In my podcast with Alex Barnett the other day, I mentioned that the Read/Write Web (the theory, not my site) isn't just about writing as we usually think of it on the Web - blogs, wikis, etc. It can also be interacting or transacting with websites and apps. Participating in the Web. This was one of the points I made in my very first post on my blog, which btw I named Read/Write Web for a very good reason ;-) Back then, April 2003, I wrote:
"The Read/Write Web isn't just about being able to publish writing though, it is also about an increased ability for ordinary people to interact and transact with websites."
While researching something for a project I'm busy on currently, I came across a recent variation on this theme. Rummaging is a blog that is focused on the company eBay and the author made this excellent point:
"More and more, eBay is becoming a vehicle for people to express themselves about their relationships, their views about the world and all their hopes and fears.
Look at the international press attention gained by people selling their virginity, or a coke can, or an old wedding dress via an eBay auction. These people got to express themselves to a far wider audience than most can ever dream. Compare this to the criticism frequently levelled at weblogs: no-one reads them."
Note that I cut a few paragraphs to try and get to the essential point: which is that eBay, and other transactional community sites like it, is in a sense what the Read/Write Web means for the vast majority of people. Most people aren't bloggers - and probably never will be. But a huge number of people 'write' on interactive websites such as eBay (here in New Zealand the equivalent is TradeMe.co.nz, which gets as much attention in my country as eBay does in the US).
It's not just auction websites either - it can be any website that fosters a sense of community or interaction. And 'transactional' isn't necessarily about money.
As Rummaging concluded:
"eBay allows people their fifteen minutes in an explicitly transactional manner. In that, it epitomises the age."
Indeed it does - the age of the two-way, Read/Write Web.