O’Reilly emphasizes a clear distinction between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 being the participation of users that “the service automatically gets better the more people use it.” Bit Torrent users bring their own resources as each is also a server and the “network of downloaders” is harnessed.
Wikipedia is built on the “unlikely notion” that anyone can contribute.
In the section called the Architecture of Participation, it notes that a key lesson of Web 2.0 is that “users add value” but then goes on to say that only a small number of users actually go to the trouble of adding that value. Thus, “Web 2.0 companies set inclusive defaults for aggregating user data and building value as a side-effect of ordinary use of the application.”
For some reason I started to think about Aldous Huxley’s warning of big brother and the world he painted in Brave New World. It has been some time since I read the book so my analysis may be off, but that book outlined a future in which the general populace did not contribute but that all decisions were made for people. I began to consider that this new generation that expects to contribute would never lead us to such a world. But if it really is only a small number who do contribute, perhaps we’re not safe from living in a world where decisions are made for us or where we inadvertently contribute to decisions that we are not aware are even being made because of our actions.
I do remember studying in Gordon’s class about the wisdom of crowds and the idea that better ideas are usually the result when more heads are brought together.
That’s a hopeful thought for our future if Web 2.0 really is relying on a wisdom of the crowd.
The whole idea of Web 2.0 really turns the world upside down. It’s very different from our past patriarchal society. “The boss” was always a man who had tight control. Remember Father Knows Best? We really believed that he did. I can see room for feminist studies in this move to Web 2.0. Is there a change in the gender of who is making decisions when crowdsourcing is used?