Web 2.0

December 2, 2008

According to Wikipedia, the term Web. 2.0 “refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users.” Classic Web 2.0 sites and services include Wikipedia, YouTube, the orginal Napster, BitTorrent, Flickr and blogs.

With that in mind, please watch the video, “The Machine is Us/ing Us”. One of the most widely viewed videos online, it was produced by Professor Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. The video both explains and demonstrates Web 2.0. After viewing it, please write a paragraph or two commenting on the points made in the piece. Why is this relevant to digital media convergence, especially as we build sites with HTML?



  1. This video really illustrates exactly what is happening with the Web today and how it is affecting everyone. It shows how media forms converge when it shows CNN as an online source, rather than just a television source. It also showed how HTML is written for everything on the Web, which was interesting because we are just learning about that in class. The video also went on to note that users do not need to know how to write code to post something on the Web. This makes it easy for literally anyone to post what they want online.

    A point that I found interesting was when Professor Wesch typed “The Web is no longer just linking information… The Web is linking people.” This statement is true in so many ways today because of the development of sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. People are able to have less and less personal communication as they can interact through their computers. It is a breeze to get information, watch a funny video, or talk to your friends all online.

  2. This video kind of gave me a headache. The text and images were moving really really fast but I suppose that may be a little bit of symbolism. The evolution of the web and web 2.0 is evolving at a fast pace. The video was a good overview of what one can do using HTML and XML and I like the idea about “teaching the machine”. Most of all this video left me with important questions to think about that aren’t easily answered like questions of identity, copyright, ethics, authorship, and privacy. Not only are is date converging, people and ideals are converging which seems to be the issue of digital convergence.

  3. I think this movie is useful in helping explain the new technology of the internet and how it works. Thus, it is relevant to digital media convergence, and us building websites with HTML, because it helps explain different aspects of HTML, like the code and what it means ( meaning paragraph is an example). I also think the part explaining how the majority of HTML code only describes the content of a website, not the form. Therefore, with this new convergence, content still remains important to media. You can’t just type in a code and hope to get a really cool looking site, you have to have content to plug into that site to make people want to view it.

    For the less-technically minded, the increase in blogs and blogs sites have helped people put up content much easier. They do not need to know HTML code to publish their content. Instead, all they have to do is put the content into a form and the computer will generate the code and thus, the site. This allows people to share the content with each much easier, such as pictures and videos (YouTube) much easier, which allows information to be shared much more effectively and to more people. This is important for media convergence as the media must begin finding new ways to get the news out since less and less people are reading newspapers, magazines, or watching the nightly news.

    The only problem I have with this video was that is was really annoying. The music got old after about 30 seconds, which made it difficult to watch since I didn’t turn the sound off thinking someone might talk. Plus, the typing text and movement made some points hard to get, especially near the end since it moved so fast that I couldn’t really understand what he was actually doing (especially during the linking and Google type searches). So, even thought it had useful information, I think someone talking would be better thing this video.

  4. This video did a great job of visually showing the transition that technology has made throughout time by starting with the pencil and paper, and ending with Web 2.0. It made it easy to understand the difference between text, digital text, hypertext, etc. I also thought it was interesting went it said that we are teaching the computer. Every time we link something or post a picture, we are teaching the computer something new. Everyday there is a mass amount of new videos or pictures added to the internet for everyone to see. People are eager to share their experiences and lives with others, and with no sign of this stopping technology will continue to grow to meet people’s needs of networking. Web 2.0 has made great strides in a very little amount of time; it’s interesting to think of what will be the next best thing after this new phenomenon.

  5. As an Internet user who knows very little about the mechanisms and intensely complicated code that is the basis of the Internet, I found this video (and our last class) extremely fascinating. Internet is a very powerful tool that has evolved at a tremendous rate over the past 15 years or so. The comment that the Internet “is us” was very profound. The Internet is no longer a monitor with text. The video explained how the Internet has evolved aesthetically. Graphic design is now an art form. Web design requires creativity and artistic capabilities. It is amazing what one can accomplish with the Internet, and the sheer power one can achieve with a single machine. The Internet is an amazing tool with vast resources for achieving knowledge, information, photographs, etc. It’s an example of convergence, as different media forms unite to produce effective websites. CNN, for example, is comprised of single text, flash advertisements, video, and photography.

  6. I agree with Kristen, this video was very hard for me to watch, but even so the way it was composed did help to prove his point. I really agree with the last couple of seconds of the video when he shows all of the concepts such as copyright that, with the development of Web 2.0, are being seen in a different light. With information so easily accessible people are losing sight of the boundaries that once constrained them and the norm and people’s ways of sharing files have significantly changed.

    He really showed the depth of the internet and the freedom it supplies. It gives materials and visibility that were at one time very hard to come by to everyone so they can all be authors, photographers, musicians, artists, or whatever else they choose. This is extremely relevant to Digital Media Convergence because it is a prime examples of new technology pairing up with an existent one to create something new. It adds more depth to an already complex system.

