Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Web 2.0 and Social Software/Social Media

I´m trying to compile a list of definitions of the tems "Web 2.0" and "Social Software". If you have other definitions of the same, please let me know. Actually, I´m against these terms and I´ll tell you why. The label "Web 2.0" was coined in 2004 by executives of O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International while brainstorming names for a technology conference to differentiate between the old Web "Web 1.0" and a new phase of Web evolution "Web 2.0" (O´Reilly, 2005a). It has been agreed on seven key principles of the new Web generation:

  1. The Web As Platform,
  2. Harnessing Collective Intelligence,
  3. Data is the Next Intel Inside,
  4. End of the Software Release Cycle,
  5. Lightweight Programming Models,
  6. Software Above the Level of a Single Device,
  7. Rich User Experiences
It´s not surprising that the Web goes in this direction, since it has to reflect the open, dynamic, interactive, and social human nature. I believe that in the near future, someone will come up with a new version of the Web such as Web 2.1, Web 3.0 or even Web 3.1 Beta and try to give different reasons why s/he call it like this. I would just call it the "Web". Something similar was happening with the term "e-learning". Jay Cross coined the term e-learning a couple of years ago to describe learning resources or activities enabled by means of electronic technolgy. Nowadays, it becomes obvious, that technology is no longer the limit that constrains us and that each learning activity has some technolgy element associated with it. In the past few years, new terminolgies followed such as mobile learning (m-learning), ubiquitous learning (u-learning), pervasive learning, blended learning, informal learning, workflow learning etc. If I have to add a prefix to the term learning, I would rather call it "we-learning" or "me-learning" (I will write more about this in a future post). But it´s all about the same thing, about "learning".
As far as the term "Social Software" is concerned, the term has emerged as a major component of the Web 2.0 movement (Alexander, 2006). However, an important concept in Web 2.0 is the "End of the Software Release Cycle". On the Web there is no need to install programs; software is delivered as a service (Kroski, 2006). Software as a Service (SaaS) is the next generation of software. Therefore, I would replace the term "Social Software" with
"Social Media" or "Web Social Services" or "Networking & Collaboration Services".
But nevertheless, I´ll keep using the terms "Web 2.0" and "Social Software" in this post and give below the list of definitions I collected so far.

Web 2.0:
  • My own definition of Web 2.0 is a new generation of user-centric, open, dynamic Web, with peer production, sharing, collaboration, collective intelligence, distributed content, and decentralized authority in the foreground. (Chatti et al., 2006)
  • Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences. (O´Reilly, 2005b)
  • The world of Web 2.0 *can* be one in which we share our knowledge and insights, filter the news for each other, find out obscure facts, and make each other smarter and more responsive. We can instrument the world so it becomes somethng like a giant, responsive organism. (O´Reilly, 2005c)
  • Web 2.0 is a vision of the Web in which information is broken up into “microcontent” units that can be distributed over dozens of domains. The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just looking to the same old sources for information. Now we’re looking to a new set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways. (MacManus, Porter, 2005)
  • What was happening was that the Web was shifting from being a medium, in which information was transmitted and consumed, into being a platform, in which content was created, shared, remixed, repurposed, and passed along. And what people were doing with the Web was not merely reading books, listening to the radio or watching TV, but having a conversation, with a vocabulary consisting not just of words but of images, video, multimedia and whatever they could get their hands on. And this became, and looked like, and behaved like, a network. (Downes, 2005)

Social Software/Social Media:
  • My own definition: Social media/Social software are services that support bottom-up knowledge networking and community building.
  • Social software - often connected to older forms of computer mediated communication (CMC) and newer discussion about online communities - can be defined as a cluster of activities performed by digital social networks. (PROLEARN)
  • Social software enables people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication and to form online communities. (Wikipedia)

  • Social software allows people to interact and collaborate online or aggregates the actions of networked users. (Mejias, 2005)
  • Social media includes any digital environment built on the contributions of and interactions among people. (Hirschorn, 2007)

Other Sources:

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