Critiquing the critique of the web

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Can real time web bring real world change?

In this post, Saxberg analyzes social media as a way to provide a benefit to the individual who in turn helps to improve the collective (back to Lanier).

She mentions the needs which individuals have and how those are supported by social media.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can also reflect the evolvement of the Internet, from focus on basic infrastructure and security to the services we use today that support our need for social belonging and esteem. This thesis indicates, that the future of web will move towards supporting our need for self-actualization.

She argues, though, that having recognition is no longer enough and the internet will have to be transformed so that individuals can continue to benefit from it.

The end of web 2 First movers on the web will probably soon sort out friends, contacts and followers, that gave them status during the social web era, and instead move towards the era of “value web” where a friend is chosen on the basis of value.

I think we already see these discussions taking place especially in regards to Twitter.  The article–You’re Pissing Off Your Twitter Followers — Stop!–mentions the value that we provide to our audience rather than just as value for ourselves.

One thing is to show that you support a good cause on Facebook – which also supports our perfect online image, another thing is to actually spent the necessary time to act and change.

But, saxberg points to actual dilemma which is acting outside of ourselves to actually produce a material change.

Her question is certainly legitimate, but it is very reminiscent of the questions around academia and writing in general. To what extent is our writing about an idea enough? When is actual material action needed? Is material action more valuable than our language about action? How many academics do we know who write material about social action but stay secluded within ivory tower walls?

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