  7. The idea of Web 2.0 basically encompasses everything we have discussed about digital media convergence as they both include the idea of combining of several forms of media to create a newer form. As Professor Wesch showed, with HTML, form and content became inseparable as HTML was being used to write both into web documents. Even code has been updated as HTML was used to create XML form and content could be divided, making it possible to export content without the constraints of the form and stylistic elements of the website.

    The most interesting point Professor Wesch made was that we are now the web. With Web 2.0 sites, we are able to transform the web into something completely new, something we shape with our own ideas since this includes websites made for regular people by regular people. These sites give everyone the opportunity to express themselves to a wider audience than was ever possible as digital media is expanding and doing more with text than has ever been done before.

    Professor Wesch also made the point that due to the new web, we need to rethink everything since media as we knew it is transforming our lives daily especially in terms of communication and expression. Social networking sites, especially, give people the opportunity to interact, communicate and share their lives with people even easier than before.

  8. Michael Wesch and his video’s are quite fascinating. I actually watched the full 55 minutes of his bit on Youtube and that blew my mind away. So after all the video’s i watched i had to re-watch the one you intended for us to watch.

    The video itself made some great points in saying that media outlets that still use the traditional method of pen and paper are very quickly being gobbled up by digital media. One of his points he makes is because of links. What better way of finding more information about a subject than to have a link pertaining to an article written online. Links not only connect data but people. When people are connected material is spread and idea’s and products spread with the people. This then shapes opinions, mindsets, beliefs and cultures.

    Another point he makes is that because digital data can be separated, data then can be reformatted and uploaded just about anywhere and in any fashion. He makes the point that because digital media is separated from form and content, internet users do not have to know the code to upload data to the internet, which is why i think for so long it was the reason it was hard to upload large files and data.

    I then watched the Youtube video and that was fascinating. I now want to do what he does, which is to study why people do what they do, but i want to figure out a way to market products better knowing this knowledge.

    Oh and last point, last class we had on tuesday about websites finally helped me make the connection as to why where i worked needed several servers, a network, 4 behind-the-scenes websites or “building” websites in which we create the sites and then “export” them to the real site. It all makes sense and my brain can’t handle this much truth about the world.

  9. Hello World! … I think the video says it well with just that sentence. The worldwide web is becoming (or maybe it already has become) our world.

    This video began with a visual of what is was like when we just had paper and pencil – always having to erase, recreate thoughts, and start fresh. As the video evolved it gave great visualizes of how we have created, and continue to create, the content, form, and way information is communicated. Not to be cliche, but during this day and age the world is literally at our fingertips and this video portrays exactly how and why.

    Earlier in the semester we talked about how everyone has a story, and the internet is a way for people to tell their story through text, photos, videos, etc. What is fascinating to me is that I am now having the opportunity to add something to the worldwide web; I have the opportunity to link my resume, projects, etc. to my name, my portfolio, and my website as a whole. Essentially, by the end of the semester I will have created my own piece of the worldwide web not just for myself but, for future employers, family, friends, professors, etc. to also view.

    Moving along even further, individuals are no longer just linking their work to their “name” and page but, they are linking themselves to other people. By way of second life, blogs, youtube, facebook, wiki’s, etc. people are becoming part of one another’s worlds too.

    I am interested to see the next stage of what happens when digital media meets an improved worldwide web. The sheer fact that “our world” is growing as quickly as it is hinders me from even imagining the possibilities yet to be discovered behind an HTML link, a video, and simple text.

  10. I thought this was a very interesting way of to demonstrate Web 2.0, because in a way it was interacting itself. It looked at websites, but then “edited” them and showed the code and where the website came from. One example of the editing is when it is in Wikipedia. YouTube is an obvious example of what the new form of internet is allowing us to do, but Wikipedia is as well, which I had never thought of before this video. By having an entire website that is based off of user content and becomes a somewhat “authority” we are truly using the internet as much as it is using us.

    Never before have we been able to so easily contribute what we know to a worldwide source. Wikipedia, and of course YouTube and other such sites, are media convergence in action. Knowledge is traditionally communicated on paper or in speech, but Web 2.0 is allowing anyone to influence public perceptions and knowledge by simply clicking a button and typing in a window–as easy as Word. Words are obviously still used, but old communication is converging with the new way of how people most often, and quickly, get information.

  11. This video is relevant to digital media convergence as it shows that the Web originally was a solely text based forum, but now many forms of media have come together to form what is referred to as Web 2.0. HTML is no longer just a universal code that computers use to communicate with one another, it is now a technology that allows people to communicate with one another via links that lead people to others’ blogs, pictures, videos etc. All these varying forms of media are going to be part of our website, which is why this video is especially relevant for our class as we complete this project. Our website uses HTML to help us share our semester’s work, which consists of several differing types of media, with whoever would like to view it. The video touches on this specifically when the ever changing text reads that all this new media created by users will be organized by the users themselves. Thus the claim, “we are the machine.” A website made up of our work organized by us is exactly what the video is referring to when it states that Web 2.0 is connecting not just computers anymore, but people.

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