Home Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 4-10 July 2005

Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 4-10 July 2005

A bit of admin before I start. The Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-Up is looking for a new sponsor, now that ThePort Network has completed its sponsorship arrangement with me. Dan Backus from ThePort Network told me they had a lot of positive feedback to the sponsorship and their product offerings – which I was very pleased to hear. I want to thank Dan and ThePort Network for sponsoring me and I wish them all the best with their Web 2.0 product range.

So now I’d like to put a call out for a new sponsor. Please contact me to discuss.

This week: Big events and news on the Web, automatic content for the people,
things you can do with RSS, API round-up, Techie Post of the Week: Social principles of Web 2.0.

Big events and news on the Web

It was a tough week for the Western world, when London was struck by a bombing attack.
I don’t want to use this tragic event as a backdrop for tech talk, but I do think it’s
noteworthy that the Web has become a crucial tool for news dissemination and
discussion nowadays. The Wikipedia page on the
London bombings
was a comprehensive and thorough work-in-progress as the news
unfolded. As was the
BBC’s Web coverage
, so it’s not like mainstream media is being run out of business.
But it’s clear that the Web is a key platform now when it comes to covering big news events – at least on a par with television and newspapers.

So-called social software websites played a big role too. Flickr was used extensively by
people to post photos and for discussions. Personally I found myself visiting the
sites of bloggers I read who
live in London
, are British expats and even kiwis who were in
at the time. And when you consider things like the LiveJournal Moodgrapher,
which recorded a mood of “sadness and shock” amongst LiveJournalers following the attack,
well you realise how integral the Web has become when dealing with such events.

On a less serious note, the Live 8 event was
also covered very well on the Web. Indeed, apparently AOL’s Web coverage was far superior
to MTV’s on the television. PaidContent.org quoted
from an AP person: “AOL’s coverage was so superior, it may one day be seen as a
historical marker in drawing people to computers instead of TV screens for big
events.” The latest Gillmor Gang has some interesting comments on this, particularly from guest Susan Mernit.

Automatic content for the people

This week I wrote a musing
post about the new age of automated content
we’re seeing on the Web. I looked at (what I deemed to be) both
good and bad examples of this phenomenon and concluded that my decisions about such
matters are more moral than legal. It turned into a very interesting discussion, which is
still open. As I noted in a comment I made later
in the thread, my goals for this post were to come to an understanding of:

a) where my own content fits in with this new era of automated websites – I’ve established that I’m comfortable with sites like Planet Web 2.0 and Memeorandom, and even [Article Bot-generated] Stock Pick Report to a degree; and

b) what things should we, as users of the Web, be wary of in this new era of automation. And I think we should be wary of hundreds of thousands of robot-generated pages that have no redeeming social value for the Web and will clutter up search engine results.

It’s a great discussion about Web 2.0 morals and ethics. Join in, the conversation’s
still happening!

Things you can do with RSS

Tim Yang continues his run of excellent tools and
resources – he was the bloke who created the Google News To RSS Scraper called scrappygoo. Now he’s come up
with a Wiki
featuring an extensive list of things you can do with RSS. Things

– Track Fedex packages

– Get bargains at Ebay

– Get stock updates

– Get the weather reports

– Find out what people are saying about you, your company, your products

– Track Music, radio shows, TV clips

– Stay updated on someone’s schedule

– Get cinema schedule updates

– Read your favourite comics

Check out the wiki
for the whole list.

API round-up

But wait, there’s more! I also want to highlight Chris Campbell’s round-up of APIs (via Eric Lunt). As Chris wrote, “if you’re interested in adding to the Web 2.0 goodness, you’ve got to start understanding APIs.” Too right – go check it out!

Techie Post of the Week: Social principles of Web 2.0

Ian Davis (of Planet Web 2.0 fame) wrote a great
post about what he calls the Web 2.0 principles of “participation, openness and
communication.” Here’s how he defines this:

“Web 2.0 is an attitude not a technology. It’s about enabling and encouraging
participation through open applications and services. By open I mean technically open
with appropriate APIs but also, more importantly, socially open, with rights granted to
use the content in new and exciting contexts.”

Obviously this theory has a lot to do with the whole automated content issue I raised this
week. Often when we talk of Web 2.0, we mean APIs and RSS and XML and all those other
acronyms. But the whole idea of the ‘read/write’ Web is that everyone can and does contribute thoughts and ideas to the Web. So the social
aspects of Web 2.0 – participation, openness, two-way communication – are just as important as the platform and the acronyms. On this I heartily endorse Ian’s position.

But we all have a lot of work to do yet, when it comes to defining what is socially
acceptable use of content and the Web – and what is not. I myself am still working it out and I’m only
just beginning to get comfortable with the idea of other sites re-publishing my writing.
The Remix Culture requires a big mindshift for everyone, so we’re all figuring it out as
we go along.

That’s a wrap for another week!

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