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Abstracts accepted!

Posted by acsislab on May 31, 2007

The ACSIS Lab blog would like to congratulate Ted Naylor and Charlene Croft for the acceptance of their abstracts to the upcoming “Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0” conference at The University of York, in the United Kingdom.  We will be posting links to the abstracts shortly. *** Update, the abstracts are linked on the Knowledge Creation page. 

On another note, the ACSISlab and ACSIScentre sites are coming along very nicely.  They are being designed and created by Luke Naylor, using photographs conceptualized by Charlene.

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Posted in Academics, web 2.0 | 2 Comments »

Towards ICT Literacies

Posted by acsislab on May 25, 2007

The ACSIS Team – Ted Naylor and Charlene Croft, with E. Dianne Looker 

While issues of access to technology and connectivity infrastructure remain essential, it is also paramount that on top of connectivity we recognize that inclusive access does not end at being ‘connected’. Rather, inclusion and participation in the knowledge society is tied to social processes that are dynamic and complex and which vary across different socio-economic contexts.  

To this end, we introduce and discuss the notion of ICT literacy. This concept provides an analytical approach that makes visible that there are important differences in use, skill levels and objectives in using ICTs throughout the social order, particularly across the key socio-economic sectors of governance, business, education and community. ICT literacy therefore provides the analytical link to understanding how to navigate and use the information highway in ways that cuts experiences of users in different ways; people form literacies with meaning that are socially and culturally mediated. An equitable knowledge society is indeed a connected one, yet is also one based on acknowledging that a plurality of ICT literacies exist; there are not ‘dumb’ users of technology and ‘smart’ users of technology when considering how individuals employ ICTs in ways that matter to their lives, circumstances and needs.  

From a policy and practice perspective, we believe this approach helpfully moves us away from the prevailing tendency to understand ICT literacy as a singular, hierarchy ranked, uniform set of competencies with computers or technologies that can be measured, standardized and taught.  

The Knowledge Economy 

It is now generally acknowledged that Canada, similar to other advanced social democracies, is becoming a knowledge based economy. This shift is premised on the accentuation of “knowledge” as the most important factor of production, surpassing land, labour, and capital based on the diffusion of information communication technologies (ICTs) throughout the social order (Parayil 2005).  

From a federal policy and programme perspective, Canada has aggressively positioned itself as a leading proponent of the knowledge economy, making massive investments in infrastructure and programs based on the understanding that “Canada needs a highly skilled and educated workforce to remain competitive and sustain its prosperity in an increasingly global and knowledge-based economy” (Berger et al. 2007).

The Knowledge Society

While there has been a great deal of focus on creating an advantageous climate for growing the knowledge economy, considerably less focus has been put into considering how we might ensure the development of an equitable knowledge society. In broad terms, a knowledge society centre’s around the social capabilities to identify, process, transform, disseminate and use information to build and apply knowledge for human development (UNESCO).  

However, while issues of access to technology and connectivity infrastructure remain essential, it is also paramount that on top of connectivity we recognize that inclusive access does not end at being ‘connected’. Rather, inclusion and participation in the knowledge society is tied to social processes that are dynamic and complex and which vary across different socio-economic contexts.  

Indeed, scholars of the ‘digital divide’ now point out that this divide cannot be reduced to just technological access, “solved” through “simple technological fixes” (Parayil 2005) because connectivity and access to infrastructures are not a sufficient basis to develop a knowledge society based on equitable inclusion and participation (UNESCO).  

In both cases, the concept of the knowledge society and economy hinges on access to computing infrastructures – while government policy and programme has begun to successfully conquer the ‘digital divide’ in terms of access to technology and connectivity infrastructure it has not yet sufficiently addressed the digital divide in terms of ensuring adequate levels of literacy with ICTs.  

