Cult of the amateur or cognitive surplus


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Slides used in the MAC309 lecture on the pros and cons of Web 2.0, democratisation and participation engendered by the Web

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Cult of the amateur or cognitive surplus

  1. 1.<br />MAC309<br />Web 2.0: The ‘cult of the amateur’ or ‘cognitive surplus’?<br />1<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />Web evangelists<br />Utopian<br />Powerful<br />Wealthy<br />Web skeptics<br />Dystopian<br />Powerlessness<br />At what cost?<br />2<br />VS<br />
  3. 3. 1995-2000<br />Stock market growth of technology and internet-related fields<br />Speculative profits<br />Venture capital funding<br />The Dot-Coms<br />3<br />
  4. 4. Scale up<br />Raise brand awareness<br />Monetise later<br />Growth<br />4<br />
  5. 5. ‘Get big fast’<br />5<br />Early dot.coms:<br />+ Network effect<br />- Plenty competition <br />1<br />2<br />4<br />8<br />16<br />
  6. 6. CNN report on ‘the new economy’<br />6<br />
  7. 7. March 2000 saw NASDAQ fall dramatically <br />Bubble burst<br />7<br />
  8. 8. 8<br /><link><br />
  9. 9. Web 2.0 definitional problems<br />9<br />Tim O’Reilly<br />Tech commentator<br />Publisher<br />Re-ignite tech investments<br />
  10. 10. Darcy DiNucci (1999)<br />“The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfulls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfulls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will [...] appear on your computer screen, [...] on your TV set [...] your car dashboard [...] your cell phone [...] hand-held game machines [...] maybe even your microwave oven.”<br />Web 2.0 definitional problems<br />10<br />
  11. 11. 11<br />
  12. 12. 12<br />2004<br />Dale Dougherty<br />Dot-com collapse as a water-shed moment<br />
  13. 13. 13<br />Source: O’Reilly, 2005<br />
  14. 14. ‘The perpetual beta’<br />‘live’‘living’‘social’ web<br />‘attitude’<br />Marketing buzzword?<br />‘Web as platform’<br />14<br />
  15. 15. 3 broad definitional camps<br />Collaboration <br />(Flickr, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc)<br />Software and language <br />(Asynchronous Javascript and XML)<br />User generated content<br />15<br />
  16. 16. Web 1.0?<br />Primarily an informational retrieval source<br />Link existing data<br />Direct communication tool<br />Connecting computers (Web 1.0)<br />Connecting people (Web 2.0)<br />16<br />Web 1.0 – READ web?<br />Web 2.0 – READ/WRITE web?<br />
  17. 17. O’Reilly: it’s “really about data and who owns and controls, or gives the best access to, a class of data.”<br />Tweney, 2007<br />Web 2.0 again<br />17<br />
  18. 18. Data organisation<br />18<br />Folksonomies (aka tagging)<br />RSS feeds<br />Blogging (creative conversations)<br />Wikis (knowledge sharing through collaboration)<br />Social networking (data relevance to you)<br />
  19. 19. Detractors<br />19<br />Sir Tim Berners-Lee<br />“Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along. And in fact, you know, this 'Web 2.0,' it means using the standards which have been produced by all these people working on Web 1.0.”<br />
  20. 20. Web 2.0: ‘cult of the amateur’<br />Coined by Nicholas G Carr, October 2005<br />Response to New-Age rhetoric of Wired magazine’s Steven Levy and Kevin Kelly<br />‘Free-floating netizens’ <br />‘the language of rapture’<br />20<br />
  21. 21. ‘The Trend Spotter’<br />‘the idea of collective consciousness is becoming manifest in the Internet’<br />Steven Levy, Oct 2005<br />Web 2.0 = participation?<br />21<br />
  22. 22. ‘We Are the Web’<br />“The accretion of tiny marvels can numb us to the arrival of the stupendous. … This view is spookily godlike … I doubt angels have a better view of humanity… Why aren't we more amazed by this fullness? … Only small children would have dreamed such a magic window could be real”<br />Kevin Kelly, Aug 2005<br />22<br />
  23. 23. ‘We Are the Web’<br />“What we all failed to see was how much of this new world would be manufactured by users, not corporate interests.”<br />Ibid<br />23<br />
