web 2.0 talk and thoughts

On Tuesday, I will give a talk on “Co-creating Content: Participatory Culture, Web 2.0 and Digital Mashups” at the 13th Nordic Conference on Information and Documentation at Stockholm University, 19 June. I came up with this title some time ago, and I would probably have added something about “critical”, “challenges” etc. if I had produced the title at a more recent point. Anyhow, web 2.0 will be the focus of the talk, and I think the abstract (better than the title) indicates what I plan to do:

In this talk, I will examine and exemplify the ideas of participatory culture and co-created content in relation to new media. There is a growing literature on these topics, and also a number of best-practice examples. I will partly draw on the work carried out in HUMlab at Umeå University, a high-profile meeting place for the humanities information technology. Examples from HUMlab include a collaborative blog opera project and the EU project QVIZ, Query and context based visualization of time-spatial cultural dynamics, in which collaborative systems are being built for the cultural heritage sector. Throughout, the participatory user will be in focus, as well as critical perspectives on the hype associated with these technologies and ideas.

My plan is to start off through discussing web 2.0 as definition, history and fuzzy/prototype concept. I think I should probably also show some standard examples (flickr, del.icio.us, digg, facebook etc.) – I will not spend much time on this, but I know from experience that not everyone has familiarity with these resources. I will also talk about the idea of the participatory user in a broad context. One issue concerns how participatory the participatory user really is. I will then move on to dicuss other kinds of critical discourse surrounding web 2.0 (promised land, ideology, the business model, critique of collective intelligence as idea/implementation, poor aesthetics, the cult of the amateur, lack of solid metadata etc.). I also plan to demonstrate some new web applications (such as Picnik, which I think is marvelous), and discuss a couple of situated projects (not least thinking about inside-outside web 2.0 and context). Furthermore, I will discuss a new (?) range of applications/services more obviously building on large data sets available in for instance Flickr, and creating rather exciting new layers and tools (again, more external than internal) that go far beyond showing your Flickr stream or uploading images from your cell phone. I also hope to have time to talk a little bit how something like Second Life fits into all this (possibly as a layer on top of web 2.0-created data) as well as digital mashups.

Some references and links will be posted here tomorrow. Feedback appreciated!

Some general resources:

Web 2.0 Awards (seomoz.org): Useful resource if you are looking for interesting, high-quality web 2.0 applications.

Some rather typical applications/services (ones that I bring up initially in my talk):

Some articles:

“Web 2.0: Hype, Reality, or the Future” by Dharmesh Shah, Ilana Davidi, Yoav Shapira and Robbie Allen.

“The Amorality of Web 2.0″ by Nicholas Carr (blog entry).

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