Jul 2007

O'Reilly, Tim. "Not 2.0?." O'Reilly Radar.  5 Aug 2005.  9 Jul 2007

O'Reilly, Tim. "O'Reilly -- What Is Web 2.0." O'Reilly Network --
Developers' Hub -- web development, open source development, open and
emerging technologies. 30 Sep 2005.  9 Jul 2007

Scharmen, Fred (2006, May). "You Must Be Logged In To Do That!" Yale
Arch 752b

 Arvidsson, Adam. "Crisis of Value and the Ethical Economy - P2P
Foundation." The Foundation for P2P Alternatives - P2P Foundation. 26
Jun 2007. 26 Aug 2007

 Hiram Soltren, Jose, and Harvey Jones. "Facebook: Threats to Privacy."
MIT.  1 Jan 2005. 26 Aug 2007

Suggested Reading:

"Web 2.0 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Main Page - Wikipedia, the
free encyclopedia.  9 Jul 2007.  9 Jul 2007

Barnes, Susan. "A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United
States." First Monday.  1 Jan 2006. 26 Aug 2007

Carr, Nicholas. "Nicholas Carr: The net is being carved up into
information plantations | Technology | The Guardian." Guardian Unlimited
home | Guardian Unlimited. 17 May 2007. 26 Aug 2007

"Web Worker Daily  &raquo; Blog Archive  The Two-Edged Sword of Web 2.0
&laquo;." Web Worker Daily  . 29 Mar 2007. 26 Aug 2007

Mchenry, Robert. "Web 2.0: Hope or Hype? - Britannica Blog." Britannica
Blog. 25 Jun 2007.  9 Jul 2007

Hardie, Martin . "The Factory without Walls." The Factory without Walls.
1 Jan 2005. 26 Aug 2007

"Facebook | Terms." Facebook |. 24 May 2007. 12 Jun 2007

•    Week 7 (10/09, 10/11)
Art and the Social Web

Lecture from excerpts:

Bishop, C;Aire. Participation (Documents of Contemporary Art).
Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Mit Press, 2006.

Required Reading:

Goriunova, O.; Shulgin,A. From Art on Networks to Art on Platforms,
Casestudies: Runme.org, Micromusic.net and Udaff.com. Unpublished, 2006.

•    Week 8 (10/16, 10/18)
Education and the Social Web

Required Reading:

Catone, Josh . "Web 2.0 Backpack: Web Apps for Students." Read/WriteWeb.
22 Jun 2007. 27 Aug 2007

"The Web Credibility Project: Guidelines - Stanford University."
Stanford University. 1 Jun 2002. 27 Aug 2007

•    Week 9 (10/23, 10/25)
Political Activism and the Social Web

Required Reading:
Spouse, Ea. "ea_spouse: EA: The Human Story." ea_spouse. 10 Nov 2004. 20
Jun 2007 <http://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html>.

"Hello Garci scandal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Main Page -
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 24 Jun 2005. 20 Jun 2007

Zuckerman, Ethan. "My heart is in Accra “; Mapping land distribution in
Bahrain." Ethan Zuckerman. 31 Oct 2006. 20 Jun 2007

The Internet and youth political participation. 1 Dec 2006. 20 Jun 2007

"Bush/Blair Love Song." Archive.org. 19 Dec 2003. 20 Jun 2007

"Kiva.org - Loans that change lives." Kiva.org - Loans that change
lives.  1 Jan 2004. 20 Jun 2007

Dale, Michael, and Warren Sack. "Metavid." Metavid. 27 Apr 2007. 20 Jun
2007 <http://metavid.ucsc.edu/>.

"FAQ." wikileaks.org.  1 Jan 2007. 20 Jun 2007

•    Week 10 (10/30, 11/01)
Preconditions and Typologies of Participation

Which different types (and intensities) of participation can you

Kann, M. First Monday. 27 Jul 2007. 31 Jul 2007

•    Week 11 (11/06, 11/08)
Motivations for Participation

Which desires and needs motivate people on the Social Web to engage?

Required Reading:
Gefen, David, and Catherine M. Ridings. " Virtual Community
Attraction:Why People Hang Out Online." Journal of Computer-Mediated
Communication.  1 Nov 2004. 31 Jul 2007

•    Week 12 (11/13, 11/15)
The Ethics of Participation. Got ethics? Labor, what? 
(The production of value on the Social Web)

What are ethical standards on both, the side of the users and the
corporate platform providers?

What’s the difference between moralistic posturing and discussions about
context-specific ethics?

Does talk about ethics mean that we can’t have any more fun?
Do the activities on the Social Web qualify as immaterial labor?

Required Reading:

Scholz, Trebor. " What the MySpace generation should know about working
for free -   Trebor Scholz 'journalisms'  - Collectivate.net."   home  -
Collectivate.net.  3 Apr 2007. 26 Aug 2007

Roush, Wade. "Technology Review: The Moral Panic over Social-Networking
Sites." Technology Review: The Authority on the Future of Technology.  7
Aug 2006. 26 Aug 2007

Jarvis, Jeff. "BuzzMachine Blog Archive Who owns the wisdom of the
crowd? The crowd.." BuzzMachine. 26 Oct 2005. 12 Jun 2007

Suggested Reading:

 Wyrick, Brian, and Dmytri   Kleiner. "Infoenclosure 2.0." Mute magazine
- Culture and politics after the net. 29 Jan 2007. 26 Aug 2007

Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude (Semiotext(e) / Foreign
Agents). Los Angeles: Semiotext(E), 2004.

Terranova, Tiziana. "Free Labor." Universitat Oberta de Catalunya UOC.
15 Aug 2000. 12 Jun 2007

Pollard, Dave. "Finding People to Make a Living With." Recently Changed
Weblogs.  7 Feb 2007. 26 Aug 2007

Rauch, Peter. "Confessions of an Aca/Fan:  The Official Weblog of Henry
Jenkins: Fable and Other Moral Tales: A Study in Game Ethics (Part
One)." Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins.
1 Aug 2007. 26 Aug 2007

•    Week 13 (11/20, 11/22)
Fields of Possibilities

What are the core characteristics of the Social Web?

How can networked publics fight back?
Today, is it practical to live ethical lives in the context of the
Social Web and mobile social space? If so, tactics could be learned and
shared with others.

Required Reading:
Jarvis, Jeff. "New News: Deconstructing the newspaper." BuzzMachine  .
18 Jan 2006. 26 Aug 2007

•    Week 14 (11/27, 11/29)
The Future of the Social Web

 Required Reading:

Cascio, Jamais. "WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a
Bright Green Future: The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon."
WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green
Future.  4 May 2005. 12 Jul 2007

•    Week 15 (12/04, 12/06)
Presentations, Finals


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