I was looking forward to learning about RSS feeds – I assumed it would be really difficult. However, I was pleasantly (and arguably foolishly) surprised to find the process as easy as it is. Considering the readings and sites we looked at this week, I now feel RSS feeds essential. I think my largest challenge – informationally speaking – is keeping up with the almost overwhelming volume of content out there online. One thing I have grown to appreciate with sites, such as Twitter, it the filtering and aggregation of all the voices, opinions and services out there. I wonder how much I missed in the past, simply because my focus was too cluttered to discover it.
RSS feeds also add a valuable currency to the equation as well. More often than not, I am too busy to see everything I want to see. Sure, I regularly hit the fun spots, like Pitchfork or the AV Club, but I having an application do the work for me. I wonder if this is a large part of what social media is: applications that do much of the online heavy lifting.
It seems like many of us, I stand to move beyond my initial understanding (and assumptions) concerning social media and web 2.0. Of course, throughout much of the MLIS degree, we have come into contact with some introductions to web 2.0, but it is refreshing to approach the subject directly. I am beginning this course with some understanding – particularly after considering some social media applications on both co-ops – but the readings have demonstrated that I have largely stayed in the shallow end so far.
I feel this lack of depth (within my experience) rests largely in a lack of perspective. I am now only starting to see the larger social media picture. Both the O’Reilly article “What is Web 2.0” and chapter one from the Farkas book offer broad definitions on how we may consider web 2.0. I was particularly taken with the comparisons made between our earlier relationship with the internet and how we interact with it today. Central to web 2.0 is the concept of a community created, collectively driven experience. I think it was most clearly expressed in the discussions on Napster and BitTorrents. Users no longer simply download files off the internet, they are encouraged to act as servers. Web 2.0 users – beyond being part of the conversation – actively become complicit in its creation.
I feel this complicity is interesting, considering the, what I consider, pushback against many of the Web 2.0 assumptions. I am curious to see what some think about the events (in both government and online) surrounding SOPA. Just for background, here’s a relatively pro-SOPA blog Copyhype. Here is also some other (arguably from the other side) background from the The Globe and Mail. These bills have caused considerable controversy, particularly during the website blackout, done in protest, by web 2.0 specific sites like Wikipedia and Reddit. I find that these protests have led to this legislation being shelved or reconsidered astounding. The community that surrounds web 2.0 brought considerable attention to these bills. Of course, this issue is far from over – consider the raid and upcoming prosecution of MegaUpload or the “retaliation” by Anonymous. If anything, these are facinating times to be information professionals.
My view, at least for the time being, rests somewhere in the middle of these two opposing forces. Copyright should be protected and creative industry should promise some monetary reward when possible. But those on the pro-SOPA side often remind me of the music business types I encountered in my record store days. Those who dismissed online music sharers as pirates and criminals always looked creaky, old and irrelevant. A tide was coming that they would inevitably be powerless to overcome. Instead of learning to swim, they raged and complained until they were pushed right over. We are seeing – through artists like comedian Louis CK – that success can be found by offering something for sale to the web 2.0 community. A workable web 2.0 busines model surely exists. Indeed, I am keen to see how the web 2.0 library model turns out.
Just a little about me: this is my final class, before I graduate. This fall I was on co-op with the Kingston Frontenac Public Library – an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. It felt wonderful to find a possible niche to work towards. Over the summer I was on co-op with the Federal Court (the Courts Administration Service).
Before Western, I spent far too much time working crappy service industry jobs. Lots of bartending, bookstores etc …but I did enjoy the record store until the bottom fell out of that. I’ve also done some community outreach work. I like to think that both work experiences have informed my decision to pursue librarianship.
I’m really looking forward to this class.