[Air-l] Call for AOIR 7.0 Panelists on Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0

Michael Zimmer michael.zimmer at nyu.edu
Sun Jan 7 09:19:55 PST 2007

With the submission deadline for AOIR 7.0 approaching (Feb 1), I'm  
seeking colleagues to join a proposed panel on "Critical Perspectives  
on Web 2.0".  A *draft* panel description is posted below, trying to  
fit with the conference theme of addressing "the (playful) blurring  
of boundaries online."

Please e-mail me off-list if interested at michael.zimmer at nyu.edu.   
Will need a 250-500 word paper abstract prior to deadline.

Michael T. Zimmer
  Doctoral Candidate, Culture and Communication, New York University
  Student Fellow, Information Law Institute, NYU Law School
e: michael.zimmer at nyu.edu
w: http://michaelzimmer.org

Draft panel proposal: Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0

Web 2.0 represents a (playful) blurring of the boundaries between Web  
users and producers, consumption and participation, authority and  
amateurism, play and work, data and the network, reality and virtuality.

The rhetoric surrounding Web 2.0 infrastructures presents certain  
cultural claims about media, identity, and technology. It suggests  
that everyone can and should use new Internet technologies to  
organize and share information, to interact within communities, and  
to express oneself. It promises to empower creativity, to democratize  
media production, and to celebrate the individual while also  
relishing the power of collaboration and social networks. Websites  
such as Flickr, Wikipedia, del.icio.us, MySpace, and YouTube are all  
part of this second-generation Internet phenomenon, which has spurred  
a variety of new services and communities – and venture capitalist  

But Web 2.0 also embodies a set of unintended consequences, including  
the increased flow of personal information across networks, the  
diffusion of one’s identity across fractured spaces, the emergence of  
powerful tools for peer surveillance, and the fear of increased  
corporatization of online social and collaborative spaces and outputs.

In Technopoly, Neil Postman warned that we tend to be “surrounded by  
the wondrous effects of machines and are encouraged to ignore the  
ideas embedded in them. Which means we become blind to the  
ideological meaning of our technologies” (1992, p. 94). As the power  
and ubiquity of the Web 2.0 infrastructure rises, it becomes  
increasingly difficult for users to recognize its externalities, and  
easier to take the design of such tools simply “at interface  
value” (Turkle, 1995, p. 103).

Heeding Postman and Turkle’s warnings, this panel will work to remove  
the blinders of the unintended consequences of Web 2.0’s (playful)  
blurring of boundaries and critically explore the social, political,  
and ethical dimensions of Web 2.0.

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