Modern Technologies including Web 2.0 

Within my dissertation I decided that I was going to look into modern communication technologies and how these have been used to build communities. I had a book, Making is Connecting by David Gauntlett, which was mostly about how making and crafting brings people together, how it makes people happy to make and share, how people can use Web 2.0 platforms to share their work and come up with new and innovative (as well as collaborative) ideas, and how maybe, the idea of Web 2.0 could actually be used as a platform for real-life communities, offline! exciting huh?

Now when I came up with this idea I thought it was brill, but when it actually came to researching for it, my mind tried to hide from all the mental aerobics it would have to do in order to understand what the flip these tech-minded guys were on about.

It took me a while before I actually wanted to face what I had planned to write about, but then I woke up one Sunday morning  (a Sunday?! of all days) and just got on with it. Don’t ask me what happened, I must have got out of the right side of the bed (even thought theres only really one side you can get out of) but what the heck, let’s get my tech on!

What I found, was actually this really interesting digital world that I didn’t really know a whole lot about. I use it everyday (some might say that makes me a web-junkie, whatever) but I never really knew where it came from (other than some British guy made it) or that it had different versions or stages, or that it was even still developing. We’ve all seen those films where someone knows and handy hacker computer geek that knows like all the best coding, but does anyone really know what the flip they’re really on about or is it just more of a ‘oh I saw that in a movie once’ and thats the end of the conversation?

Anyway, I got up and started to research the Internet and modern technologies. Starting with the David Gauntlett book, I came across a brief overview of what Web 2.0 was, but um was there like a Web 1.0? or did it just suddenly appear fully formed as Web 2.0. It turns out, that there was a Web 1.0, which was actually only called the Web when Tim Berner-Lee created it in the late 1990’s (and yes, he is British). He started creating it as a little side project while he was working in CERN in swtizerland, a big uber-tech lab thingy.

The internet was a place where everyone had their own little website which they tended to, and that was that. All the data that was stored in each of these webpages was wholly separate from the next, which meant that it was take just about your whole life, to find everything you wanted because you’d have to go into each site separately, and nobody had time for that! Berners-Lee wasn’t ok with this. He wanted the Web to be a place where everything was linked, one website would lead to another and then another and another, making links where you might not have even known links could be made. He wanted a system where everyone collaborated with the upkeep and shared all their data so that it would only take about an hour to find everything you need. This ideas, the collaborative virtual system, that is Web 2.0. It’s not an update from the Web, its just a different way in which the Web interacts, a whole functioning hive instead of individual sites. I’m sure Berners-Lee had a great deal of input, along with other mega-tech brains like himself, but it was Tim O’Reilly (who nabbed the name from someone else) that came up with the frame work of Web 2.0, or was just the best at explaining it.

Anyway, 4 books and a TED Talk (on linked data no less!) later and I’m kind of buzzed to be learning about all this technology which I didn’t think I would ever be able to understand. I’ve got to say, it’s kind of super fascinateing to learn about, and it’s really cool when you can start talking about it and you get the ‘are you even speaking english’ faces off the people around you, it totally makes you feel like a mega-tech genius.

All of this recapping and rambling hasn’t been for nothing though, because this has actually formed part of my dissertation, where I started off by talking about Web 2.0 but then sort of end up with this idea, which was expressed in Making is Connecting, that what if Web 2.0 can be used outside of the internet, as an offline platform for communication between people, making one big community where people shared and developed! I though it was a super cool idea but that might just because it interests me? and maybe because I’m looking into the different way in which craftivism can effect social justice, which includes how it can create communities, both in real-life and online, but oh well. Someone else might find it interesting too …


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