ICT literacy addresses the post-connectivity question of, what now? For those with access to the ubiquitous information highway, ICT literacy provides the analytical link to understanding how to navigate and use the information highway in ways that cuts experiences of users in different ways. This approach makes visible that there are important differences in use, skill levels and objectives in using ICTs throughout the social order and that these differences should not, and do not, necessarily follow along a hierarchal ordering of ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ skills within the social realm – there are not ‘dumb’ users of technology and ‘smart’ users of technology when considering how individuals employ ICTs in ways that matter to their lives, circumstances and needs.  

ICT literacy  

While there are many definitions of ICT literacy within the scholarly literature (see Bawden 2001 for a review), ICT literacy is generally taken as an “umbrella term” that attempts to describe a new set of literacies which have emerged as a result of a broader shift to an “information society” and the accompanying technologies embedded in that shift. As Warschauer (in press: 16) concludes, “Today, the social, economic, and technological transformations are again aligned to bring about major changes in literacy practices.”  

Currently, the prevailing tendency in understanding ICT literacy is to understand it as a singular, standardized set of competencies with computers or technologies. In the tradition of traditional literacy, we then find those agents and organizations wishing “to define ‘it’, to teach it, measure it, assess it, and remediate it – in a word, to universalize and standardize it (Lankshear and Knobel 2005).” If you don’t have ‘it’, then you better get ‘it’ because you will need ‘it’ in the future, goes the rationale. Within the education sector, for example, this approach is ensconced within traditional curriculum programs that understand ICT literacy as a teachable and unified set of skills to be learned. However, evidence from our study, among others, suggests that ICT literacy should be more accurately understood across a broad range of competencies and skills, and that individuals use ICTs in ways that matter to them, and not necessarily along a fixed continuum of ‘advancing’ skills.  

Our understanding of ICT literacy therefore differs from the normative understandings of ICT literacy by recognizing that there are social and cultural elements which draw our attention to understanding literacy in different ways which vary in different social contexts (Simpson 2005).  Freire (2000) describes literacy as “an active phenomenon, deeply linked to personal and cultural identity. Its power lies not in a received ability to read and write, but rather in an individual’s capacity to put those skills to work in shaping the course of his or her own life.” In this context, ICT literacy conceptualizes a whole host of social practices of how people engage in making meaning “mediated by texts that are produced, received, distributed, exchanged, etc., via digital codification” (Lankshear and Knobel 2005: 9). People form literacies with meaning that are socially and culturally mediated, which is not the result from some universally learned skill or technique.  

With this in mind, we would suggest four major socio-economic sectors where ICT literacy matters; it matters in the sense that while literacies with ICTs will inevitably vary among individuals, these sectors continue to form the basis of the knowledge society. Therefore a consideration of literacy with ICTs among these sectors is paramount to ensure equitable inclusion in the knowledge society.   

  • Governance

It is important to consider ICT literacy in relation to its significance around equitable participation within the public domain. The existence of asymmetries in democratic and governing practices in Canada is now well established. In this context, ICTs are increasingly playing an important role in inclusion around policy formulation and decision-making processes (Dale and Naylor 2006). Civic engagement processes are increasingly found on-line, and the communication possibilities created by ICTs allow the public to express itself more immediately and effectively than previously possible, helping citizens reinvigorate public talk and dialogue in entirely new ways, and with entirely new results (Dale and Naylor 2006).  

Aside from ICTs contribution to civic engagement, ICTs are also now crucial to evolving notions of alternative service delivery mechanisms within government. In efforts to become more efficient and effective, many government services are now found online (http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr). The rationale is that the public can be better served by making these services available online, circumventing the traditional bureaucratic ‘silos and stovepipes’ found across departments, and offering more immediate and better services to citizens.  