  24. 24. Blogging: the gift economy?<br />“I run a blog … for my own delight and for the benefit of friends. The Web extends my passion to a far wider group for no extra cost or effort….[My] site is part of a vast and growing gift economy, a visible underground of valuable creations - text, music, film, software, tools, and services - all given away for free. This gift economy fuels an abundance of choices. It spurs the grateful to reciprocate. It permits easy modification and reuse, and thus promotes consumers into producers.”<br />Ibid <br />24<br />
  25. 25. Prosumers?<br />Consumers into producers?<br />Alvin Toffler (1980, The Third Wave)<br />‘The electricity of participation nudges ordinary folks to invest huge hunks of energy and time into making free encyclopedias, creating public tutorials for changing a flat tire, or cataloging the votes in the Senate.’<br />Kelly, 2005<br />Mass productionMass innovation<br />25<br />
  26. 26. The Infinite Album<br />“I'd love to put out an album that you could edit and mix and layer directly in iTunes. We did a remix project on a Web site a few years back where we put up the tracks to a song and let people make their own versions. There was something really inspiring about the variety and quality of the music that people gave back. In an ideal world, I'd find a way to let people truly interact with the records I put out – not just remix the songs, but maybe play them like a videogame.”<br />Beck, Sept 2006<br />26<br />
  27. 27. The Infinite Album<br />“I'd love to put out an album that you could edit and mix and layer directly in iTunes. We did a remix project on a Web site a few years back where we put up the tracks to a song and let people make their own versions. There was something really inspiring about the variety and quality of the music that people gave back. In an ideal world, I'd find a way to let people truly interact with the records I put out – not just remix the songs, but maybe play them like a videogame.”<br />Beck, Sept 2006<br />27<br />
  28. 28.<br />28<br />
  29. 29. 29<br />
  30. 30. 30<br />
  31. 31. 31<br />
  32. 32. 32<br />
  33. 33. New forms of collaboration<br />21st century<br />Mass collaboration<br />Democratic participation <br />33<br />
  34. 34. Wisdom of crowds?<br />Crowds better at decision making than small groups of experts<br />Sir Francis Galton<br />Plymouth, 1906<br />Guess weight of oxen<br />Crowd more accurate taken as a whole than individual experts<br />34<br />
  35. 35. We-think?<br />Sharing of information via Internet<br />improves creativity<br />improves ideas<br />improves innovation<br />improves democracy<br /><br />35<br />
  36. 36. Crowdsourcing?<br />Outsourcing of ideas to a large undefined group<br />open calls for help<br />the hive mind<br />collective problem solving<br />cheap!<br />36<br />
  37. 37. Wikinomics?<br />Peer production improves business<br />openess<br />peering<br />sharing<br />acting globally<br />37<br />
  38. 38. Crowdsourcing?<br />How do you count the stars?<br /><br />38<br />
  39. 39. Organising without organisations<br />New social tools have reconfigured behaviour:<br />costs shrink <br />participation increases<br />‘groups that operate with a birthday party’s informality and a multinational’s scope’ (Shirky, 2008: 48)<br />39<br />
  40. 40. 40<br />
  41. 41. The power of the crowd?<br />IBM spends about $100 million per year on Linux development. <br />If Linux community puts in $1 billion of effort and even half of that is useful to IBM customers, the company gets $500 million of software development for their initial investment <br />Tapscott & Williams, 2008: 83<br />41<br />
  42. 42. Power of the crowd?<br />FacebookToS February 2009<br /><br />42<br />
  43. 43. Other examples of collective production<br />BitTorrent swarms<br />Second Life<br />Distributed computing<br />Google search<br />LittleBigPlanet<br />Podzilla<br />PSP-Hacks<br />Lego Mindstorms<br />43<br />
