Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Digital Ethnography II

...then check this out. There's some pretty cool stuff coming from Kansas, or the KSU more specifically. I saw one of the earlier versions of the other clip some months back and was very impressed. I might have even posted it here, but here it is again.

I think it summarises what Web 2.0 is about, if it can be about anything. I've sometimes summarised it as being about those plasticky-looking 3d-kind of logos and ways of getting addicted that are even worse than Tetris.

But of course prof. Wesch is right, it's about the separation of form and content, and the processes and interactions that this facilitates. I like the questions he poses in the end, or the topics he claims needing a rethink. Copyright and ownership are the ones we read about in papers (on and off-line), simply because so much money is at stake. And because most of the copyright law is based on manufacturing and selling physical items and therefore fundamentally out of date.

To me, the most interesting aspects of this current shift is the way we now CAN rethink community, social interaction, collaboration, friendship and what being neighbours or colleagues means. There's no doubt that We(b) ha(s/ve) been changed for good, and if there ever was need for doing ethnographic work it is now, and the web is the place where to do it. Market researchers of course have been there, but they are looking at different things and aren't usually keen to publish their results. It is often said that great research isn't so much about producing great answers, it's more about asking the right questions. I think prof. Wesch and his students are asking all the right questions and I'm very interested in hearing what their results will be like.

I have a couple of students who are interested in these kinds of issues. I was trying to gently push them towards asking these kinds of questions, and again, it will be interesting to see what will come up.

A journalist who visited Google HQ and stood there at the lobby watching the ticker that displays a selection of latest search terms entered to Google, wrote that it was like watching the global consciousness flow past your eyes. Can't remember where the quote is from, or the exact wording of it, but the idea got stuck. To understand humans, you must understand their social mind. And it is now being displayed online, using Web 2.0 tools.

And if I now promise to write more about this later, I possibly will. But first I'll play some Tetris.

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