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“Loser Generated Content”

That’s one creative title for an article in what looks to be a fascinating issue of First Monday. The issue offers a critical take on Web 2.0; here’s Michael Zimmer on its theme:

In Technopoly, Neil Postman warned that we tend to be “surrounded by the wondrous effects of machines and are encouraged to ignore the ideas embedded in them. Which means we become blind to the ideological meaning of our technologies.” As the power and ubiquity of Web 2.0 rises, it becomes increasingly difficult for users to recognize its externalities, and easier to take the design of such tools simply “at interface value.” Heeding Postman and [Sherry] Turkle’s warnings, this collection of articles will . . . critically explore the social, political, and ethical dimensions of Web 2.0.

And here’s Trebor Scholz:

The Social Web is not and cannot be the all–mighty teacher, healer, and redeemer for everything that went astray in society. By defining today’s Social Web solely through the lens of business, however, we loose track of all that, which the Web could be. Re–imagine the Social Web as a place for unmarketed, non–mainstream projects that caters to all needs of those who inhabit it.

The Web 2.0 épistémè will not just go away. Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of its false claims, its ideological embedment, reinforced by professional elites. With Bill Thompson, a technology critic and essayist, I conclude that “If Web 2.0 is the answer then we are clearly asking the wrong question.”

Congrats to the authors on putting together what looks to be a fascinating issue.

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