Sunday, November 19, 2006

Web2.0 = broadband?

On Friday I took part in SOMED workshop 'Social media in the Crossroads of physical, digital and virtual worlds'. The key note speaker was Petteri Järvinen. (For those who don't know, Mr. Järvinen was a PC-pioneer and published several down to earth books of micro computers, PC applications and viruses in 1986-1990. He has received several awards for popularizing ICT techology and currently continues writing books (current book: Improve Your Data Security came out in 2006) and works as a consultant. Even though he is an expert in ICT his 'In English' page on his website does not seem to work.)

Anyhow Mr. Järvinen gave a nice, provocative introduction to the topic. He pointed out the amount of hassle there is around social media and web2.0 but found it relatively hard to find clear definition of it/them. By bringing to a head: he made a conclusion that Web2.0 = broadband because minute based Internet rates do not bound the users no more, videos and multimedia seems to be at the core of the use of social media and people spend more and more time online. I just wonder is social media about content and services or participation and enjoyment after all, or is it just another technology-driven trend that really makes no difference in the long run?

Broadband certainly is an enabler but would social media happen without it? I think 'yes' because comparable trends have existed before the invention of web2.0. Eric von Hippel talked about user innovations already in the 1970s. Users have been creating content, annotating and promoting home made stuff way before computers became common. Content were not published globally but it certainly was published for a certain audience. Another example with a 'global appearance' is fanzines. I published Diarium Autopsia metal fanzine in the beginning of 1990s with my friend Heidi and we had subscriptions from over 20 countries (Europe, South America, North America, Australia and Asia). Our subscribers could easily answer to Mr. Järvinen's question: 'What do I want?'. It might be true that Petteri Järvinen would categorize Diarium Autopsia to the same class as digital games and TV series Lost or CSI -- trash. Which means that Mr. Järvinen does not belong in to our target group unlike hundreds of others. In the case of web2.0 we could give similar answer to the question 'What do I want?' -- and the answer is: 'Who are you?' In the case of 'everyone publishes' it is easier to reach sub-groups and minority audiences via the net. Which makes it even more difficult to define the target group.

The third issue I found interesting was about audiences. Petteri Järvinen talked about blogs and wondered what is the purpose of such 'write only' medium (again intensified by me). Shouldn't there be an audience for whom to write a blog? Exactly! There is expected to be a number of subscribers for newspapers but would a blog be a noteworthy medium even though it would be written just for me even though I would not mind if someone would find my blog while Googling? Is this a weak signal alluding to new demands for newspaper publishing as well? Newspaper will most definitely change because already now they are already full of old information when they are delivered. I have to think that though further. Until next time!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You asked

"Is it just another technology-driven trend that really makes no difference in the long run?"

I think broadband is an accelerator. Web 2.0 funtionality, in the long term, is evolutionary not revolutionary.

You then go on to say "Content were not published globally but it certainly was published for a certain audience. Another example with a 'global appearance' is fanzines."

I agree with you about users creating content as well. I co-produced a local TV show in New York called ZineTV in the mid 90's. It covered the self-publishing world of "zines" and "fanzines".

As a "thought cloud" index Factsheet 5 was probably the equivalent of Technorati. Sets and subsets of interest were and are then able to self organize off the index. The web offers immediacy of the click.

However I often compare blog software as the equivalent of the Kodak Brownie camera which simplified a complex process and enpowered personal expression and the perpetual indexing of the great and banal.

On "Newspaper will most definitely change because already now they are already full of old information when they are delivered. "

For the web/blogs/newspapers it is only old if you haven't been aware of it that it is "old news". If you have awareness and want more depth than there is no difference at least in my expierence of newspaper reporting and say a blog reporting on a blog reporting on a blog ....

SonjaK said...

Good points - thanks :) I somewhat agree with you on the newspaper vs. blog issue -- though I am still eagerly waiting what newspaper publishers will do next. At least in Finland they look for ways to react more quickly and involve in "the digital world". Perhaps opening the media archives will be the first step towards UGC / open innovations / social media?