[Air-l] Web 2.0 - "the machine is us?"

Clifford Tatum clifford at u.washington.edu
Tue Feb 13 18:06:23 PST 2007

Thanks everyone for the references! I'll certainly send out a  
compilation to the list.

A couple of comments:

There's generally two approaches to this discussion, the technology/ 
functionality and the social. O'Reilly does a pretty good job  
breaking down what is new with Web 2.0 from the functional/technical  
perspective. Can Web 2.0 be accomplished with 1.0 technology?  
Probably. What I think makes the 'idea' of Web 2.0 different from 1.0  
is the social element (or user content). The technology matters too  
but mostly for its ability to remove technical barriers to the social.

Consider the difference between Google and del.icio.us. Both provide  
a means for organizing content on the web. And in both cases the  
resulting organization is based on social elements, such that users  
contribute to relevancy, meaning, and the definitions of things based  
on their use, consumption, and contribution to content. Google does  
this through tracking use; clicks, links, and a 100 other variables  
that comprise their proprietary algorithm. Google uses information  
behavior to organize Web content. User input is passive and (mostly)  
unintentional in this case. With del.icio.us, however, user  
contribution is active and intentional. We (and this gets to the  
Wesch video) choose how to categorize content by tagging.  Web 2.0 in  
this example has to do with the aggregate of user-organized content.  
(I suppose I could just say folksonomy at this point).

Sure, if we break them down to their individual parts, the difference  
between Google and del.icio.us can be minimized, if not rendered  
insignificant. The significant differences are to be found in the  
aggregate where organizational structure, meaning, definitions, and  
plurality emerge. This occurs via Google page rank as well, but with  
the use of a Google-defined algorithm and based on unintentional user  
contribution. If we further consider that search engines are our  
primary access to the public web, the difference between Google  
search results and del.icio.us search results would be one example of  
the difference between 1.0 and 2.0, in terms of content.

I think an interesting research question with regard to search is,  
what does this difference mean?


On Feb 13, 2007, at 2:52 PM, Ulf-Dietrich Reips wrote:

> You there write: "The incredible thing is that it offers a radically
> new approach to managing and finding information. Web 2.0 offers both
> information and tools, if you will, where Web 1.0 offered only
> information. Methods like XML, RSS, AJAX, and tagging, sites like
> del.icio.us or netvibes - these offer methods more powerful than
> search engines and hyperlinks for understanding, and finding, how
> information is connected. They improve the ambient findability of
> relevant material, communities, peers, and ideas."
> So, wouldn't this mean that "Web 2.0" started with Google search? Or
> ... wait... it started with Yahoo catalogues. No ... wait ... it
> started with Netscape inventing Livescript (now Javascript). No, hey,
> it must have started with the implementation of Web *forms*. Uh oh,
> and soon we are in TBL's office in Geneva looking at the first Web
> browser...
> --u

More information about the Air-L mailing list