  44. 44. Wikipedia in figures<br /><ul><li>2001: 15,000 articles
  45. 45. 2009: 2.7 million+ articles
  46. 46. 1 million+ registered users
  47. 47. 100,000 users posted 10+ articles
  48. 48. 75,000 regular editors
  49. 49. 5,000 hardcore maintain site
  50. 50. 5 paid staffers
  51. 51. See Tapscott & Williams, 2008: 72;</li></ul>44<br />
  52. 52. Wikipedia: how big is the crowd?<br />45<br />Link editor<br />Fact editor<br />Text editor<br />Image editor<br />
  53. 53. What drives us?<br />46<br />Clay Shirky – ‘cognitive surplus’<br />Free time – what we do with that time matters<br />No longer just consuming, but creating<br />
  54. 54. The Web 2.0 backlash<br />Andrew Keen: the anti-christ of Silicon Valley<br />Critical of:<br />Google<br />Blogs<br />YouTube<br />Wikipedia<br />P2P<br />etc<br />47<br />
  55. 55. Google search<br />“Search engines like Google, which run on algorithms that rank results according to the number of previous searches, answer our search queries not with what is most true or most reliable, but merely what is most popular. As a result, our knowledge … is being shaped by nothing but the aggregation of responses. The search engine is a quantitative historical record of previous responses”<br />Andrew Keen, 2008: 92-3<br />48<br />
  56. 56. Search for…<br />White House …<br />49<br />
  57. 57. Search for…<br />“Miserable failure”<br />Google bombing<br />50<br />
  58. 58. The Web 2.0 backlash<br />‘We – those of us who want to know more about the world, those of us who are the consumers of mainstream culture – are being seduced by the empty promise of ‘democratized’ media. For the real consequences of the Web 2.0 revolution is less culture, less reliable news, and a chaos of useless information. One chilling reality in this brave new digital epoch is the blurring, obfuscation, and even disappearance of truth’(Keen, 2008: 16)<br />51<br />
  59. 59. Wisdom of crowds?<br />52<br />Narcissism<br />Shallowness<br />Puts the ‘me’ in ‘media’<br />Undermines professional media<br />
  60. 60. Is it good for us?<br />53<br />Nicholas Carr – is Google making us stupid?<br />‘As our window onto the world, a popular medium molds what we see and how we see it – and eventually, if we use it enough, it changes who we are, as individuals and as a society’ (2010, p3)<br />
  61. 61. Is it good for us?<br />54<br />Prof Susan Greenfield - Daily Mail, 2009<br />‘My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment’<br />
  62. 62. Is it good for us?<br />55<br />Nicholas Carr – The Shallows?<br />‘There’s nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces… The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought …Dazzled by the Net’s treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture.<br />
  63. 63. Is it good for us?<br />56<br />Nicholas Carr – The Shallows?<br />‘What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. In the process, we seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting’<br />
  64. 64. Conclusion<br />57<br />The Internet as democratising? <br />The Internet as narcissistic? <br />Net enthusiasts versus Net skeptics?<br />Consequences of extended Internet use?<br />
  65. 65. Questions<br />Is Web 2.0 a democratising force or should we be sceptical of such claims? <br />Do the benefits of ‘crowdsourcing’ outweigh its problems?<br />Does mass participation benefit business and culture alike?<br />Are the crowd an effective resource?<br />Is the future one of mass collaboration?<br />58<br />
  66. 66. Images<br />Slide 1, ??<br />Slide 2-7, kreg.steppe, 2007, ‘Bubbles’<br />Slide 9-10, 13-17, netzkobold, ‘Web 2.0 Expo 2007’<br />Slide 8, GDS Infographics, 2010, ‘The Year the Dot-Com Bubble Burst’<br />Slide 46-51, andydoro, 2006, ‘lightbulbs’<br />Slide 52, Ibai Lemon, 2008, ‘crowd’<br />Slide 53-56, Oliver Thompson Photography, 2011, ‘Lightbulbs’<br />Slide 57-58, [Topguy], 2008, ‘Lightbulb, LCD monitor and a brand new lens.’<br />If anyone can help identify the missing images please get in touch so I can credit the authors.<br />59<br />