Ablogwithoutaname's Blog

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What does blogging, social networking and Web 2.0 really mean(and matter) anyway?

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The term “Web 2.0” somewhat annoys me. I understand why it is used, but the concept needs to not be passed off as a new technology because it is not. Underneath the fancy web pages, increased interactivity, comments, Flash animations, videos and graphics, it is the same architecture. The “backbone” of the Internet is essentially the same.  Web 2.0  isn’t a completely different way of doing things, it is just an expansion.

I know, I know you say “but that is what 2.0 means.” We aren’t saying that it is a new thing, just an upgrade. Yet many people talk about Web 2.0 as if it were completely removed from the Web of the past.  They’ll talk about the Internet as it is today as if it were a completely different animal than it was originally. They are partly right of course, the Internet has expanded far beyond what it once was.  But calling the features now available through the Web “2.0” and treating it as a completely different animal is kind of like putting ketchup on a hamburger and calling it “hamburger 2.0.”  Sure, the condiment may make it taste a little different, but underneath the ketchup, it is the same meat.  Just because new formatting and scripting languages are released that allow for more bells and whistles doesn’t mean that the Web is suddenly an entirely different thing as it once was.  Fundamentally, the Internet and the Web work the same way it always has.

Also, I find the idea of blogging and social networking being a collaborative effort in which people share their ideas in an effort to better humanity or some other altruistic goal to be a bit flawed.  Often times, I find blogs  and social networking to be more about the originating creator rather than a desire to better a community somehow.  Put another way, most blogs have a lot of  “I feel” or ” I thought”. Sure, we occasionally post or tweet links or things we think our friends may like, but ultimately it is about the original author.  Social networking and blogging is more about making the author feel something, rather than to further some universal understanding on a subject.

Finally, there is the concept of people collaborating together on blogs to further an understanding on a news story or current event to which I’ll simply say:  Have you seen the average comment?  To put it mildly, most of the comments especially on stories related to politics are people spouting of ideology, usually with little to no evidence to back up their viewpoints. Very little adds anything of substantive value nor does it change anyone’s opinion. Think back to the last time you had an “ah-ha” moment from reading a comment from a news story. You can probably count on one hand the number of times that has happened. But then again, it isn’t about you, it is about them.  The idea of blogging and social networking being about anything other than selfish personal expression is flawed.

Yes, a reader may get something out of it but that is not the reason it exists.


Written by Matt

June 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm