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

Alexis Turner subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
Wed Feb 14 13:23:05 PST 2007

Going on Kuhn's definition of a paradigm shift, I'll reiterate that I don't 
think this falls under that category.  If you buy his definition, it requires an 
overthrow of older methods almost altogether.  In the process, the old way of 
doing things is often completely ignored (Chang's 'Inventing Temperature' has a 
rather good example of this, involving the complete loss to history of an 
experiment in which physicists *radiated cold* - it doesn't meet what we 
believe about temperature today, so we have conveniently written it away).

In the case of 1.0/2.0, as you point out, the methods we are using now already 
existed, but in a more "primitive form."  To me, those are the keywords that suggest a 
paradigm shift has not occurred at all.  Normal science concerns itself with 
finessing and improving existing forms, making them less primitive in the 

On Tue, 13 Feb 2007, Jim Porter wrote:

::Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 22:03:25 -0500
::From: Jim Porter <porterj8 at msu.edu>
::To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org, subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
::Subject: Re: [Air-l] Web 2.0 - "the machine is us?"
::I don't think O'Reilly is wrong, or guilty of marketing hype. Paradigm
::shifts are never all that clear in the midst of them. They only become clear
::as dramatic episodic shifts later. In the midst they definitely work more
::like a "stream of development." It's the same thing, just from two different
::historical perspectives.
::Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 -- and, now, Web 3.0 -- are oversimplified stage
::markers, maybe yes. But that that doesn't mean they don't signify important
::stages of development in social networking. To me "social networking" has
::been around since the advent of email discussion lists and hypertextual
::linkages -- almost as long as the WWW itself (1993-1994) -- just in a more
::primitive form. The numerical markers harken back to an older paradigm
::(software updates), and that is useful from a marketing and public commons
::standpoint. It just isn't very useful from a research or development
::standpoint. On the conceptual level "social networking" is the really
::interesting phenomenon, and it is ongoing.
::Jim Porter
::> Ok, so we agree it is NOT a new paradigm. Meaning that the 1.0 to 2.0
::> step naming suggestion is a Microsoft like overblown
::> pseudo-signification marketing attempt. Sure, "Web 1.7" wouldn't
::> catch on as much. We also agree that there is progress, and that some
::> of the progress is just necessary follow-up from sheer growth. We
::> simply didn't need what is seen as helpful now.
::> Do we agree that the basis for HTML already was the idea of
::> separating form and content? And do we agree that early on the Web
::> wasn't entirely built in static Web pages (remember Frontier? -->
::> http://dave.editthispage.com/historyOfFrontier )? And do we agree
::> that the Web has many more functions than just searching?
::> Personally, I see one stream of development, with great ideas rocking
::> the waters here and there and then. Looking forward to what comes
::> next!
::> --u
::> At 23:17 Uhr +0000 13.2.2007, Alexis Turner wrote:
::>> No, I believe the original way of finding information on the web involved 1)
::>> search engines and 2) static hyperlinks...generally built on static
::>> pages (ie -
::>> they change rarely, and are updated by people who can write HTML).
::>> But I believe new methods allow more sophisticated ways to search for
::>> information.  A site like del.icio.us, for instance, that employs
::>> tagging by discrete entities
::>> (individual, identifiable humans) allows one more fine-grained control of the
::>> search process.  Instead of searching Altavista's picture of the entire web,
::>> you can instead narrow down on 10 individuals whom you have found to be
::>> consistently interesting and follow their linking patterns over a long period
::>> of time.  In doing so, you become exposed to new terms, and friends of
::>> theirs,
::>> which allow you to create new searches.  Likewise, an increased emphasis on
::>> standards (XML, separation of form from content, etc), means that a myriad of
::>> such sites can be more easily accessed by a *single* home-grown software
::>> solution, thus automating a large-scale search/parse.  10 years ago,
::>> there were
::>> a thousandth of the pages.  I could do it by hand.  Now?....
::>> In other words, there are simply more options, and 2.0 provides us with tools
::>> that can better respond to the size the web has become.  We have become more
::>> sophisticated in our understanding of how to use the web, and, in
::>> turn, we have
::>> begun developing methods that can make use of that.  The realization that
::>> form
::>> and content must be separate was something we had to learn from getting wrong
::>> at first.  That is the knowledge that comes from experience, and why
::>> 1.0 could not
::>> have anticipated some of what we see today.
::>> Is this completely new?  Of course not - it is a refinement to how a creative
::>> searcher would have done things 8 years ago, but it makes it obvious to a
::>> larger number of people, among other things, and it makes it easier, which I
::>> don't think can be overstated.  It is a signal that the web
::>> is maturing - we are becoming more aware of how to navigate it
::>> successfully (and
::>> unsuccessfully).  As the "article" (and I do use that term loosely) said - I
::>> don't think it is a new paradigm, I think it is a more nuanced and evolved
::>> way
::>> of approaching the idea of searching. This is where I think the idea of "Web
::>> 2.0" is vaguely hoax-like, and *certainly* overblown - it is NOT a new
::>> paradigm.  It is NOT a platform.  But none of those criticisms should imply
::>> that it is entirely useless.  It is a recognition of a refinement in our
::>> understanding, and that in and of itself is pretty welcome in my mind.
::>> -Alexis
::>> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007, 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
::>> ::
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::James E. Porter
::Co-Director, WIDE Research Center
::Writing in Digital Environments
::Olds Hall 7
::Michigan State University
::East Lansing, MI  48824
::porterj8 at msu.edu
::office: 517.353.7258
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