Social Software and Web 2

Social Software and Web
2.0 – Interactive Innovation
Thomas Ryberg
PhD student
e-Learning Lab, Department of Communication and
Made with Web 2.0 Logo-creator:
This work is published under a Creative Commons license:
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5
• Some confessions and warnings!
• Web 2.0 – core points
• Demonstration and showcases of “Web 2.0
and social software” services and software
 The technological perspective
 The conceptual perspective
 Understanding the sociology of technology use!
• Interactive Innovation – my spin on this:
 User generated content, user driven innovation,
hackability, widgetality and the perpetual beta!
Some confessions
• DANGER! We are entering an area of extreme hype
and buzz; I tells ya!! 
• We should be aware of the buzzification and
commercialisation of academia – there are a lot of
floating signifiers around:
 Innovation, critical mass, synergy, experience economy,
user driven innovation and design
• These concepts we need to juggle carefully and
give meaning to them
• We all have a responsibilty in treating them with
some academic skepticism as well
• We also need to think of whom terms, concepts,
movements and the products of academic work will
benefit; whether material or conceptual products
Web 2.0 and social software
• Have you heard about and know the terms?
• What’s the fuzz??
 Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on
the internet that let people collaborate, and share information
online. They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social
software). The term may include blogs and wikis. To some
extent Web 2.0 is a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly
popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts), and its
meaning is still in flux.
Adapted from:
• May be a lot of buzz – but it’s buzz that’s supported and
developed by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft…
• Also the entire media landscape in DK is currently reorganising to accommodate to ‘user generated content’ or
‘citizen journalism’!
• Should we understand this as software and services or a
conceptual framework?
This news just in:
• Computerworld podcast 12/10/06:
 Web 2.0 er et tomt begreb (Web 2.0 is an empty
concept)...suggests that it should be replaced by ’social
media’...that certainly added the clarity we needed 
 ”Unge gider ikke social networking” (Youth don’t bother
social networking) – apparently DR SKUM lost a lot of users
the last year and Morten Bay argues – They should use
mobile phones like Helio and has more
than 500.000 profiles, 21.000 online (now...then) and they
introduced ArtoD2 a mobile chat application app. a year
ago...Maybe the problem lies with SKUM and not youth...
“Web 1.0”  “Web 2.0”
Web 1.0
Web 2.0
Britannica Online
Personal websites
Web services publishing
Content management systems
Directories (taxonomy)
Tagging ("folksonomy")
Syndication (RSS, XML)
Some Examples:,,
Matrice above adapted from:
Architecture of
participation, bottoup
Rich internet apps,
Livewriter, writely,
reader, Flock
User driven
innovation & design,
citizen journalism
“Software” RIA
Google Earth, Yahoo
Maps etc.
intelligence, sharing,
Web 2.0 and SoSo
Technologies, furl,
Bibsonomy, CiteULike
Youtube, Revver,
Flickr, Riya
Open Source,
Digg, technorati,
Plazes, Myspace, arto,
dodgeball, hi5
Live, Yahoo360,
Podcasting, Wikis,
Some metaphors and
“movements” on the internet
• Individual user: browsing centrally defined web-pages, or
constructing such a webpage – webpages as information
• Communities: With strong relations and common
goals/enterprises – usenet, online communities (Communities
of Practice) – Soap Opera, Computer Games etc.
• Networked Individualism: Constant traversing of different
types of networks with strong and weak ties. Constructing an
individual, but deeply relational network, through blog-rings,
tagging, sharing links, aggregating or distributing news via
RSS – social networking sites have become increasingly
popular:, Friendster, MySpace,,
• These types of use are of course co-existing and overlapping
Some web-trends
• From communities to networked structures
• From centrally defined content and static pages to user driven
content (Blogs, Wikis, Flickr, Wikipedia) – democratisation of
Knowledge and content?
• “Web 2.0 either empowers the individual and provides an outlet for
the 'voice of the voiceless'; or it elevates the amateur to the
detriment of professionalism, expertise and clarity.” (Citation from:
• Potential Democratisation, de-centralisation and anarchy – “back to
the future” – the original idea of the Internet according to Tim
Berners Lee e.g. Creative Commons alternative copyright licences,
The Open Source Movement, whole notion of sharing and
• Distribution, Aggregation and tagging of various media and content
– from hierarchical directories and central ownership to distributed,
user driven “folksonomies” and media aggregation
• From consumers to producers: a recent study from PEW internet
research concluded that 57% of American teens are producing
content for the web of various nature (blogs, fan-fiction etc.). But
this might also be overstated – depending on the perspective.
• Sharing links,
bookmarks, references
• Folksonomy –
architecture “designed”
by users
• Search, tags, archives –
relies on the power of
weak ties, networks of
interests and trust –
“collective intelligence”
• RSS, Refer, Bibtex,
• Aggregation,
• Sharing, exchanging,
watching, rating,
• User generated
content: video,
pictures, audio
• Search, tags,
clusters, popularity,
mass, picture search
(face recognition)
• Distribute,
aggregate through
widgets, RSS, links,
• Rating, sharing,
electronic billboard
• Search, tags, power
of weak ties,
location (DK, US),
• User driven rating
and content, mass,
popularity, no
• Distribute, RSS,
widgets, blogrolls
• Networking, profiles,
interests, strong and
weak ties,
discussion, identity,
• Closeness,
placeness, locality
• Heavily widgetised,
and mediatised –
audio, video
• Distribute,
convergence, GPS,
OpenAPIs, SMS,
• Like regular apps –
but they’re online –
calendar, news
reader, Web OS etc.
