First of all, welcome!
It is here within the hallowed halls of WordPress that I shall make my mark in Net Communications for 2011.
I’m really quite excited about this subject. I think it’s great the University has committed itself to a proper subject that examines the ‘Net’ aspect of media and communications. This ‘Net’ aspect, as I am sure we are all aware, it becoming increasingly relevant as we March through the beginnings of the 21st century.
Like me, many of my fellow peers are doing this subject as part of their undergraduate degree in Arts (Media and Communications). In many ways, I think we are all studying this course at a crucial time in the timeline of the media industry. For many years, the media industry has been that of a known quantity – journalists and public relations officers knew the score:
“We’ve got newspapers, radio, billboards and television”, said the ambitious pre-internet media student, “and we know them all bloody well!”
But oh wait… what’s this… Tim Berners-Lee…? What are you talking about?
The history and origins of the internet are complicated enough, and frankly, far too technical for me to discuss in this forum, but after its first proposal by Berners-Lee (TimBL, as he likes to be called) in 1989, this new-fangled ‘World Wide Web’ took off with great enthusiasm.
In recent years, however, the internet has seen somewhat of a transformation: the rise of a new style of website, a website where individual users could manipulate and decide how they wanted to view the page, and what they wanted to view on the webpage.
These new websites were dubbed as examples of ‘Web 2.0’.
The name is credited to Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media and advocate for the open source software movement, who discussed this new ‘trend’ of internet sites at his O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in late 2004.
Web 2.0, despite the name, did not indicate an actual firmware update to ‘the internet’, rather, it denotes a trend in website design that facilitates the power and control of the user, rather than the historically-traditional user-subjugation by the dominant-host of the website.
Web 2.0 is in fact an umbrella term that refers to a number of characteristics or features of websites or ‘online software’.
- The Long Tail
- Social Software
- RSS (Really Simple Syntax)
- Pay Per Click
In my debut performance on WordPress software, I will discuss a number of these features and examine an succinct definition of Web 2.0.
Specifically, I will address the design patterns evident in WordPress that categorise or define it as a Web 2.0 application.
1. The Long Tail
- The ability for individuals to develop their own content in line with their own interests. By providing an easy-to-use framework for developing websites, WordPress can host a wide range of ideas, opinions and data.
2. Critical Mass
- Through allowing users to post and create their own content for free, WordPress attracts a critical mass. This mass draws more users, and a competitive advantage is established.
- A hallmark of web 2.0 platforms, WordPress allows and encourages its users to surf and comment on other users’ content (or blogs).
The above are features of WordPress that clearly define it as a Web 2.0 application.
In my further research to try and find a better and clearer definition of what Web 2.0 entailed, I stumbled across this gem from Andrew McAfee.
McAfee has devised a pithy acronym (SLATES) that labels the key design patterns that feature in many Web 2.0 applications. As a typical example of Web 2.0 software, WordPress exemplifies most of the below.
SEARCH – LINKS – AUTHORSHIP – TAGS – EXTENSIONS – SIGNALING
- Search – providing the option for users and non-users to submit a ‘web query’, WordPress allows its visitors to search for specific content (ie. blogs) that they are interested in.
- Links – featured in most (if not all uses of the internet), links to other webpages (and other content) is permitted and fostered on WordPress.
- Authorship – touching on the first (The Long Tail), authorship of content allows users to feel that their blog is personal, and can reflect interests, tastes and desires.
- Tags – content can be ‘tagged’ by topic, author or any other categorising label; archives of these ‘tags’ can be stored and viewed by other users.
- Extensions – not featured in WordPress (think, Amazon’s ‘if you liked this book, have a look at these…’)
- Signaling – adapting signaling mechanisms such as RSS, users can ‘subscribe’ to a feed of a blog, alerting them to any new content or changes of existing content on any blog to which they are subscribed.
And that’s all, folks! Thank you for reading my first blog post! I look forward to regularly updating this blog as the semester wears on. I think with regular posts, this blog will end up as an excellent record of my experiences in the subject and a log of what I’ve learnt along the way.
- McAfee, A. P., ‘Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration’, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 47, No. 3, Reprint No. 47306, Spring 2006.
- Tech Plut, ‘Core Characteristics of Web 2.0 Services’, <http://www.techpluto.com/web-20-services/>, (accessed 4 March 2011), 2009.
- Erikson, L. B., ‘Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise’, Research-Technology Management, Vo. 54, No. 1, pp. 67-69, 2011.