  • Business

Simply connecting business to the Internet isn’t sufficient for ensuring effective use of the advantages offered by ICTs. In a study of rural New Zealand small businesses, the authors recommend that human capability play the key role in their E-Commerce strategy as a priority for the Government in the drive for economic transformation. To this end, among a host of recommendations, the authors direct the government to facilitate skill training for small business by ensuring the education sector focuses on ICT literacy, and that the government helps the private sector “build broader ICT literacy and capability in the community including rural areas” (Al-Qirim and Corbett 2003). In this way, ICT literacy becomes positioned as the key competitive edge for businesses once they have gained connectivity – the better literacy skills with ICTs on behalf of businesses and owners, the more competitive they become within a global marketplace where ICT literacy is presumed to be the entry fee to compete.  

  • Education

Canada requires a highly skilled and educated workforce to ensure it is competitive and to sustain its long-term prosperity in a knowledge-based economy (Berger et al. 2007).

At the same time, it is widely believed that students who have difficulty converting written information to knowledge are at a critical disadvantage in today’s world (Sim 2006). ICT literacy is therefore a desirable and necessary form of human capital, particularly in relation to an increasing emphasis on an individual’s success within the context of a knowledge economy.  

Within the field of economics, there is also a growing theoretical consensus that the driving force behind economic growth is technological advancement; an assertion which has clearly found its way into educational policy formulation, and curriculum reform and practice for many governments, including Canada. As Milton (2005: 10) contends, “The early drivers of levels of investment in ICT in education have not changed.  ICT skills are a key factor in both individuals’ success in the labour market and in national economic growth.” So while connectivity and access remain important obstacles within education, obstacles to creating literacy with ICTs within the education sector is the key to ensuring all groups have access to tapping the potential created by connectivity within Nova Scotia, particularly those groups that have been historically marginalized (Naylor and Frank, forthcoming).  

  •   Community

Rural connectivity and literacy with that connectivity represents an important development in the historical use of ICTs to foster and enhance civic participation within the public domain (Dale and Naylor 2006). In this context, the use of the ICTs to expand dialogue, literacy and discourse are taken as new features of a potentially democratic process within the public sphere since to a large extent they seek to involve different groups employing different techniques to achieve different objectives.  

Rural communities worldwide are now facing formidable challenges: significant demographic urban growth, with associated problems of economic and population losses in many rural and resource-dependent communities, with associated job loss and community decline; and meeting the basic necessities for clean air, clean water, energy, transportation, land use, housing, jobs, health, waste disposal, etc. Such problems are dynamically interconnected and cannot be dealt with in isolation; they require new approaches, frameworks, partnerships and tools to address them in an integrative fashion (Dale and Onyx, in press). Key to facing these challenges is the capacity of communities to coordinate and lead discussions around these issues, potentially contributing to a rapid development of social capital.  

The emergent tools of Web 2.0, for example, suggest the importance of a set of communication tools that rural communities might adopt as strategies that cut across the rural socio-economic experience. It also highlights the critical need to address a plurality of literacies that need to be considered in relation to connectivity.  

Internet Web 2.0 applications are “those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated services that gets better the more people use it, creating network effects through an ‘architecture of participation’ (O’Reilly 2005). In this way, Web 2.0 first assumes access to web based infrastructure but from there departs from the current understanding of the internet as a single entry point to access more information or as static communications link. Rather Web 2.0 is centered on a model of knowledge generation and production by communities.  

As rural communities continue to face the challenges noted above, they require the tools to mobilize not only their civic voices and participation but their commerce and economies; and without the literacy to embrace and adapt the evolving architecture of the knowledge society and economy they risk becoming marginalized as technology ‘have-not’s’.


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Scholarship in the age of participation

Posted by acsislab on May 24, 2007

This article comes courtesy of George Siemens  via Paul Coyne

Scholarship in an age of participation

George Siemens
March 27, 2007

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Journals are an essential and trusted aspect of knowledge growth and dissemination. New discoveries, advances in disciplines, and critical solutions to complex problems find their home in academic journals. The future language and concepts of science and society often find their first life in peer review and formal publication. Citations are the heart of the process – establishing reputations and providing the infrastructure for knowledge growth and information integrity.