• Also stand alone
apps – Google Earth
• Discover, search,
location, placeness,
• Collaborative
editing, sharing
calendars, Social
networks – sharing
placemarks, layers
• Integration with
maps, wikipedia,
external sites
The technological perspective
• Some of all this stuff are new technologies; some are older
technologies, which have been popularised e.g. blogs, wikis
Technological perspective
• Some of the tech-stuff:
 AJAX that allows web-office – live editing
updating (maybe some of you know more?)
 Standards and exchange ’protocols’: RSS, XML,
CSS, java-script, Flash
 OpenAPIs and Open Source Software – not the
same, but OpenAPI and exchange mechanisms
open for MashUps
 This results in: aggregation, distribution,
widgetality and hackability
Aggregation, distribution,
• Agg/Distr: This refers to the interoperability of systems e.g.
How one through RSS or XML document can import content
from other sites or streams into one own page e.g. One page
with all blog-posting, Flickr pictures, sport-results, news etc.
create a tapestry of microcontent
• Hackability is the notion that code is open or there is a freely
available API, one can create services that draws on Google
Maps e.g. That profiles on Arto and Myspace
supports HTML, javascript where one can customise the
looks, import video from youtube, bookmarks from, create tag-clouds and so on.
• It is also becoming available in gadgets and OS’es – one can
tamper with the coding, hardware and so on to create new
services or functions (Chumby, Xbox, MacOS is full of
widgets, so Vista will be)
• Widgets are the easy way of doing this – mashups are a little
harder but great fun!
A Web Widget is a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed
within any separate html-based web page by an end user without requiring
additional compilation. They are akin to plugins or extensions in desktop
applications. Other terms used to describe a Web Widget include Gadget,
Badge, Module, Capsule, Snippet, Mini and Flake. Web Widgets often but not
always use Adobe Flash or JavaScript programming languages.
• By using the possibilites of exchange,
distribution and aggregation (refers both to
aggregation, but also to specific software
mashups) new services/software are created
• E.g. 10 best flickr-mashups:
• Or:
The conceptual perspective
• Sharing, collaborating, connecting, networking, identity work –
harnessing the power of both weak and strong ties in networks
• Hive-intelligence (stupid term!) – Two heads are better than one - one
million heads are even better – Wikipedia; no central expert, but
distributed intelligence (though questionable)
• Folksonomies – the bottom-up approach – the structure and what is
important are decided by the users, not a central categorisation unit,
what is hot news depends on the users, not an editor
• User-driven innovation and user generated content – people upload
and share their homemade pictures, videoes, bookmarks, calendars
etc. creating ’creative’ personal profiles through use of scripting,
widgets, light-weight coding, mashups and so on.
• Funny tension: Copy-left, Open Source, Free software foundation –
information should be free vs. We make shit-loads of money on
idiots freely giving their videos away and all their personal
information (Google, Youtube, MySpace etc.) – hence some call it
loser-driven innovation 
Understanding the sociology of
• Some of this stuff is pretty nerdy and funny; but some of the
thoughts surrounding all of this is quite
 Are blogs the savior of modern democracy or are they the
biggest attempt till date to flatten our culture with superstitious
narcissistic babblings?
 Are moblogs and videoblogs the liberation of consumers in a
process of making them into content producers or are we
witnessing an overflow of reality TV addicts gone crazy in
exposing themselves online?
 Provocative (and purposely wrong questions from Søren Mørk)
• What we need to realise:
 This is just part of people’s lives – it is a way of being in the
world, which is social, banal, mundane, meaningful, purposeful;
it is part of people’s identity, friendships and social networks
 Maybe wrong to speak of ’content’ – maybe better to take about
events, situations, life-bits
Social fabric of everyday life
• Online/offline – makes no sense – the web and web 2.0 for that
matter is a continuation, overlap, extension of everyday life
• Virtual/Real – makes no sense: people are real in the virtual, some
identity play, but identity is very often tied to location, everyday
doings, interests, friends and so on – quite mundane
• The notion of virtual networks as non-places (Christopher Lash) is
nonsense!! Place, space and location is ALL – closeness, personal,
close social networks, intimacy
• Here are some citations from Danish Arto users – why they use arto:
 ”that I have more contact with my friends… also when we’re together…
because then we might talk about something that happened in here…”
(Girl, 15)
 ”That I won’t lose some of my IRL-friends!” (Boy, 17)
• The social fabric of the web is tightly closed to the local, the place,
the location and the creation of a personal, but relational identity
• Barry Wellman terms it: Glocalization – we do become more global,
but we do not become less local or grounded
Location based technology
• Space, Place and location -
• Location based games – PacManhattan
• Intermixture between virtual/real
• GPRS, GPS, mobile location (moblogging
tied to places, coupled e.g. With google
maps) or services like Dodgeball
• GIS:
Interactive Innovation
• User generated content and innovation –
 Understanding how technologies speak into people’s lives,
identities and connects to their streams of experience, their
being in the world and connection to others – the social fabric of
 Creating architectures of meaningful participation, opportunities
for engaging with peers, networks and developing situations,
events, life-bits
• Hackability, widgetality – keep it open, modifiable, listen to
and understand the users, let them play, hack, modify,
• The perpetual beta! You’re never done, people’s needs will
change, their practices and ways of using the systems will
develop and change, which in turn will mean you’ll have to
change the systems to accommodate to emerging needs
Some suggestions
• Mob-logging, flickr galleries from the
culture night, collective tagging of the
culture night events – coupling Maps
with Wikis, ”Live”-podcasting
• Ratemystore – user ratings,
recommendations – location based
• Location based games
• Flickr live streams on screens
Some references