Amorality of Web 2.0

In tech on October 21, 2005 by karan

Nick Carr: The Amorality of Web 2.0  – This article address some of the especially overhyped points of Web 2.0 – that essentially it is “the saviour” of computing. While I’ve only come across a little of this kinda hype, certainly some of the words that are quoted there are quite scarily… intense. I would say that Carr’s mention of the “cult of amateur” is spot on, but there is something of a contradiction, a little hypocritical in saying so on a blog.

In many ways, saying “Web 2.0” encompasses a lot of things, and that is what has me jaded about it. Something about the version number, attached and incremented retrospectively, suggests a fixed point at which everything switches from 1.0 to 2.0, or at least that 2.0 is a massive change. The reality of the web – and pretty much everything in life – is that change is constant and almost imperceptible. Marketing hype has its place, but the cynic in me sees many hitching their wagon the roaring train of “Web 2.0”, even if it’s less about the IPOs and VCs of the late 90s dot-com bubble. And Om Malik, in reaction to Carr’s post, points out (a little hesitantly, I’d say) that we as the web majority appear to be donating our time to companies that aren’t really giving us back. There’s the question of what really is and isn’t being paid for somewhere in there, and what is being gained from the millions of bytes of text spilled forth daily around the world. Does it, indeed, add anything to the value of human existance? (Read an LJ and I think you’ll despair)

Also, just relating to the “cult of amateur” mentioned before There was an article that I wanted to link to relating to the slow rot of professional journalism in favour of the amateur, simply because blogs are so easy, so focused on opinion and so quick. In contrast, pro journalism often is constrained by a variety of limits. So why stick with the pros? The article pointed out that pros often actually know what they’re doing, and importantly have money and resources (time, people, networks, established positions in law) to investigate stories fully. Bloggers and other amateur reporters such as those involved in WikiNews don’t actually go to quite the same extent, and are usually based on a very personal view. Could Watergate have happened via blogs? I think we might see something like it, but it won’t hit nearly as hard as Watergate did through the two reporters did then. Because invariably, if you’re blogging trade secrets, you’re going to get dooced pretty damn quick.

 Basically the net and blogs (in no real way related to the topic at hand, web 2.0), is all about opinion of hacks and people who think they matter. Kinda like this minil lit-review.

 Hmm, gonna have to work on these conclusions to give them a positive spin.


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