Eugene Garfield’s Journal Impact Factor (JIF) utilizes citation analysis to determine (obviously) the impact of the journal. Larry Page’s (of Google) insight into the value of links (backrub as was his initial term) as a means of determining authority altered web search and online information access (John Battelle). By treating each link as a citation, and determining value of a web page based on incoming links, web sites are assigned a “page rank” similar to Garfield’s JIF.

Citations and weblinks are the lubricant of knowledge growth. Yet journals – the vehicle of citations – possess a weakness derived from the structured process of review and publishing. The methodical process of submission – editor evaluation, numerous reviews, and finally (possibly) publishing – is intended to filter those ideas lacking solid research or possessing faulty reasoning. The process is time consuming. Publication can take from six to twelve months (in some cases even longer).

The process itself can be frustrating for authors, with limited opportunities to address faults of, or engage in dialogue around, anonymous reviews. Peer review suffers challenges similar to any aspect of society – where power and knowledge aggregate, there is room for abuse and misuse. What peer review does offer is an element of transparency and authority from experts. The informalization of information, as evidenced by increased use of informal citations in student papers, growth of Wikipedia, and use of Google for research, presents new challenges. The basis of peer review and the architecture of citations are critical for academic discourse. Our challenge is one of preserving the value of traditional approaches, while utilizing the best of emerging approaches.

Trends influencing formal publication

Four significant trends are creating conditions of change in academic journals:

  • Growth of information,
  • Expectation of participation,
  • Increased openness,
  • Two-way flow

Growth of Information
The growth of information hardly requires proof – we feel it in our daily lives. The growth of multi-media, internet, information management systems, advanced search engines, and academic contributions from emerging economies are only a few of the changes making their presence known in our personal lives. Our personal experience is validated with numerous studies. A research project at University of California at Berkeley stated that the global information base grew 75% from 2000 to 2002. A recent IDC report predicts a six-fold increase in digital information between 2006 and 2010.

The argument for change is simple: When characteristics and context of knowledge – the core element of the journal process – change, the processes, tools, and institutions which interact with knowledge must change as well.

Expectation of participation
Late last year, Time Magazine declared “you” – the amateur journalist, podcaster, blogger, wikipedia editor, and those who contributed to, and created the current participatory culture – its Person of the Year. The digital habits of many online participants have changed. No longer are we satisfied to simply consume the content of others. We desire to create, to participate, to collaborate, and to be involved. In many cases, content consumption is blended with content creation – a culture of create, co-create, and re-create.

Increased openness
Growing concern about the public “paying twice” for information (once in the research dollars to fund the research and again in reading the research in a journal) is driving a shift in open access in educational materials.

Peter Suber states that:

Open Access (OA) “is compatible with copyright, peer review, revenue (even profit), print, preservation, prestige, career-advancement, indexing, and other features and supportive services associated with conventional scholarly literature. The primary difference is that the bills are not paid by readers and hence do not function as access barriers.”

Two-way flow
Tim Berners-Lee’s intent with the web was not to create a broadcast medium, but instead to create a read-write medium. While this vision languished for many years, partly due to the complexity of technology and publishing and partly due the “architecture of participation” being unformed. The last five years have largely attended to these challenges. Social software enables anyone to setup and publish his or her ideas. Many news sites now offer discussions around articles and audio and video files. As Public Library of Science demonstrates, formal, peer reviewed journal articles benefit from annotation and commenting features. Essentially, the two-way flow, read-write nature of scholarly communication removes “established knowledge” from the pedestal where only select few can comment.

Implications
For many, the citations of formal journals have given way to the page rank of Google, or the tags of Technorati. Journal citations are the specialty of a small segment of society – the academically proficient. Technorati, Google, and del.icio.us are the citation machines of the masses. The filtering performed by journals – through editorial and peer review – tests information before it enters the public sphere. Today’s online publishing tools enable anyone to publish, and testing and validation of information occurs through the actions of many (links, comments, blog posts, or social bookmarks).

