Thursday, October 16, 2014

Where Web 2.0 went wrong

“Where Web 2.0 went wrong” by Henry Jenkins is a very interesting read. This article is from the book Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. The purpose of the book is for learning about changes taking place in our vastly connected society. It talks about “stickiness” or centralization, and “spreadability” or the way content travels through social media. The book received very good reviews and seems to a very good source of knowledge on the topics that it discusses.
The author, Henry Jenkins, is a very reputable source on the topic of media. Besides having written several books, he is also a professor of communication, journalism, and cinematic arts at USC. He works at both the Annenberg School for Communication and the school of cinematic arts. He has a Ph.D. in communication arts and is involved in lots of research.
The article itself is the first chapter of Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, which discusses the downfall of web 2.0. Web 2.0 companies rely on the Internet for promoting their products. It uses a lot of users and develops a different sort of relationship between producers and consumers in which the consumers largely help with the products being produced. There are different expectations of users leading to a lot of conflict between producers and consumers. For example, consumers are very disenchanted when companies go after them for distributing free music. The argument is that they are helping to promote the artists not to steal from them. The companies are damaging the “moral economy”, a term used to describe mutual understandings between two parties conducting business. Consumers believe producers are not behaving in a moral fashion.
Something else that consumers are angry about is that they do not receive compensation. Often companies use content created or modified by users for profit. Some users believe they should profit from this. However, another argument is that money is not everything and that pride and accomplishment of being featured should be enough. This leads to “commodity culture” versus “gift economy”. One concerns money and value while the other concerns gifts and worth. The latter is more based on symbolism than monetary value.
Finally, Jenkins talks about marketing and how “transparency” and “authenticity” are the most important. As companies have seen the influence of customer reviews, they have begun to use influential customers to market their products. To consumers, it is important that these ties are transparent, known by all, and authentic or not fabricated. They trust that companies will be transparent and authentic and that reviewers will show their true opinions of products without too much embellishment.

Jenkins’ main argument in this article is that web 2.0 is declining. The simplification of the “moral economy”, and companies not correctly valuing and incorporating consumers has led to both sides often being discontent. Because of this a new web is needed that moves past the flaws in web 2.0 and create a better system.  After reading other articles, it appears that many agree with Jenkins and that web 2.0 has gone wrong and needs to be fixed.

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