Our Social Web History, Business and Culture

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Slides for the Social Web Technologies class on Jan. 30th, 2008. http://tinyurl.com/2flvsk

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Our Social Web History, Business and Culture

  1. 1. Our Social Web History, Business and Culture Dr. Harry Chen CMSC 491S/691S January 30, 2008
  2. 2. Note! <ul><li>My discussion focuses on the Social Web history, business and culture in the Western countries (mostly in the US). </li></ul><ul><li>Asian countries, for example, have a similar but very different story. Their Social Web business and culture are very different from which of the US. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Signal for Class Discussion
  4. 4. Think about the Social Web <ul><li>Trebor Scholz asks… </li></ul>Is the history of the Social Web, solely a history of mergers and acquisitions, sales and new markets? Is the history of the Social Web, the history of mainstream culture? Which role did sub- and countercultures play? Source: http://www.collectivate.net/the-social-web/
  5. 5. History
  6. 6. Before the Internet… <ul><li>Computing is not much a social business. </li></ul><ul><li>Computers are mainly used for number crunching -- big and expensive calculators. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Internet connects computers <ul><li>The birth of the Internet changed the way we use computers. </li></ul><ul><li>Computers became the tools for communication -- email, gopher, FTP, IRC, telnet, finger, talk etc. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Web connects people to info. <ul><li>Hypertext and hyperlinks enabled resources to be viewed across network computers. </li></ul><ul><li>The Web becomes the world’s largest information repository -- it’s free and up 24/7. </li></ul><ul><li>This is Web 1.0. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Search was the problem <ul><li>In Web 1.0, finding the right information was one of the most difficult problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Web search not only is an interesting research problem but also has great business potential. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the 90’s, only few companies foresee the importance of Web search. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Business
  11. 11. Web 1.0: E-commerce & .com <ul><li>Creating virtual business and handle traditional commerce transactions online were the agendas of most .com businesses. </li></ul>Img source: http://www.webservio.net
  12. 12. Technologies used in Web 1.0 <ul><li>Presentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HTML, JPEG/GIF -- Pages are fairly static </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Application and business logic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CGI (common gateway interface) -- popular at once </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The emergence of new languages: Perl, PHP, ColdFusion, Java and JavaScript </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network connectivity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modem and limited broadband access </li></ul></ul><ul><li>End user machine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Desktop PC -- fairly expensive </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Questions <ul><li>Why did companies like Amazon and Ebay survived the .com crash and companies like Webvan and Pets.com did not? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bad business mode? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor technology? </li></ul></ul>Source: Top 10 dot-com flops from CNET
  14. 14. Why .com bubble burst <ul><li>Technology perspective: what we had wasn’t sufficient to power Web applications that require dynamic user interaction and rich media content. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A page-driven Web application </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slow network bandwidth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Business perspective: being an eCommerce site is not a license for generating profit. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mirror traditional business models on the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forgetting the human and cultural factors </li></ul></ul>Story: My experience with Webvan at HP Labs
  15. 15. Welcome to Web 2.0
  16. 16. Questions <ul><li>What are the preconditions that enabled social life on the Internet to scale up? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New technologies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change of culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How companies are adapting their business models to meet an ever growing social Web? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is desktop software still relevant? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are media companies afraid of YouTube and P2P? </li></ul></ul>Wes Griffin writes in our blog: “I think Xcerion is taking O'Reilly's statement &quot;The Web As Platform&quot; a bit too literally…I don't see how bringing an entire desktop OS into a browser solves anything useful.’’
  17. 17. Change in business <ul><li>It used to cost millions if you want to start a new Web company. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Network infrastructure, engineers, sales and marketing and distribution. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Today’s startups are cheap! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One smart guy + couple friends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsource the infrastructure (Amazon S3) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hire tech-support overseas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Welcome to the Web 2.0 “Darwinism” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s your perspective? This is a good sign? Who benefited from this change? Who is left behind? </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Social life on the Internet is growing <ul><li>Social networking sites’ unique audience grow from 47 million in 2005 to 68 million in 2006, reaching 45% of active Web users. </li></ul>Source: www.nielsen-netratings.com/pr/pr_060511.pdf Source: http://www.nsba.org/site/docs/41400/41340.pdf
  19. 19. But… More people consume then produce Source: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_24/b4038404.htm
  20. 20. Social Web Browser <ul><li>The role and function of our browser are continuing changing. Maybe browser to be more socialable… </li></ul>Alice Carback writes in our blog: “I thought that I'd give Flock a try, at least for the during of the course. It incorporates Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket, Piczo, Blogger, Blogsome, and a long list of other services. So far so good.’’
  21. 21. The Long Tail theory <ul><li>Business can make money by selling less of more -- e.g., Amazon & Netflix. </li></ul><ul><li>Can Facebook, del.icio.us and Flickr take advantage of this idea? </li></ul>
  22. 22. Culture
  23. 23. User creating content <ul><li>The new Web is interesting and powerful because information is not created few authorities but by everyone. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember collective intelligence? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Privacy is under attack <ul><li>What to publish and what not to publish? </li></ul><ul><li>Whom should I share information with? </li></ul><ul><li>Whom should I network with? </li></ul><ul><li>How to protect my rights? </li></ul>
  25. 25. Ethics in the Social Web <ul><li>What are the ethical standard on both, the side of the users and the corporate platform providers? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection of minors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency of the rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy in relation to submitted data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect for the social contract </li></ul></ul>Source: http://www.slideshare.net/trebor/web-20-ethics
  26. 26. Example: Free labor <ul><li>Should we allow companies to profit from user-created content? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it matter if the content is created for leisure or fun? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What if the content involves others that are unrelated to the content creator? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you think of other problems? </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Social Web and Politics <ul><li>Blogs and social networks become powerful political tools. </li></ul>Justin Martineau writes on our blog: “… As you can see from his most recent post Harry Chen is still very much involved in the development of Gnizer. Looking at the number of project members listed (2) raises the questions: &quot;Does Harry Chen have Ulterior Motives for teaching Social Web Technologies?&quot;
  28. 28. Social Web and Arts Sarah Stanger writes in our blog: “A website that I am really excited about is Many- eyes.com … Users can upload datasets or create visualizations using their own or others' datasets. They can then embed the visualizations in their blogs or use the many-eyes site to discuss anything interesting they find in the data… So have fun playing with visualizations! ’’
  29. 29. Social Web and Music <ul><li>You can explore the power of social networking in just about every domain. </li></ul><ul><li>Try music sub-culture… </li></ul>Mike Tavener writes in our blog: “ Metalstorm.ee is social website aimed at users who listen to music outside the realm of the mainstream…The website now boasts all of the usual social networking features, such as messaging and profiles, but also includes some features especially useful to the site's content.’’
  30. 30. Summary <ul><li>The Social Web is deeply rooted in our history, business and culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Before the Internet: the use of computers evolved from a number-crunching machine to a communication tool. </li></ul><ul><li>After .com in the 90’s: we use computers to social. Not only we consume information but also we produce information. </li></ul><ul><li>The Social Web raised many ethical questions. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Homework due Feb 4th, 2008 <ul><li>Write a blog post related to any of the following topic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Long Tail theory or related business stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Controversial Social Web business models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inside the success story of a Web 2.0 company </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Web and politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Web and arts and music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Web and health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Web cultures in the non-US countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social sub-cultures: different age groups, special-interest groups, arts and sports etc. </li></ul></ul>

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