The rigid, sometimes restrictive, nature of journals results in learners often soliciting more accessible and less complex sources of information. A large part of the challenge stems from lack of learner familiarity with the process of peer review – a key information literacy weakness. A process more in line with the spaces and tools of learners today – situated in a community-based environment – may prove to be an important resource in setting the foundation for the next generation of researchers and academics – blending the value of emerging tools with the proven model of review and citations.

Existing in two worlds
Numerous disciplines are facing a foundational shift in their method, process, and end user. Music, newspaper, television, radio and movie industries are embroiled in core redefinition of how they relate to their customers. Google has altered basic information search, and now threatens to alter academic search as well (through Google Scholar and Book Search).

Against this backdrop of changing end-user expectations, developing technologies, and changed flow of information, academic journals must adjust to retain their relevance. The changes moving forward require a balance of honoring what has worked well with journals – peer review and the citation model in particular – and adopting those democratic elements revealed in Amazon’s reviews (though anonymous), Digg’s rating, and Wikipedia’s collaboration. We need to begin experimenting with our scholarly routines to reflect the needs of today’s researchers, learners, and society.

The value of journals is not in question. The process and pace of journal development, however, is experiencing increasingly difficult challenges. The pace of journal publication is too slow in many fields. Ideas that have been discussed at length in online forums, blogs, and conferences often only appear in journals several years later. The process concerns are based on blind review and lack of community participation and discussion.

The fault lines of “expert vs. amateur”, “genius vs. community”, formal vs. informal, need not be drawn thickly. Instead of separate and opposing camps, a gradient model of shades perhaps best reflects a suitable model for moving forward. By keeping our feet in two worlds – citation and review of traditional journals as well as participative, open emerging models – we are able to attend to broad range of needs for academics and today’s learners.

Academic Scholarship Today
Blending the best of traditional journals with emerging tools of managing high levels of information presents unique opportunities for moving journals forward as a cornerstone for information creation, dissemination, and sharing.

The following are guiding principles are suggested:

  1. Two-fold model: peer-reviewed and informal commons
  2. Open reviews
  3. Meta-Reviews
  4. Discussion
  5. Annotation
  6. Journal as community

Two-paths
Our need for scholarly work runs on varying gradients between formal and informal. The easy access of search engines and sites like Wikipedia, provide a simple access point to “quick and dirty” information. More involved research (such as writing a thesis or submitting an article for formal publication) requires greater use of traditional scholarship. Our knowledge need drives the tool we require. As many bloggers have discovered, peer review can help to shape and create ideas prior to publication (Chris Anderson’s book Long Tail).

To attend to this dual need for information, a journal should permit traditional peer-review, as well as the informal review of the commons. As detailed in Figure 1 of a proposed flow of a “current journal”, an author has the option of submitting a document for either formal review or commons review (though even the formal article ends in the commons after review). Articles that initiate in the commons can be moved through the formal peer process if the author chooses (and the community rates the article sufficiently well). Readers of the journal will rate articles posted into the commons (similar to Stumbleupon or Amazon rating or the Digg metric of raising the profiles of articles ranked by the community). Articles that are established are then published in the online journal as well as a paper journal. OJR forms the base of the system.

Open reviews
Anonymous review is frequently criticized as a limitation of journals. Journals need to make the comments of all reviewers public in order to form the basis of deep dialogue. No source of information should receive a privilege status. All information is available to democratic dialogue.

Meta reviews
Healthy systems permit feedback. Members of a community require the ability to “review the review”. This may be a controversial approach – the anonymity of reviewers enables expression of ideas that may be difficult in open public forums. As a democratic model, however, the ability to rate the value of each review is important. Even experts are not immune from changing pressures to the creation and dissemination of information. Editors, journalists, researchers, and others are subject to the back channel models of evaluation.

Discussion
Articles, which have gone through the commons or the formal review process, are subject to annotation and discussion. Any member of the journal community has the ability to comment on the articles, and engage the author and community members in discussion. Discussions are appended to each article. Discussions of a more general or cross article nature can be held in separate forums.

Annotation
Annotations differ from discussion in the granularity of focus. Annotations focus on or address a single idea – a statistic, citation, or comment. Public Library of Science uses an annotation system where a blue asterisk is placed inline to alert readers to an annotation.

Journal as community
A journal is an opportunity to move beyond content or information consumption. While “community” and “journal” may not appear to fit together well, journals typically bring together the prominent thinkers and interested stakeholders of a discipline. Enlarging the conversation of journals to include deep discourse on articles and annotation throughout, sets the basis for a democratic, social model of scholarship.  

Challenges
The established structure of peer review and academic publication is a difficult place for experimentation of new ideas. Nature’s experiment with open review resulted in poor researcher and reader involvement: of 1369 papers, only 5% agreed to open peer review. Of those, only 54% received comments. The poor showing of articles submitted to open review led the publishers of Nature to conclude: “[We] will continue to explore participative uses of the web. But for now at least, we will not implement open peer review.”

Poor performance of Nature’s foray into openness could be due to numerous factors: apathy on the part of community members (wishing to read instead of participate), uncertainty of the process, researcher’s reluctance to put ideas into public spaces before peer review, the nature of the discipline (fields of philosophy and psychology, for example, may foster more formative discussion as compared with hard sciences), and general lack of familiarity with participative processes. Nature’s experience provides important consideration in continued experimentation to revise the nature of scholarship. For the proposed journal discussed next, it is hoped that greater reliance on community will serve as the crucial element in increasing dialogue.

Next Steps
Theory finds its fullness in application. The interplay between theoretical constructs and the lessons learned in application require a malleable approach to journal formation. Issues of identity, fairness, civility, and engaging in democratic environments, require dialogue and an adaptive approach. Quite simply – as academics, we do not have a clear model of implementation for scholarship in light of current online trends. We need to adopt and experimental approach of sensing, evaluating, and responding to trends. Beyond being a community, the proposed journal is emergent – reflective of, and responsive to, the community it serves.

The dramatic changes to how information and knowledge are created, disseminated, and consumed are forcing traditional industries (and any information structure) to change as well. The experiences of newspapers, journalism, the music and movie industries, can serve as an indication to the types of changes academics face. Perhaps, instead of banning participatory sites, we can avoid mistakes of others, and begin experimenting with models of adaptation that preserve the best of tradition, while simultaneously incorporating new approaches to knowledge creation and dissemination.

Your Involvement
The principles discussed in this paper form the basis of a collaborative project between North American and European researchers and academics. We are requesting involvement from individuals interested in contributing to the development of the journal – enlarging its representation to include a global audience. If you would like to participate in discussions to shape the journal itself, or subsequent involvement in the community, please let us know. The application of ideas, of course, tests, informs, and revises theory. The journal will focus on emerging trends in educational technology and pedagogy, exploring fields of social software, connectivism, and networked learning. The current group of journal founders has established a conversation space (you are invited to create an account and contribute to the conversation. If you have specific questions, please email me). We will use Open Journal System as the base of the journal, with modifications to allow for dialogue, annotation, and the process detailed in Figure 1 of this article. Our intent is to provide a journal free of charge to authors and readers (many open journal models charge authors or institutions, not readers – while this is a viable model, our experiment is focused on volunteer efforts).

Posted in Academics, Open Source, Publishing, web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Virtual Capital

Posted by charlenegagnon on May 24, 2007

Virtual capital is a concept that tries to capture the value of the non-material resources and skills one possesses to navigate their way through the Social Web.  Virtual capital is made up of technical and personal resources.  Technical resources are those related to the competence with which one uses the software of social media, understanding the language of the technology, and the ability to transfer technical skills from one application to another through logic.  Personal resources are those related to the networking aspects of the Social Web, reflexive virtual identity management, and the ability to form meaningful relations of trust with others online.

Virtual capital is contextual, that is it can only be generated within the Social Web, or Web 2.0.  Likewise, virtual capital has the most value within the Social Web.  It could, however be convertible into other forms of economic or non-economic capital, like human, social, political and cultural capital, depending on an individual’s, or organization’s ability to see the potential of the conversion.

In fact, the virtual capital framework draws from the pre-existing sociological frameworks of social capital, cultural capital, human capital and identity capital, taking the relevant aspects of each and applying them to the “virtual” world. 

Posted in Social Media, Virtual Capital, web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

A (very) brief history of the social web

Posted by acsislab on May 23, 2007

Social media has been around as long as the Internet.  In fact, social media can be thought of as grassroots applications of the Internet.  It began quietly in the 1980’s on campuses around the world, students and tech geeks meeting and communicating by email, in MUDs, and LISTSERV, the first electronic mailing list system.

 

The use of social media continued on quietly through the dot.com bubble in the late 1990’s.   While corporations tried to insert business models built for non-Internet products and services; user-supported websites like eBay (1995) and Amazon.com (1994) were slowly, but steadily, increasing in popularity and use.   External corporations continued to lose money, until the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. 

 

Even though the Internet’s marketability was uncertain, individuals and social organizations continued using the undeveloped tools of social media for the facilitation of communication and interaction.   In 1999, the mass protest at the WTO meeting in Seattle was, perhaps, the first large-scale application of social media.  Using rudimentary forms like email, websites, public forums and listservs, social media facilitated the congregation of over 1400 international organizations on a single location towards a collective purpose. 

 

Online diaries or journals were also becoming increasingly popular, and although they only received the formal title “blog” in 1999, there were numerous examples of personal websites and webrings which shared similar characteristics of the current blog since as far back as 1994.  When Matt Drudge broke the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal story in 1998 on his pre-blog site known as “The Drudge Report” everybody, including the traditional media, started to pay attention.   

 

Although the business world was still uncertain of the marketability of the Internet, by 2003, corporations were coming around from the mistakes made during the first dot-com bubble.  They were beginning to use the medium as the audience was using it.  In 2004, O’Reilly Media carved out an effective online presence and marketing strategy which was dubbed Web 2.0.  Web 2.0 was the business model that really opened up the Internet to the dynamic site of market research and advertising which we know it as today.  It was a model that captured the essence of what social media had been doing all along: using the Internet.

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What are social media and Web 2.0?

Posted by charlenegagnon on May 23, 2007

Social media is a term which defines the current use of user-created, participatory media online.  Social media is made up of communication processes as well as the technical, online tools which facilitate dynamic interaction. The processes of social media revolve around communication, participation, organization and collaboration.  The tools of social media include, but are not limited to blogs, social networking sites, podcasts, hyperlinks, open source software and code, website tags,  and listservs, to name a few.   

Social media is mainly a feature of the so-called Web 2.0, which has been described as being the “next generation” of the Internet.  However, as pointed out in Wikipedia: “Though the term suggests a new version of the Web, it does not refer to an update to World Wide Web technical specifications, but to changes in the ways systems developers have used the web platform.” 

Social media is not a new phenomena of the Internet.  It has been used among a select group of individuals, advertisers and political groups for decades now, those who have always be able to see the potential in the network. In fact the principles and practices are grassroots ideas for those who have been using the Internet to network and communicate for over two decades now.  It’s not that Web 2.0 has sprung up from nothing; it is that the architecture of it has been built through rich social discourse.  The “experts” are self-taught.  The institution has been absent.  As chaotic as the Internet seems, a hierarchal order of knowledge is emerging through the multitude of voices.  It is one that is user-created, distributed and consumed.   

Posted in Social Media, web 2.0 | 1 Comment »